Moxie to Spare
If you enjoy CrossFit, there must be some part of you that enjoys competition. I have always appreciated the opportunity that CrossFit gives me to compete on a daily basis…against the clock, against a previous time, against someone else in the gym, etc. I don’t think we get that enough as adults, and I, for one, really miss that about competitive sports from when I was younger. But, when I think about CrossFit competitions – the loud music, the matching outfits, the nervous pees, coming up with a name that inevitably has a sexual innuendo, the ridiculous amount of food we bring even though none of it sounds good while we’re competing, the complaining about the judges, the strategizing, the cheering for EVERYONE there, the analyzing of every detail, and then the waiting for pictures to be posted of all the rad lifting faces – it makes me realize that what I really enjoy is the camaraderie. It always comes back the community of this sport that makes it so appealing. A few weeks ago, I got to road trip six hours to spend the weekend in Spokane with 10 other ladies from our little hometown gym and compete at The Moxie Games. We are all different ages, body types, ability levels, and have different mindsets. Goals for the weekend included everything from not getting last, placing in the top ten, winning the whole thing, making the podium, not getting hurt, getting a PR, not letting their partner down, finishing the workouts, not dying, to just having fun. My little coaching heart loved taking in all the emotions that people I care about were experiencing. And when they were all cheering me on in the last workout, I enjoyed taking that in as well. I have competed in three different competitions in the last few months and it made me reflect on why I enjoy them and what makes them an important piece of our overall training.
Here are just a few things I think competitions provide that are good for us to experience as adult athletes:
Being Nervous – We all know exactly what to do to help calm other people’s nerves (think of how we downplay this as parents or how your parents downplayed when you were younger), but when the tables are turned and it’s your turn to perform, it’s amazing how real those nerves are! From the days leading up to the competition, to the warm-up time before your event, to the countdown timer starting to tick down from 10, there is something to be said for your mental preparation and managing that nervous energy. Oh, and you really do pee about 20 times before noon.
Struggle/Failure – Inevitably there is going to be that one event that highlights your weakness on a grand scale. You think to yourself “if only they would have programmed a different weight, format, movement, etc. I would’ve done better.” That struggle and failure is ultimately good for us. It really sucks at the time, but there is some valuable growth that happens when you let yourself down or feel like you let your teammates down (even though you probably didn’t).
New Successes! – PRs, doing a movement or weight because you’re forced to try, a new unbroken DU record, making the podium, or anything else that you wouldn’t have done otherwise and makes you proud. There is an abundance of opportunities for new successes in competition and that’s super cool. We love to focus on all the things we could have done better after a competition, but the reality is you probably had way more successes than failures!
Humility – So you kick ass at the 5 p.m. class in Livingston? You get to a competition and everyone kicks ass at their 5 p.m. class! Now you have a judge that no-reps you three times in a row and the person next to you can deadlift three times as much as you can. It’s good for us to be little fish in a big pond sometimes. Being around other people just as good, or better, than us is inspiring and reminds us we are all on this fitness journey that will never be complete. There is always room for improvement.
Random People Cheering for You – I think this is one of the best parts about competition day. Everyone is in your corner, even your competitors. People love to see other people leave it all out there because we respect each other’s hard work. Just watch a one rep max event of any kind and it gives you goosebumps to see the crowd cheering and trying to do their part to help that person stand the weight up as they’re all shaky-kneed and going cross-eyed from trying so hard. It’s fantastic! Random people will tell you good job, that they like your shirt, that your ass looks great in those pants, simply call you “Shoulders”, or whatever other gym compliment you can think of. Who doesn’t love that??
But don’t take it from me…here are thoughts from some of the beautifully strong women from our gym that competed in The Moxie Games:
There are many things that I have enjoyed about CrossFit classes and competition, but I would say my absolute favorite is encouragement/team aspect. It was so amazing to see women of all different shapes and s
izes working their asses off and challenging themselves and others. Not only were the competitors cheering on their teammates or fellow gym rats, but I saw so many people encouraging other athletes they have never met (I know I was) simply because everyone has the same goal in mind and that is to improve and work our asses off. I am so incredibly thankful to have something to push me and to feel a sense of community and comradery. -Rachelle
I learned that adrenaline and a competitive spirit can unlock a level of performance that rarely shows up at an average day at the gym. I learned that success and accountability give me a drive to get faster and stronger so I can contend for the top spots in the future. This is the competitive side that I lost toward the end of my college sports career. I also learned that the old athlete and competitor remains alive in me. -Becca
Some things that surprised me: 1. The more I was no-repped, the more frustrated I became and the more unfocused I became, which led me to messing up even more…very frustrating (so basically I learned that I should aim to never be no-repped lol). 2. During the workouts, I was so in tune with what I was doing that I didn’t hear the crowd of people at all! I was really nervous for all those people watching, but they became non-existent once the time started!
The biggest a-ha moment for me was getting no-repped. I hadn’t had that happen before and the idea of having to repeat something several more times than the number I had in my head was difficult. I will use that to find a way to not get too frustrated when that happens. It’s hard to know how to deal with that until it happens. -Heidi
So let’s be real…none of us are going to the CrossFit Games (not for a while anyway 😉). But small, local competitions where you can win a side of beef and some protein powder are just as fun and give us the same benefits. They push us out of our comfort zone and allow us to inspire and be inspired. Even our small in-gym competitions and signing up for the Open are good places to start if you are feeling nervous about competing. We will keep you all posted on upcoming competitions so start thinking of your inappropriate team names now!