What All Athletes Can Learn From the 2013 CrossFit Games
The 2013 CrossFit Games came to a close this past Sunday evening, and we just watched the third straight victory for Rich Froning, among countless other victories that occurred over the course of the events. We watched athletes reach incredible heights immortalizing their names within the CrossFit community. But today is another Monday and we are back on the grind.
The most important part of competition is learning. You can learn from victory, and you can learn even more from defeat. What did you take away from the CrossFit Games this year and how you can learn to continuously improve?
4 Lessons From the CrossFit Games
1. You must perform your best at all times.
The Games winners, Rich Froning and Samantha Briggs, took the wins with a bit of room, but as we look at the competitors who just missed the podium there was a very small point difference that amounted to only a matter of seconds or pounds. During workouts we learn to game them and push during our strengths while surviving during weaknesses. This is a short-term strategy to win only that day, but to improve and ever have a chance at your true potential you need to push the entire workout. To become a champion you must be well rounded and excel in all areas, which means tackling your weaknesses.
2. Live in the moment.
CrossFit and competition in your sport requires mental focus that puts you in the zone. It is one of the few times in life where everything else can fade away. You become so enthralled in the event that the noise quiets and no one else is there. There is a special place that exists for athletes when you are truly in the moment - it all fades away, you get tunnel vision, and your performance skyrockets. This is what most athletes are in search of and it only comes as a reward of consistent hard work over a long time, allowing you the conditioning to dig deep.
3. Recovery is king.
During the games athletes endure an incredible workload that would take most of us a month to complete. The sheer number of workouts, the number of reps, and the amount of weight is astronomical - everything from maximal effort lifts to rowing a half marathon. Most of your average runners who complete a half marathon take the usual day per mile raced off. Instead of having thirteen days to recover, these CrossFit Games athletes are given just a few hours. Making sure to get nutrition right, hydrating immediately, and any and all other recovery activities are the difference between not only a CrossFit championship, but also your ability to complete a workout effectively the next day.
4. The stage drives you to greater performance.
Competing and putting yourself on the line and in the spotlight allows you to do more than you thought possible. The energy and pressure drive people to dig deeper. As an individual who can’t make it all the way through the CrossFit Games to the finals, how can you use this same tool? Pick days in your box to compete in workouts with friends and have your own games. Call someone out in a competition and put the pressure on to succeed.
This idea of continuous improvement is becoming more accessible to athletes everywhere as we have a greater ability to record our workouts and progress. Computer programs allow us to track distance, heart rate, total weight lifted, percentage changes, and much more. Continuous improvement is well established in the business and engineering world for a good reason, it is the only way to stay on top and relevant. Essentially you constantly evaluate your process (training), look for way to improve it, and then measure your results. Too many people want to compete simply show up to workouts and do what everyone else does.
The training of humans is a unique problem because we are all build differently. Everyone reacts differently to exercises, strength training, and endurance training. So, if you want to maximize your performance you are truly an experiment of one. This requires constant evaluation of your program and seeing what results are gained from the current plan. You must set the overall goals of your program, and make sure the training is leading you in the right direction.
So what now? Take a view of where you are and where you want to be. Set a plan, perform at all times, live in the moment, compete on the stage, and recover hard. Become who you want to be today there will never be a better time.
Photos provided by CrossFit LA.