“Enter, it’s easy” they said, “nobody takes these competitions seriously”, “it’s all about fun” they said… this is what my fellow cross fitters at my home box told me to encourage me to sign up for the RxIt series last year. What they didn’t prepare me for was how entering a crossfit competition, even if you are scaling, is tough both mentally and physically.
We are nearing the crossfit open in a few days’ time and I thought that given I’m still pretty new to crossfit, I would give an honest account of what I’ve experienced thus far, which in turn may give you some insight on what to expect from your first crossfit competition.
In the last few months I’ve competed in both the RxIt series as well as a small local competition called Summer Slam at my home box. The difference between the two was vast and here is why:
The RxIt Nations Series is an online competition consisting of 3 WOWs (workout of the week) to be performed over a period of 3 weeks. Each WOW offers 4 different levels of movement and/or weight. The competitor can choose at which level to complete the workout. This rewards strengths, exposes weaknesses and enables everyone to compete at a level which is challenging for them. Ranking is based firstly on level and then scoring for the workout.
WOW 1: “My fall from grace”
I thought I would do ok on my first day… I had been training for a while and looking around the box during normal day to day training I wasn’t trailing the pack (although I wasn’t performing at competitive athlete level) but in a nutshell I wasn’t coming stone last every day. Well the first work out involved handstand wall walks on the level I was competing on and it really threw me. Gymnastics isn’t one of my strengths and having my coach judge my movements (he’s particularly strict on movement standards (as he should be)) and I pretty much sucked – so much actually that I think I got one round of the firs movement in. I was mortified. The results showed on the overall leader board that I was stone last out of the 707 competitors. A MAJOR ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT happened that day and I realized I needed to commit to make this thing happen.
WOW 2: “Licking my wounds and lifting myself off the floor”
Week 2 rolled round and I really didn’t feel like showing up to compete. I mean I was last on the log anyway so why bother? I decided not to let failure get the better for me and showed up for week 2 with my tail between my legs and give it a go. Again I got a tough judge (for all my sins) but it just made me more determined, I gave it my all and despite having a few movements I’d never even heard of before (e.g. burpee deadlifts (WTH)), as well as pull ups I got through and at least felt a bit better about my score. My self believe was starting to filter back into everyday life.
WOW 3: “Mental prep got me through”
I was determined to move up the leader board in week three and so I did…. This didn’t just happen on its own. I practiced all the movements on my level well before competition day (they release the WOW a few days before you need to compete), I actually took off a few hours before I needed to be there after work to spend time calming down (mentally preparing) and warming up properly before the workout. It paid off, I finished 44 places up from where I started – not a stellar score but when you are working up from the bottom of the score board it felt amazing not to finish last!
This was a partner WOD and it was just one day. My partner and I decided we should suit up and put our best foot forward (and even got a runner up prize for best dressed). It was super fun and the box released teasers for a few days leading up to the event, which where hilarious if you know anything about crossfit, in guessing what each station in the 5 station AMRAP would be.
There were a number of competitors from different boxes that arrived to compete which was nice because for RxIT we were competing as individuals and heats were run at each competitor’s box i.e. we didn’t get to compete with other boxes there. The vibe on the day was electric, it felt like a bunch of old friends got together to compete but with the end goals of having fun doing what we all loved doing – crossfit.
I would definitely recommend entering one of these local competitions if you are considering competing for the first time – they really are fun and even the elite athletes are fun to be around (they are normally super serious (with good reason) during the rest of the year.
What I learned from competing vs regular classes:
- You will fail & you will get over it. Period.
- When your judge is watching you and counting reps and making sure your form is correct there is no cheating – you have to do it right or you don’t get the points. This has made me a little stricter on myself during class, I don’t want to go back to the first day of RxIt and feel like I’m not where I thought I would be on the score board.
- No reps are actually great – you need to learn proper form and having a judge who isn’t giving you this feedback is doing you a disfavour – they are not giving you the chance to grow and improve yourself.
- On Competition day you will push yourself harder than you thought was possible, the 40kg bar that you thought you would never be able to clean you somehow manage to pull off! This gives you some perspective on what you can do during regular classes and you start working a level above where you think you can manage, pushing yourself.
Keep on persevering, you may suck at your first but that’s ok, we all need a “before photo” to use for comparison when we improve. I seriously wanted to enter this year’s open but I’m going to be travelling a lot during March and I would miss too many of the workouts. There is going to be a scaled version of each workout this year and that is the category I wanted to enter… but there is always 2016 right!?! When you start competing you are drawn closer to the action and if there is a big event like the open you get a sense of FOMO and you find ways to join in the fun and excitement, so I am doing my judges course so at least I won’t feel like I’m missing out by not competing.
The Crossfit Open Entries for 2015:
The RxIt Series Website:
My Home Box: