CrossFit Training vs. Competing in CrossFit

Here we are, three weeks into the Reebok CrossFit Open. Many of you have been joining us each Friday when the gym as a whole takes on the Open WOD for the week and testing yourself against the Rx’d and Scaled movements. So, I thought now would be a good time to discuss the difference between Training and Competing.

We dedicate most of the year to Training.  Throughout the days, weeks and months, the intensity of training varies.  There are days when you want to push yourself and there are also days that have a lower intensity and help you recover.  You focus on building strength and stamina, you focus on perfecting technique and skills. You Vary the intensity and focus so that you are constantly improving.  If you were to “Redline” yourself, like you do in a competition,  it wouldn’t be sustainable.

In Training, the movements and load also vary, with the goal being to improve yourself and get comfortable with as many different stimuli and scenarios as possible.  We Train Strength, We Train Stamina, We Train Skills.   When you are training, you also need to be aware of everything that is going on in your daily lives.  How are you sleeping? How stressed are you? How hard/easy was yesterday’s training session? Are You getting enough of the right foods?  All of these variables, will impact how you perform and how you adapt to the demands you are placing on your body.  

This is not to say that Training and Competition are separate from each other.  There are always certain elements of Competition found in Training.  Competition helps you work harder than you would if left alone.  It can be friendly and allows you to push yourself and others day in and day out to improve and helps us to achieve a higher level of fitness and success. But when you sign up for a Competition, it becomes a whole different scenario.  

On the day(s) of your Competition, it’s your opportunity to put everything you’ve worked on, everything you’ve trained to the test.  It’s an empirical way of testing your abilities against others and it’s a ridiculous amount of FUN.  Sure, there is a lot riding on each event and the level of intensity you bring, is hard to put into words. But in all competitions, especially CrossFit Competitions, the experience is nothing short of AMAZING.  

Competitions are typically only a few events over a day or weekend.  In the case of the Open, it’s one event every week for five weeks.  You know when you sign up for one, that you are going to give everything you’ve got, every ounce of energy, every morsel of strength until the time is up, or the work is done.  When you are competing, you push harder than you do in training, you go faster than you think you can, you keep going when everything inside of you is asking you to stop and then…you do it again!!  

When you’re training, sure the music is loud and people are working hard and cheering when they’re done.  But in a Competition, the atmosphere is much more intense, spectators are there to Cheer for you and your Competitors.  The music and the energy of the crowd surrounding you fuel you when your tank runs low and at the end of the day, you know where you stand.  For Better or Worse.  

Even after a hard day of training, you come back the next day.  It’s common for people to take a few days or a week off after a competition because of the complete exhaustion they encounter.  

Although Fitness Competitions resemble Training, it’s important that you note the differences.  Each training session is important and should be helping you toward your goal. But, they are only pieces of the puzzle and we need them to fit together a certain way so we can see and enjoy the complete picture. Although many of the elements are similar, Competing is a chance to showcase your strengths and skills and test the outer borders of your abilities.  Whether your goal is to train for a competition or your goal is to train for life, The Open gives us the chance to experience a Competition and Test our Fitness.  What skills and strengths have you found so far that you didn’t know you had?

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