Coach and Competitor Emily Yates Open Highlight

CrossFit is not an easy sport. . . . .

 

There are so many skills we feel we must master. The weights we feel we must be able to lift and the engines we feel we must develop.  CrossFit creates a finish line that we are never able to cross.  It is that forever moving finish line that keeps us striving to be better, to be stronger, to be faster, and to keep coming back for more! In our pursuit of this finish line, it is easy to measure our own success off of what others are doing around us.  However, we all started this race at different times, with different skills and with different goals. Through my experience as a CrossFit athlete I have had to learn not measure my success off where others are in their CF journey, but instead to truly look at myself and how far I have come from year to year as athlete in this sport.  Participating in the OPEN can be awesome.  It encourages us as a CF community to lay it all out there and to challenge ourselves physically and mentally.  However, it also gives us a huge stage to compare ourselves to others in our own gym, our region, our age group and in the world!!! 

 

What does comparing our performance to others really mean? Do we do it for our own mindset?

 

I have focused my energy on changing that mindset.  To no longer measure my success off what others are doing, but to look at each individual OPEN performance as an opportunity to do MY best and show how far I’ve come this year!  Doing this has allowed me to celebrate the mini milestones of this year’s open! I’ve really been able to enjoy the process a little more than last year and to be proud of the outcome whether or not I qualify for Regional’s. As I have spent these last 12 months living and breathing the life of a CrossFit athlete and Competitor my goal was to do everything in my power to be as prepared as possible for this year’s OPEN and to qualify for Regional’s. I stepped into week one with confidence in all that I had done to be the best me.  I used every resource possible to make sure that my training, nutrition, recovery, and mindset were on point through this 5 week competition.  Despite all the time and energy that I have put into preparing for 5 workouts, I have to understand and appreciate that the outcome is out of my control.

This is extremely difficult after dedicating so much of myself to preparing for the OPEN.  It is not in my power to know what the WODs will be or how the other girls will perform.  I may have just committed 12 months of my life to preparing for this, making major scarifies day in and day out, affecting the lives of my loved ones and still fall short of what the true goal was; to qualify for Regional’s.  Before this year, I used to look at my success in the open as a measure of my self-worth, or success as an athlete and even as a measure of my success as a CrossFit coach. I have worked hard to not only become a more skilled athlete, but also a gentler athlete to myself when it comes to self-talk.  All I can do is ask myself if I have done everything I could do to be my best, if the answer is yes, then that is truly what I have been aspiring to do to be my best self.

 

When someone asks me how I did on an OPEN workout, I always feel as though that is a loaded question. 

 

“How did I do compared to the elite athletes?” 

 

“How did I do compared to the other girls in our region?”

 

“How did I do compared to my own expectations?” 

 

It is hard to answer these types of questions. Last year I would have used other athlete’s scores and success to measure my own.  However, this year I looked at each individual performance and compared it to how I would have likely done last year.  When I look at 16.2 I could be discouraged by the fact that I failed on two reps at the end of the WOD and finished placing 45 in this event, as though that was not good enough.  I could also reflect on that event through the glasses that allow me to celebrate that fact that 175 pounds was more than my 1 rep max was last year, and this year I did three reps at the end of a grueling WOD with more weight than I could even lift last year.  When I look at it through those glasses my performance makes me damn proud! If I simply compared my score to those around me then I would have been disappointed, discouraged and down and out! Now, I look at it as where I have come…and man oh’ man I’m pleased with myself.

It is easy in this sport to compare yourself to others and to measure your success off what those around you are doing.  If we get stuck in that cycle then this sport ceases to be fun.  It does not allow us to be proud of the strides we are taking to reaching our best self.  Celebrate what you have done through the open.  Allow yourself to be proud of what you have accomplished.  Where you finished is no measure of who you are as a person, or where you will get to as athlete in this sport.  It is just a number! A number that will change year to year.  What you hope to be the constant factor through each OPEN is that every year you can look at yourself and know that you are stronger, fitter, and faster.  Great work to all the athletes that put themselves out there and threw down in this year’s OPEN. You guys should all be so proud of your scores, for the effort that you put into each workout, and that you are a bad-ass Cross-Fitter! 

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