Every box has these fire breathers. The athletes who you always see at the top of the leaderboard. The ones who stay after class to work on weaknesses or put in a little extra strength work. No, I’m not talking about your games or regional athletes or even the coaches at your box. I’m talking about the regular class athletes who enjoy pushing themselves and competing whether that be at a local competition or just against their fellow crossfitters.
What drives these athletes? The simple answer is the satisfaction of being better than they were yesterday. That’s the common cliche answer but the truth is their ego drives them. The feeling of being the best is one of the greatest feelings you can have as an athlete. Standing atop the podium after a competition is the ultimate satisfaction for these warriors. Knowing that the hard work you put in was worth it. These athletes approach the wods differently then the regular gym goers. They see a wod and try to play it out in their mind. Can I go unbroken on the snatches? Should I pace the run? Most athletes will go these same questions but the competitors will always try to out do themselves.
The first time I realized that I was a true competitor was when I did the benchmark wod Randy for the 2nd time. Randy as you know is 75 snatches for time @ 75lbs for men. The first time I did it I had a plan of doing 3 sets of 25. I was able to do the first 25 unbroken but then was only able to get 15 snatches before dropping the bar. I was still fairly new to Crossfit back then so I didn’t have any expectations. The 2nd time around I was a more seasoned athlete. I had competed in several local competitions and done fairly well. My coach had started depending on me to represent the box at these competitions so I always felt extra pressure to do well during class. I felt it was my obligation to finish each day no lower than 5th on the leaderboard. On my second attempt at Randy I had the same plan. Do 3 sets of 25. When I got to the first 25 I felt I was in a good rhythm and wasn’t feeling too fatigued so I decided to go for 50 unbroken. When 50 came around my forearms were on fire and my shoulders were getting fatigued. I should of dropped the bar there but decided to push on as much as I could and ended up finishing Randy unbroken. The feeling of satisfaction afterwards was unexplainable. I had no idea I could push myself to such limits. Now it seems like no obstacle is too great as long as I commit to putting in the work. This mindset is true both in the gym and in life.
Competitors will always feel a need to push beyond the limits of what is possible. All it takes is one moment in time, one accomplishment that once seemed impossible to change you forever. I can never go back to just cruising through a wod just to finish. I need to feel like I’ve given my best. Anything less is unacceptable. Who knows maybe one day I’ll take that extra step and qualify for regionals. Maybe one day I’ll make it to the games. Either way I’ll never stop trying to get better. Are you a competitor?