Check your ego at the door. I am sure most of us in the CrossFit world have heard this saying at some point, if not, well…you’re hearing it now. What does this saying actually mean though? It can mean a lot of different things but it usually comes down to a few finer points:
- Stop comparing yourself to others!
- Strip back the weight and intensity, and move well before adding more weight or going faster!
- Make this the best hour of your day!
Let’s take a look at that first point. I know what most of you are thinking, “competing with others is what makes CrossFit so fun” and to you I would say, really? I’d argue the happiest we are in the gym is when we do something we never thought possible, like getting that first muscle-up or stringing pull-ups together or hitting a new PR we have been fighting for for weeks, not when you beat “Becky” from the 5:30 PM class on the 2k row. A little bit of HEALTHY competition is great but it should stay healthy, but the moment you start belittling yourself because somebody got a better score than you on a workout, it needs to stop. Now I may be wrong about this, but if you get more enjoyment out of beating others than you do setting new personal bests you need to re-align your goals and mindset. If you always compare your best to someone else, guess what, you will never be good enough, you will always leave the gym feeling like you are not good enough, and that’s not the point of working out. The point is to better yourself everyday, come in and try to be better than you were yesterday, not better than the person next to you, better than YOU were! This mindset will not only lead to great fitness achievements, but hey, you also may be a happier person in general!
On to the second point, and probably the hardest one for most of us, after a certain while doing CrossFit you get to know your way around the movements. You start to understand how to snatch, how to do pull-ups, and hell you might even be the unicorn who can do muscle-ups. Then, all of a sudden walks in the coach who tells you that “You would benefit from taking some time at a lighter weight to work on moving with better technique.” This is were checking the ego comes into play. Are you the person who is going to just brush it off and say, “I know what I am doing, or I move this way because blah blah blah” or are you going to say “You know what, you’re right I’ll back the weight down and work on moving better the next couple weeks”? Chances are if you’re that second person you’ll lift heavier weight in the long run, or maybe get that elusive muscle up and most importantly not get injured….check that ego!
Finally the last but the most important point. I want you to remember back to when you first started CrossFit, remember what made you stay? My guess: the community, the fun, the feeling CrossFit is here for you to be the best hour out of your day. This is the time for you to come in after work and use it as a way to de-stress, have fun, let off some steam, certainly not add more stress and anger to your day. If you come in everyday with expectations on yourself to perform a certain way or get a certain time or lift a certain weight my guess is that this hour only adds to your stress and mental anguish.
I’ll leave you with a challenge, I challenge anyone reading this to spend the next month going into the gym with ZERO expectations. Read the workout for the day and don’t try to game it, don’t look to the whiteboard to see what you’re workout arch-nemesis got. Instead go in with the sole intention to do your absolute best and enjoy the workout, even on days you’re set to max out. Go in with the intention to do your best. Lift as heavy as you can and if a PR isn’t there today? No worries. You still got a great workout. Going in to the gym with zero expectations may help you to actually start to enjoy CrossFit again and get better results in the long run!