As someone who came from a completely sedentary, lazy,
fast-track-to-an-early-grave lifestyle, Crossfit has changed my life in
countless ways. I’m healthier, happier, stronger, faster. I look forward to
each and every day, and am finally excited for all the things that life has to
offer. Crossfit has given me strength, both physically and mentally. It’s
taught me to be confident, it’s taught me to be open, and, most importantly, in
my mind, it’s taught me to be humble.
“Leave your ego at the door.” This phrase can be seen at Crossfit boxes
around the world. And it’s one of the most true statements I’ve seen. Ego can
be a killer in the Crossfit world, for many reasons.
Anyone who has been around Crossfit for a while has experienced it. It
affects everyone eventually, though it manifests in different ways.
We’ve all seen the musclebound meathead who shirt-off’s when he walks
through the door to establish his dominance, only to be using that shirt halfway
through the wod to wipe the tears from his eyes when the middle aged soccer mom
with 4 kids laps him for the 3rd time on the 10 min AMRAP. And we only see them
the one time, because they’re too ashamed to come back.
Or the person who shows up every day, but can’t handle having one of the
slowest times, so they skip reps, or rounds, or use terrible/wrong form, or pick
a weight that’s way too light for them (don’t get this confused with picking a
weight that is helping them work on form or rehab an injury… COMPLETELY separate
topic.) And we all know when that happens, even when they think we don’t.
Or the person who only shows up on days where they know they’ll get a fast
time, because it’s a workout featuring their favorite things. Or they try to
go too heavy to keep up appearances, and end up hurting themselves or not
finishing the workout (or skipping several reps/rounds to try and keep up). Or
maybe fake an injury so they can have an excuse to stop. Or even those who
won’t scale *up* because they like being #1 on the boards by a long shot.
You get the picture. Everyone has seen these people. Odds are you’ve been
one of these people. I know I’ve let my ego show. The common thread here is
that for all of these people, their ego is getting in the way of what Crossfit
is really about. Getting better, every day. Getting healthier, stronger.
Improving your life. Pushing your boundaries. Learning who you are and what
you’re made of.
When I look at the board and see my time, I’m proud of it. I don’t care if
it’s the fastest or the slowest. I’m proud because I know I showed up, I pushed
myself through every grueling rep the best I could. I didn’t take any short
cuts. I didn’t skip any reps. I didn’t half ass any movements. I busted my
ass for that time. Am I MORE proud if it’s the fastest? Absolutely. But I
also know it doesn’t mean a damn thing.
The time, to me, is a record of my accomplishment. Something I KNOW I
couldn’t have done without all the work I’ve put in up to this point. Was it
faster than some other times up there? Possibly. Was it slower than some other
times? Almost definitely. Does that make me any better or worse than those
people? Hell no. I don’t know the conditions all of those other people worked
out in. Maybe a father of 3 came in on little-to-no sleep and struggled
through. Or a young woman with a huge job interview that afternoon came in and
just couldn’t get mentally in to it. Or some tweaker came in loaded on speed
and blew away that AMRAP box jump workout shortly before going in to cardiac
arrest. Or it was 30 degrees cooler when I worked out. Or there was some smoke
in the air when the earlier class worked out.
The point is, Crossfit, in general, is a competition with yourself to be
better than you were before. If your pride keeps you from walking through that
door, it’s over before you even started. If you’re cutting corners to make
people think you’re awesome, you definitely won’t get better, physically or
mentally, and you definitely won‘t ever find out what you‘re made of. (AND,
trust me, everyone knows when you’re doing it. I promise.) If you’re blowing
through workouts that are too easy for you so you get that top time, then you aren’t
pushing your boundaries... Sure, you‘re getting a good workout, but I promise
there are a lot of people out there that are working harder than you. If you’re
constantly comparing your time to everyone else’s, then you’re probably
overlooking the gains and achievements you’ve made, and how far you‘ve come.
Unless you’re Rich Froning and a swim wod isn’t involved, there are going to be
people out there with faster times, more reps, and heavier lifts.
No one cares about your time on the board, or whether you Rx’d a workout or
not. That’s for you to keep track of how you’re doing. What people do care
about, though, is whether you showed up, busted your ass, and got it done. You
want to have a friendly competition with your friends? Go for it, as long as
it’s pushing you. But don’t let “winning” or “losing” get in the way of what is
REALLY important. Is competition the most important thing to you? Go sign up
for a competition, there’s one happening almost every weekend. Don’t let your
ego get in the way of making yourself better. And you better damn sure not let
your ego get in the way of other people making themselves better.
Show up. Bust your ass. Push your boundaries. Get better.
That is all that matters.