Saturday, April 16, 2011

Can increased competition make you less competitive with everyone else?

One of the better descriptions of a CrossFit workout comes from the owners of the CF gym that I attend, CrossFit Aspire: "Workouts at CrossFit Aspire feel more like sports practice than a gym class. Our members experience the camaraderie of teammates, while each person tracks their individual progress and competes against themselves to perform better than they did previously."

Yeah, it's almost just like that, except no one ever makes you feel bad. I don't know if you were ever on one of those teams where someone -- a coach, another player, whoever -- made you feel like a loser. That nonsense doesn't happen at CF. If it did, the offender would be out on his or her ass almost immediately.

Instead, you get all the positive benefits of a team workout, where others' intensity pushes you to do better, without the negative downside of disapproval. Because, in the end, most Crossfitters aren't really competing for anything, except to make themselves better. Sure, if I'm doing a WOD (workout of the day) at the same time as you, I am going to try to finish it faster than you, but here's the key-- the goddamn beautiful, nearly counterintuitive key -- whether I win or lose in my competition with you doesn't mean a damn thing. What matters is whether I gave 100%. If I did, my work, for the day, is done, and I leave satisfied, with no regret.

Today we did a team WOD. My two-man team lost by 14 seconds in a workout that took just short of 19 minutes. It used to be -- back in the pre-CF days -- that my overly-competitve self would have beaten myself up about that close call for a while. As it was, I congratulated the winners, and walked away happy that we busted our asses in pursuit of fitness.

Yeah, CrossFit has made me care less about winning, while simultaneously making me try harder to win. Wrap yer mind around that conundrum, son.

1 comment:

  1. Because life is a bit busy, just getting around to reading this now. I have similar sentiments about mountain and trail running. The vibe of the crowd is such that you compete against yourself and certainly want to improve but the lack of bravado among the competitors is so refreshing, I just love it. I have heard this from many others too who got tired of the negative competitive side of road racing.