Competing is something that has been in my blood from the day I was born. I find happiness in it, comfort, even a sense of Zen if you will. I wouldn’t necessarily say that competition runs my life, but plays a huge role.
When I found crossfit, I found a way to feed my need for competition. Now, it was a long road to find that healthy balance of competition, but I’ve achieved that balance nonetheless. I’ve always gone head up with athletes that were far better than I ever was, against the athletes that were at the top of their game. When I walked into my first crossfit box, I looked to the guys in the room, trying to compare myself to them. I mean, that’s all I’ve ever competed against, guys. Who would’ve thought that girls would’ve beaten (to put it nicely) my butt up and down the gym? I’ve never experienced anything like that before. At first, my feelers told me I was embarrassed. How could I lose to…a girl!? After doing some soul searching, and realizing it wasn’t just one lady-bro kicking my butt, but many of the lady-bros wiping my face in the dirt, I found a few things.
1. These girls are awesome, and I may not be up to the standard that these very fit INDIVIDUALS who happen to be of the opposite sex, may be up to.
2. I needed to step back, focus on the little things, to become better at the bigger things.
3. I am competing for all the wrong reasons.
Being a man, losing to women, can be difficult. Especially if it’s your first time! After getting my butt kicked day in and day out by these women, I had an epiphany. Maybe the reason these beautiful, fit women are so good is because they just work hard and paid their dues just like everyone else. These women have put in the time and effort to be these beasts that make me want to be like them.
I had gotten so wrapped up in competing with everyone at the gym all the time that I lost the integrity of the movements I was doing. I had to stay more focused on executing the movements properly before I could ever think about getting better and faster at them. This is where most people hear about injuries in CrossFit, people get too big of an ego and refuse to lose to anyone in the gym. “Leave your ego at the door” is a very popular quote that many crossfit boxes have plastered in their gym somewhere; and for a very good reason!
It took awhile for me to come to grips that crossfit isn’t about competing with the biggest, baddest bro and lady-bros in the gym. In fact, crossfit is more about competing with the individual in the mirror. Challenging yourself to push the limits in many ways. Challenge yourself to listen about proper movement because you may in fact, not know it all! (What?? I know!) Challenge yourself to push past your comfort zone, to get in that uncomfortable place where you feel a little at unease, sweating a little more, pushing for one more rep than what you usually do. Challenge yourself to put yourself out there in a precarious position, maybe flailing around on the rings swinging like a circus monkey and asking “is this right?” (No, it’s probably not, but I love you for trying!)
I compete with myself every day. I challenge myself for all the reasons above, every day, to make myself, not just a better crossfitter, but a better person. I compete, not to beat other people in the gym, but to beat the person that was in my shoes the day before. I want to be better than the person I was the day before. I love living by one phrase. “Get better today.” Whatever that may mean to each individual, if you are not living every day to be better than you were the day before, then what are you doing with your life?