Your Fiercest Competitor

 You’ve gotta love CrossFit.  I’ve been at this game for five years now and I’m still having epiphanies.

In case you didn’t know, I’m slightly competitive…and by slightly I mean I will compete with you in who can do dishes faster, rake leaves faster, get to the front door faster; for Pete’s sake, I once almost decapitated poor Jenna Lennon in a fierce game of Taboo.

To say I understand the nature of competition is an understatement.  I’ve always encouraged my athletes to pick someone in their class and attempt to beat them in the WOD.  In fact, I usually announce the best time of the day for the WOD before it begins.

Lately, I’ve been reshaping my thinking…

You see, when I was introduced to CrossFit, it was a much smaller sport.  For a girl, I was considered strong.  I mean, most Rx’d workouts called for women to push 65 lbs, and in a few cases, 95.  A 155 lb clean and jerk was pretty decent, and you were a MONSTER if you could deadlift over 300 lbs as a female.

Here we are 5 years later.  My lifts still inch up little by little, but I realize that as this sport becomes bigger and bigger, it becomes more and more saturated with elite athletes; athletes that were elite before they even began CrossFit.  To exemplify: DP participated in competition at CrossFit New England a few months back where one of the WODs was a one-rep max clean and jerk, and girls that were jerking 195 were coming in below 10th place in this WOD!

What does this mean?  Does it mean that these little Bambi legs and crooked back throw in the towel and stop competing?  Does it mean that I never again aspire to be like someone who is faster and stronger than me on the whiteboard?

Absolutely not.

However, to achieve true success in a faster period of time, I need to stop focusing on beating the other girl and beat this girl (thumbs pointing at me).

After the conclusion of this year’s Open, John Lynch, Master’s competitor who placed 3rd in the world, made this statement on Facebook regarding WOD 13.5:

I hammered out 154 reps for 13.5 on Thursday. I didn’t need to repeat it as my overall standing wouldn’t change, even if I got 230 reps. I decided to repeat it anyway today to see how much my mind could push through the pain and exhuastion my body was experiencing. The point here was not to move higher on the leaderboard, but to compete with myself. That should be our ultimate goal for the Open. Find that higher threshold of our physical and psychological limits. We all emerge stronger because of it and can apply it to all aspects of our life. Needless to say, I managed 162 reps and then puked for about 10 minutes afterwards. It’s fair to say that today, I reached that threshold“.

Well played, Dr. Lynch…

You see, if ALL we do is compare ourselves to others, we may not experience progress.  In John’s case, it is because he is one of the best in his division and gym, but for many of us, it can be because it is too discouraging and not an accurate target of where we need to be aiming.

For example, sure I would love to full snatch 155 like young Meg Testa.  As compared to her, my snatch is weak.  But I am not Meg.  There are a lot of pieces to her that I do not share (power output, coordination, speed, flexibility, strength, and THOSE LEGS, etc…).  It would be unfair to me to compare my lifts to hers.  They should only be compared to my previous lifts.

We are all so different.  To truly measure progress, we can only measure ourselves with ourselves.  You are your fiercest competitor.

Bianca and Ariel

Bianca and Ariel

Bryan D.

Bryan D.

Ashley B. and Amanda

Ashley B. and Amanda

21 Responses for Your Fiercest Competitor

  1. Tricia Anderson :-):
    April 26, 2013 09:17 am

    Nice post LP – healthy competition is good for my soul. It keeps me moving forward!
    Spring has finally arrived, the sun is out, it’s Friday now everyone’s happy :-) :-)

    Leave a reply  
  2. Joe Anyzeski:
    April 26, 2013 10:53 am

    Well said Lauren. For some of us, beating our own marks and competing against ourselves is, for the most part, the way it has to be. The hardest thing has been convincing my mind that at my age I’m not going to be lifting the weight most of the people do, (body was convinced long ago), and that I won’t be as nimble or quick. Looking on the board for somebody close in time usually doesn’t work becuase they can advance so much faster with youth. Improvements are made, just measured in smaller achiefements, i.e strict pull ups, box jumps withouit falling over them, putting on an expensive, (remember expensive is a relative term), suit that has been collecting moths in the closet with room to spare in the waist. I’ve noticed a big difference, my doctor has noticed the difference and people around me have seen the difference, so a big shout out to crossfit.

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  3. April 28, 2013 02:18 pm

    Nice post.

    Be your biggest Competitor! Challange yourself each day to better then you were yesterday!

    stay strong!

    Torsten

    Leave a reply  
  4. Tim V:
    April 28, 2013 03:17 pm

    Excellent point!!! My greatest competitor is MYSELF, and I am amazed at conversations which occur at any/every moment during a rep, let alone a WOD.

    One of the greatest benefits I currently receive each WOD day, is completing the WOD, no matter the conversation occurring in my head. A truly amazing benefit.

    Thank you for the great post.

    Cheers!

    Leave a reply  
  5. Jenna:
    April 30, 2013 08:36 am

    Very well said! I struggle with this myself, just plain ol’ wanting to be the best…thanks for the reality check! I will continue to train hard to be better then yesterday!

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    1. ping:
      May 01, 2013 03:56 am

      to the author:well said and very true. i will read this once a week to remind and push myself. I would like to ask permission to use this line as a shirt, pls let me know if its ok. “you are your fiercest competitor”

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  6. Shea LeDoux Hare:
    May 06, 2013 11:26 pm

    I agree totally with this article. Comparing ourselves to elite athletes may only lead to our demise if we are not in fact among the elite. We have to remember with each WOD, we are stronger and faster than our last. Accomplishments are not just measured by leaderboards but also with each 5 pound increase in max or 5 additional reps!

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  7. BK:
    May 09, 2013 10:15 am

    LOVE IT!
    Your one very special egg Lozza….a true champion human being.

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  8. May 21, 2013 11:00 am

    Fantastic post. It’s refreshing to read because too many of us–pointing the finger at ME–get too wrapped up in competition with others and fail to see what we are actually capable of doing. Knowing what I can accomplish and pushing MY limits needs to be more of my focus. Thanks for this post!!

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  9. March 01, 2014 06:17 am

    Really good work is going in here! I think you people are doing very well and provide fabulous crossfit service because by getting service from you lots of people have got tremendous success as well. So hope for the best and I will join also for getting some sort of practice that’s for sure:)

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