Entering a CrossFit competition can seem like a pretty big deal – all those people, gymnastics, and weights! But it’s something I believe every CrossFitter should try out, at least once.
If you’re sitting on the fence about entering then read on. This should convince you to enter faster than a judge can yell NO REP!
A competition gives you a big goal to work towards.
And you know I love goals! This keeps you motivated, with a point in the near future for you to aim at. You can break this time into manageable chunks – for example, this week I will work on pull-ups, and aim to link 3 by the end of the next week. This work will then all be tested at the actual competition, then you’ll know whether your strategy worked or not.
You’ll find out your weaknesses.
It’s easy to say “I’m bad at double unders”, then just avoid doing them in a class WOD – but not actually knowing how bad or good at them you are because you haven’t pushed yourself. Competitions force you to do movements you’d normally avoid so there’s nowhere to hide – you can get embarrassed by this (but remember, everyone will be good and bad at different things on the comp floor) or you can use this as a learning experience to better inform what you should work on in the future.
Find out what you’re really capable of.
In the weeks leading up to my recent competition, I was working on linking toes-to-bar without a great deal of luck – my toes just weren’t reaching the bar. I stepped on the comp floor and bam, I linked them with ease, without any no-reps! We tend to coast a little in class workouts, but competition adrenaline will push your limits and make you realise what your body is really capable of doing.
Meet new people.
I have met some awesome people at competitions – whether they’re my fellow competitors, volunteers, judges or just watching, you’ve all got something highly emotive in common. This can create a bond you won’t get anywhere else.
Connect with those you’ve only met online.
It’s great to have our CrossFit boxes to see our friends at, but there’s a whole other world you’re connected to online – with competitions being a hotspot for the CrossFit community to all come together, it’s amazing to finally meet these people face-to-face!
Get inspiration from the top.
The very nature of competitions will attract highly competitive athletes, which means you’re going to be rubbing shoulders with some awesome displays of strength, power, and determination. Let this inspire you when you come off the competition floor and back to your own box. You too could reach those heady heights one day!
Get inspiration from everywhere else, too.
The camaraderie you get in your local box doesn’t leave when you get to a competition. Sure, everyone is out to try and win, but that doesn’t mean leaving others in the dirt. You will always see the top athletes stick around until the last person has finished, offering words of encouragement and advice. Be as inspired by the grit and determination of those left on the floor at the timecap as you are by the flourish of the elite.
Get out of your comfort zone.
Being among the best athletes in your box is great, but you’ll never get better if you have nobody to push you. Embrace the fact that there are better athletes than you, the feeling of nervousness, and the workouts being tougher than what you’re used to – yes, it’s uncomfortable, but it’s an opportunity to grow, so take it!
Everyone always says they want to have fun when they compete, but they rarely do – it’s the nature of competition. Relish the atmosphere, that your family are there to watch you do what you love, or even just think about that amazing feeling of accomplishment you’ll have when it’s all over. It’ll have you craving for more!
Why compete at least once?
My first individual competition experience was miserable – I seeded fifth, and was convinced that I could make podium if I went out hard and stuck there, even knowing that’s not the way I WOD normally. I had so much caffeine to wire me up that I thought my head was going to fall off! Needless to say, I didn’t podium and overall it was a bad experience for me, my own fault entirely.
I recently competed at my second Rainhill Trials, in a higher category, seeded much lower. With the experience of last time under my belt, I went out a lot calmer, dealt with things going wrong a lot better, and generally had an ace time, despite it being such hard work. I believe it’s only with experience that you truly start enjoying competing at CrossFit – which is why I say you need to compete at least once!