And while the law of competition may be sometimes hard for the individual, it is best for the race, because it ensures the survival of the fittest in every department.Andrew Carnegie
In the wake of the Games Open and our own Intramural, I wanted to touch on a pretty important concept. It’s a tricky one, cause it’s kinda like Jedi powers… used right, it’s amazeballs and can do good for you and others… but if you use its power wrong, it can be devastating in its effects.
It’s called competition. And it’s one of the cornerstones of what makes CrossFit successful.
Competition is Fundamental to CrossFit
Humans by nature are competitive. The people who started CrossFit understood this, and realized if they were able to harness competitive spirit, they would also be able to inherently dial up the intensity we can get out of our athletes. Case in point, the little side bet Lexie and I had this Open season. I’m sure most of you know the bet, but for those outside of the box, I bet Lexie that I would sweep her in every event of the Open. If I did, she would row a half marathon. If I didn’t I would.
As we all know 14.5 was by far one of the worst workouts we’ve seen in a while. It was basically 20 minutes of hell. 21:24 of hell for me actually when I did it on Friday. And I’m talking incoherent, dizzy, body won’t fully respond to my brain-commands and cannot make auditory sense of the cheering that was going on type of hell. I did it Friday and decided that was it for me, the pain was enough and 21:24 was the best I knew I could do. After I got that time, Lexie was feeling like it was pretty much over. That she would never get better than the 21:24.
The Lexie came in and dropped a 19:10 on me. I was pretty dejected at that point… not just at the fact I had to row that damn 1/2 marathon, but because I got beat pretty handily. Looking over the scores other people in my calibre got, I decided I underperformed… and decided (kinda impromptu) on Saturday to do it again.
And that time, despite being pretty sure my 21:24 was the best time I could possibly get… despite being positive there was no way I could find 2 minutes and change to shave off my time… I got a 17:50. About 3:30 better.
Today, the same thing happened all over again, except Lexie was the one who decided to give it another shot. She also was confident there was no way she would trim the time needed. She also dug deep and found a 17:30 time. About 1:40 better than her previous time.
Between the two of us, we went from being confident that 21:24 was a solid, untouchable time to lowering our times to mid 17:00’s. This is what competition does, if it’s done in the right light. Throughout the challenge, Lexie and I were genuinely supportive of each other. I rooted her on today harder than anyone else… cause I really wanted her to beat her inner doubts. And she did.
Competition was the root of the spirit here and it worked to both of our advantages. What sets good competition apart from bad competition? How does this happen?
Good competition is fueled by DRIVE. The desire to get better, and to make those around you better. Good competition isn’t necessarily about beating someone else. It’s about everyone leveraging each other’s drive to get better as a group.
This form of competition ultimately does EVERYONE good. It creates an atmosphere that feeds upon itself, an upward spiral if you will. This is the energy we all felt during the Intramural, and an energy I hope we all keep going in the months to come. Stay hungry for becoming better! Challenge and encourage each other to rise along with you!
Bad competition is fueled by EGO. It’s about the desire to beat someone to make yourself feel better. To “win” at something/anything in order to fuel an inner hunger or satisfaction that only comes when YOU are better than someone else.
This form of competition ultimately does no one any good. It creates an energy that also feeds upon itself, but it’s clearly a downward spiral. People begin to resent the ego-driven individual and vice versa. Energy gets sour, and intentions are no longer for the benefit of each other – only for the benefit of self (or clique/faction).
At Torrance CrossFit we haven’t had an issue with Ego driven competitive spirit. I think our gym is clearly based on the gains of the community over the gains of the individual – and anyone who had other notions would quickly find the atmosphere to be undesirable.
Don’t Stop Competing.
Keep up the good work everyone – and like I said – don’t let the competitive drive die just because the Open season is over. Keep pushing yourself and others to be the best they can – every day. Come up with stupid and silly bets like the one Lexie and I did – because it made both of us push harder and achieve more.
And for the record – I told Lexie before she redid 14.5 that if she redid it and didn’t beat me, I would row the 1/2 marathon with her. I did this cause I wanted her to beat me – or go down trying. And after she beat me, she told me she would row with me. That’s what TCF competition is all about. Ultimately we both are going to win… cause we both pushed harder in 14.5 (TWICE) and now we’re both going to row our first every 1/2 marathon.
Workout of the Day
A. Olympic Weightlifting
75% x 5 sets x 4 reps