Why compete if not to win?
This was a very hard concept for me to grasp a few months ago.I just started competing and taking crossfit “seriously” about 13 months ago. So when my coach told me in December that he wanted me to compete but not with the expectation to win, I was very confused. The whole premise of this sport, or any sport for that matter is to win right? So why enter a competition if not for that purpose? It took me a while and a competition or 2 to understand what he meant and the benefit of it. I struggled with the emotional ties to competing as well as the training and realized along the way that my original love and passion for this sport was sidelined by over ambition. So I hope in sharing my thoughts and experiences I can help some people guide their way in taking the next step on their fitness journey.
I wish more then anything that I had started competing in crossfit years ago. Before I felt “ready” or before I had all my skill sets, or before people had any preconceived notion of me. Every competition I have done, whether I had a stellar performance or an earth shattering disaster, I have taken away more knowledge about who I am as an athlete, as well as my true colors as a human being. And with every bit of gained knowledge, it is transferred into my daily training, and propels me further in my overall development. Everyone gets fired up after a competition. If you win you bask in the glory and feel like superman…..for a month. Then the pictures stop circulation, your istagram followers hold steady, and you no longer have 30+ notifications every time you unlock your phone. If you lose, well this can go two ways but most crossfitters will choose the latter on this one. Option 1: you sulk and pity yourself and quit completely. option 2: You want revenge, redemption, and to prove to yourself more then anything that you have what it takes to win, that you can be that clutch moment athlete; and of course to have some really stellar podium pictures, because honestly who doesn’t want that?! But then after about a month, the soreness from training kicks in, you get tired, real life gets back on track, you feel defeated and that rush of redeeming emotions have faded and you loss focus on your motivation. Both of these scenarios, win or lose, leave you at the same place just 30 days later. We put so much pressure and emphasis on local competitions and forget to see the big picture. Now what is the big picture you ask? That depends on you. What is your goal? I cant tell you how many people I talked to this weekend who were so defeated in their performances, and when I asked them “Well what is your goal in this sport?” they just stared at me with blank faces. Seriously though, what is your goal? Do you want to be a games athlete? Qualify for regionals? Place in the top 300 in the opens? Or maybe its even less competitive then that, simply to do crossfit on a daily basis. Loss 20 pounds, maybe gain 20 pounds. Whatever it is, spend some real time and energy and figure it out. Unless you have a true goal, a final target, you will be without a doubt frustrated and most of all disappointed. And the best part about having a goal is you can change it! Now not to say chuck your goal and make a new one just because things aren’t going as planned, but to have the ability to reevaluate and tweak your goals based on how your life progresses.
Now choosing to compete was, and still is a very tough thing to do. For me its like when I fell in love, and all I wanted to do was scream it from the roof top, but something inside of me held me back. It became this ever growing lump inside me that just wanted out. It was a great lump, full of excitement but also mixed with fear. Fear of rejection, disappointment, and hurt. But once I was in the moment of saying “I love you” or in the moment of my first competition, it wasn’t scary any more. There was no longer something holding me back, forcing this lump to stay down. In fact my first competition I think i threw that lump up on day one. And when it was all over with, and when my words were said I felt happy and relieved and for a moment I didn’t have a care in the world what words were said back to me, or what the score board said. This is the feeling I try to hold on to. When I am training, when I am competing, when I’m building a relationship. It is not about the outcome, it is not about what somebody else reciprocates, your actions should be based on what you feel and what brings you joy. Bask in your emotions whatever they may be. Fuel yourself with current emotions, because they are much stronger then any recalled emotions.
The hardest part, at least for me, is doing what I just said above; not caring about the outcome. I am by nature competitive. I will race a complete stranger to the checkout line in the grocery store. Now I can’t instruct how or why because it is a personal journey, but I have come to terms on how to compete in an almost “detached” way. There will always be a part of me that wants to win, that’s in my nature, but over competitive, refreshing the leader board, busting out calculators mid comp, and stalking down my fellow competitors, well no I don’t do that anymore. The hard part now for me is holding true to my intent at competitions. This weekend proved to be very difficult since it was a home ground competition. People either do not give you enough credit or they over expect things from you; no one will ever respect you for what you are. And having people that know me, have seen me in the gym, follow my videos on instagram, or whatever the case may be, were walking up to me and asking me why I wasn’t #1. Now I know this was meant to be more of a compliment, but it hurt. It’s not like I wasn’t trying or doing my best, but I honestly wasn’t there with the intent to win. I wanted to have fun and learn more then anything. I was lucky enough to have my boyfriend, my support system, to remind me I don’t have to justify or explain my goals to anyone. And I did catch myself a few times get caught up in explaining why, or being negative. He would step in let me vent to him, and then bring me back to the reason I was there in the first place.
At the end of the weekend my team tied for 3rd place overall. They decided the tie breaker to be a 1 rep max any style snatch in 1 min. I went into the snatch circle of death for my team and faced off against a girl who trains down here locally as well. Now I have followed her as an athlete for some time now and she has grown in so many ways especially in the past few months. I did out-lift her, but the most exciting part for me was the fact she hit her PR snatch! After 2 days, 7 workouts, and only about 20mins rest after the final workout she went in and hit a number that was her best ever on a fresh day. If that doesn’t get you fired up I don’t know what you’re doing in this sport. I am not her, I don’t know what she took away from it or how she felt, but to realize what your body can do when you literally have nothing left in the tank is one of the most valuable lessons you can learn in competing. To know your threshold, your capabilities is far beyond what you may ever think it is. It is one thing to push yourself in training, but its a whole different story to do it on the competition floor.
Find your goal.Sign up for a competition. Have no expectation other then to learn and have fun. Be victorious.