The season is upon us CrossFitters as we embark on 5 weeks of workouts announced by Dave Castro on Thursday nights to see who will advance to Regionals and then finally The CrossFit Games, now in Wisconsin.
For many of us, this is a really stressful time filled with Announcement watching parties, Friday Night Lights, multiple attempts at horrible workouts, forming “Super Teams”, and the ever popular “Leaderboarding”.
For 95% of us, the Open is just a fun way to test yourself at 5 workouts and see how you stack up with the rest of the world. For the small percent of top athletes, they are trying to make it to the next step of the process so they can ultimately start a GoFundMe page for their plane ticket, hotel costs, and protein shakes.
Yes, this can be a very stressful time of the year where you see how far you have come. Much sacrifice and dedication is needed to even make it to Regionals at this point, as many athletes all over the world are literally doing this full time in lieu of a traditional job. Yes, you are only young and healthy for a small window of time. Seize the day, by all means!
What I want to encourage everyone reading this who finds themselves depressed, down, angry, stressed out, and ultimately finds their whole or partial identity in your workout results or how you measure yourself against others is that in doing so you are most likely producing the opposite results of what you really want.
Remember why you started CrossFit. For most of us, it was to have fun, get healthy, and stay motivated due to the group dynamic and constant accountability.
Remember that you are most likely not going to become a professional athlete in this sport and you will most likely not retire from CrossFit due to winning events, sick protein sponsorship money, book deals, and worldwide speaking appearances. You will most likely have to get a “real job” at some point, pay bills, save for the future, have kids take all your money, and try to stay injury free.
So what is your identity rooted in?
Is it rooted in your ability to complete Dumbbell Snatches and Burpee Box Jumps in a 20 minute timeframe?
Is it rooted in how many people are better/worse than you in exercising?
There are 7.1 BILLION people in this world and 300,000 of them signed up for the CrossFit Open. You are probably already in the top .005 percent of healthy/fit people in this world even while sucking at CrossFit.
3.1 MILLION kids starve to death every year all around the world. I think you and me are pretty fortunate just to pay CrossFit $20.00 for a bad website and 2 days of a workout extension.
Should we get all upset over a server crashing and a website not being able to accept scores for 2 days?
Yes, I understand that any type of competition breeds emotions and can bring out the warrior in us. I run a competition company and I see those emotions every event when a judge messes up or the scoring is temporarily incorrect.
I am not telling you to ignore those emotions or suppress your inner warrior. By all means, go berserk with that during your training and your competitions. That’s what life is all about!
But remember that once you compare your workout results with who you are as a person, you are missing the point. You may have some things to work on and get better at within CrossFit, but please do not ignore that you are an amazing human being who was put on this earth for a reason.
CrossFit/fitness is a tool you can use to become healthier, in both mind and body but do not allow it to be your god. Your body will ultimately fail you as you get older and you may wake up one day without a purpose. Young kids these days are really getting good at this sport all the while you are slowly getting older.
Maybe you are the young kid now. I say enjoy it, get good, have fun, but don’t forget that there is a great big world outside of the Open and Regionals and you will have to live in that much longer after it is all said and done. (Just ask a young kid battling cancer in a hospital if he knows what Annie Thorisdottir’s score was on 17.1)
So don’t forget to call your parents, keep in touch with your friends who don’t CrossFit, stay motivated at work (they are paying you while you Leaderboard all week), and enjoy being healthy! Do your absolute best YOU can and don’t worry too much about how other people do.
I know that is easier said than done but I just wanted to share this with you in case your identity is tied somewhat to your performance as a CrossFitter.
As soon as this whole stops being fun, take a step back and re-evaluate why you train/compete. Maybe it is time to just smile, pick up the bar, and enjoy being fully human.
You are NOT your “Fran” Time, thank God.
You are NOT what other people scored, thank God.
You are NOT your Open score, thank God!
Struggling with your identity and purpose? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be happy to talk!
——By Christopher Galvan, a Child of God, husband, father of 2, sales rep for a health care company in San Antonio, 40 year old currently injured CrossFitter, and owner of Trinity Competitions