You’ve probably noticed that this CrossFit thing is kind of a big deal now. A large part of the rapid expansion of CrossFit has been the success of the CrossFit Games, which puts the best athletes in the sport on display for the world to see.
One thing that makes the Games special is that we can understand what the athletes are going through more so than almost any other sport. It’s hard to know how difficult it is to tackle an NFL player, but we all have a concept for how heavy a 300# Snatch is, or how fast you have to be to perform a 2 minute Fran.
While most of us won’t be snatching 3-hundo any time soon, the opportunity to actually compete in CrossFit is very real and attainable. The question then arises – how do you get involved in the world of competitive CrossFit? What steps do you need to take in order to make the leap from CrossFit-for-fitness to CrossFit-for-sport?
Recognize the Difference
A subtle, but important aspect of this transition is to realize that doing CrossFit for general fitness and doing CrossFit for competition are two different things. They are not the same.
Change Your Mindset
Simply put, when you are training for the Sport of Fitness, performance is your number one goal, and everything else comes in second (that means aesthetics, too). Yes, CrossFit for general fitness includes performance aspects, but the ultimate GOAL is improved quality of life. The ultimate goal in CrossFit for sport is points on the leaderboard.
This also means that the mindset with which you approach workouts will likely have to change. You must become a tactician; it’s “How can I game this workout for the best possible score,” not “How do I get into the fat burning zone”.
Change Your Program
Training for competitive CrossFit isn’t inherently unhealthy or unsustainable. However, if you are not honest with yourself about the demands of training with the even bigger demands of recovery that drive improvement, then it could be unhealthy and unsustainable. We balance these aspects in our Competition Program.
Many people will train for CrossFit as fitness, and then jump in to local competitions for fun – and that’s great! But if that competition experience motivates you to perform better, your program should have competition in mind. This means taking into account the specific demands of competition, such as events that include multiple workouts per day, or events that last multiple weeks (such as the Open).
Your program should also reflect the fact that you have a season now. When you’re training for general functionality, no time of year really takes precedent over any other. But when training for competition, you’ll want to peak your fitness at the same time as your events so that you can perform at your best.
But first, you’ve got find a time to compete! The Open is a great event to make a priority in your year, but it’s good to have at least one or two other events throughout the year to focus on. Do your research and find a local competition that suits your needs, and then let your coach know that you want to prepare for that specifically. You’ll do much better having a set competition schedule that you have planned for, as opposed to hopping into events randomly.