We hear it all the time in CrossFit. Leave your ego at the door. Don't let arrogance get in the way of good form. You're only in competition with yourself!
Why is then that some of the biggest proponents of this ideal actually have the greatest difficulty adhering to its principles? And what does it really mean to leave your ego at the door?
In order to answer that, we need to have a look at why we do CrossFit. What is it that motivates us?
better versions of ourselves. To get fitter, faster, stronger (both physically and mentally) and learn and hone new skills and generally become pretty bad-ass along the way.
In a lot of people there is an element of vanity - which is perfectly OK - if you eat right and train hard and regularly, CrossFit will deliver an awesome body.
For most people the community is a huge aspect of doing CrossFit. It's what keeps us coming back but it's also a vital part of the whole thing - we make friends who understand what we are going through. We make pretty serious bonds with people we have sweated, sobbed, screamed and laughed with.
For many, CrossFit is about health; improving or maintaining health for some, life-saving for others.
If we take all that together, CrossFit is just about making us better. Better athletes, better people, or just making us more well.
So with that in mind, how does ego get in the way of that?
Choosing a weight that is inappropriately heavy for the wod because someone you are chasing went heavier. Miscounting reps deliberately to get a better score. Not going through the full range of motion because it's harder and takes longer. Picking a weight that is inappropriately light for the task in order to get more rounds and reps. Faking or exaggerating an injury to get out of a wod or movement you hate. Working only on your strengths so you don't look rubbish at something in front of other people.
But mostly....worrying about the numbers on the board.
Let's take a look at the numbers on the board...You know what? They genuinely don't matter!
They just don't matter. Sure, it's nice to see that you went heavier than a rival or that you beat your score last time you did this wod but you just aren't ever comparing apples with apples. You are not the same as anyone else in the gym and you never will be. Someone else has more or less experience than you, weighs more or less than you, trains more often or less than you, has better or worse coordination than you, has more or fewer injuries than you, eats better or worse than you, slept better or worse than you....You are never going to ever look like or train like Rich Froning because, do you know what? You aren't Rich Froning. All you have is you!
When you know the guy or girl who is always pretty strong in workouts didn't do as well as you expected in a wod, you don't think any less of them. You might, for a fleeting moment, wonder if they were having a bad day or hadn't slept or eaten well or had a sore shoulder or were just taking it easy that day but you certainly don't consign them to the rubbish heap. So why would you feel that way about yourself? One bad workout does not make you shit. Even a month or year of bad workouts doesn't make you shit.
Sometimes life gets in the way.
Now let's start looking at the purpose of your workout. Every day cannot be a test day, which means that the vast majority of the workouts you do are just a workout - just...
Remember that! The workouts you do on a daily basis are your training!
That means deviating to poor form just to get the reps in is idiotic because it won't make you stronger or fitter or faster - it will just hone your skills at being a bit shit.
The way to leave your ego at the door is to stop comparing and stop testing and