This past weekend, my daughter and I competed in Battle of the Boxes at CrossFit MOB. I did this one last year and somehow managed to get second place. This year, however, with my daughter who has to scale all the weights, we were destined for last place. Hence, there is a completely different approach to a CrossFit competition when you know you’re not going to win it.
CrossFit Competition: When It’s Better Than Expected
However, we did better than expected. We got further on the workouts and actually beat some teams. We finished a WOD without being time capped. We did fairly well. We broke up the reps (although I had to do 130 wall balls since the target was 10 feet high, which sucked), but she did most of the snatches.
As most of you know, the fitter you become, the harder it is to set personal records (PR). I haven’t had one in a while. Yesterday, at a CrossFit Masters competition in Colorado Springs, I PR’ed my thruster by 10 pounds. I was super excited! I also did really well, which I wasn’t expecting, which proves to myself I am getting stronger.
Today’s CrossFit competition was at CrossFit Sanitas in Boulder, CO. It was a partner competition called Tuff Love.
This was my first time doing this one. I tried last year to do this CrossFit competition but couldn’t find a partner. This year I was determined to do it. So, I asked everyone I knew to do it with me, and everyone turned me down. So, at the last minute, I convinced my daughter to do this CrossFit competition with me. Tom, one of the owners, graciously opened up a few extra spots, and let us in as I had been in contact with him for a partner as well.
My daughter was not looking forward to this CrossFit competition because we had to scale all the weights down. However, after the first WOD, which was a clean and jerk ladder of sorts, she was having the time of her life.
CrossFit Sanitas as always (this is my third competition there) was gracious and accommodating as a host, and the location has tons of food and areas to walk around. It was cold and snowy for a time, but fun. Definitely will do this one again next year. Thanks to all and the competitors who were amazing.
I’ve done at least two dozen local CrossFit competitions, and usually in each one, there are some of the same pitfalls:
Unfair judging. With local competitions, you get judges who are graciously volunteering their time, but most of them have no experience judging CrossFit competitions and thus make mistakes. This ends up affecting the podium, and I have lost several times because of this.
Inconsistent judging. Again, due to lack of experience, athletes are not held to the same standards. Even though everyone knows the standards for a burpee, some competitors will cheat if they can get away with it — and a lot of the time, they do. No one likes to be the bad guy and “no rep” others. Hence, some athletes cheat themselves to the detriment of others who play by the rules, who have integrity, and who want to win fairly. I see this a lot, which is honestly, sad.
Improper equipment. Having to deadlift with a guy’s bar 20 kilos as opposed to 15 kilos) when you’re not used to it is a disadvantage to women whose bars are thinner and weigh less. When you’re outside in the blazing sun at 90 degrees and you’re trying to grip a guy bar and your hands are sweaty, it’s tough.
Unbalance programming. Due to time constraints, most of the CrossFit workouts are short. This plays to those who are sprinters and not to marathoners. Furthermore, the CrossFit programming is at the whim of the host box and is sometimes inconsistent as well. For example, one CrossFit competition I attended had no gymnastics work at all (pull ups, double unders, muscles ups, handstand push ups, etc). This is a separator for athletes and puts those who have these moves at an advantage. Same goes for one I attended that was all heavy bar work. That puts those who are strong at a disadvantage to those who are agile. Ideally, there should be balance in the CrossFit workouts at CrossFit Competitions.
Poor management/getting off schedule. There have been some local CrossFit competitions where the CrossFit competition has run way off schedule and ended up finishing an hour or more behind — which sucks when you got at least an hour drive home ahead of you.
TIPS FOR BETTER CROSSFIT COMPETITIONS
Balanced programming. Workouts don’t need to be complicated, but they should challenge the athletes and test them across the ten CrossFit fitness domains.
Invest the time in finding good CrossFit judges. Ideally, you’ll want your judges to have taken the CrossFit Judges course. If not, to have at least some experience in judging CrossFit competitions. This eliminates disgruntled athletes who may be disinclined to attend your next CrossFit competition because they feel cheated at yours.
Adhere to your schedule. Hiccups happen out of your control the day of the CrossFit competition. However, you can plan ahead to minimize these as much as possible and stay on schedule. Make sure heats are not too close together to wear athletes out. Test your workouts with members of your gym of all fitness levels to figure out how much time you’ll need to complete them. Consider recovery time, set up time, time for awards, and time for lunch as well.
Have the proper equipment. This doesn’t mean you go out and buy all brand new sandbags for your CrossFit competition. It does mean you borrow what you need from another local box or you program to what you have on hand. Trying to jerry-rig something from nothing will only give you poor impressions and a high likelihood no one will return the following year.
From an athlete’s perspective, I’ll return the following year to one with good programming, one that’s run efficiently, and one with at least judges who do CrossFit. I’ll stay clear of the ones where lackadaisical attitude toward the CrossFit competition by the box ruled.
Last night, I went to bed at 6:30 pm. I was physically exhausted — something I am definitely not used to.
After a 2-day CrossFit Competition, and I worked out yesterday morning with no rest day (I squatted and did a workout with a run, hang power snatches, and burpee box jumps), I was dragging all day at work and when I came home, I was tired. I couldn’t even eat dinner. I just went straight to bed.
CrossFit Competitions will wear you out — emotionally and physically. You want to do your best, you’re disappointed when you don’t do your best, you stress over the details like the drive down and when to eat, and then there’s the actual workouts themselves, which are bears to get through.
The Importance of Sleep after a CrossFit Competition
All of this equals exhaustion. When this happens, listen to your body and get some rest. Sleep is so important with CrossFit to let your body heal, recover, and rejuvenate. Here’s my advice after a CrossFit competition or some other grueling workout, such as a Tough Mudder or Spartan Race:
Get extra sleep. This will allow vital tissues and muscles to recover and recuperate after what you’ve just put them through.
Drink more than you think you’ll need. I usually lose about 4 pounds every CrossFit competition. Most of this is water weight. At a CrossFit competition, you usually don’t drink much because you don’t want to have to go to the bathroom, you forget, or you’re just too nervous. Afterwards, you need to replenish. Drink extra water and recovery drinks for optimal muscle recovery.
Take rest days. I’m a hypocrite. I don’t do this. I don’t like to get behind on my training. Yet, you usually suffer if you don’t (or you’re so tired you lose a whole night!). Give your body some well-deserved time off.
Take inventory of what you’ve learned. I learned a lot from this last CrossFit competition. I learned once again I’m stronger than I think I am when I flipped a 300 pound tire multiple times. I learned I need to practice on a bar that I can’t touch the ground on. I learned I can still kick ass when the I have to, especially if the moves are in my wheelhouse. I learned I still have the fire to compete that I thought I had lost from burn-out. I learned I’m just as good as others, if not better.
The whole point of CrossFit competitions is to learn from them, push yourself, and be proud of your achievement. You probably won’t win them all. But within each competition, there will be a personal victory — either a move you did you didn’t think you could do or a workout you annihilated.
Keep in mind why you compete in CrossFit, and you’ll just keep getting better and better.
Two-day CrossFit Competitions are rough: You’re tired from Day 1 and you have another tough day ahead of you.
Day 2 of the Turkey Challenge began with a “Burden Run,” and, yes, it is just what you think it is.
Wearing a 10 pound weight vest, you had to run with a 60 pound sandbag on your back for 150 meters, do 10 back squats with the bag, 6 lateral burpees over the bar, and then do max calories on the rower. 5 rounds. 2:30 minutes each. 30 seconds rest in-between.
I actually did really well on this one, except once I couldn’t get the bag up. But I got 4th place.
I did 7 tire flips with a 300 pound tire (never done that before).
AND I won my final WOD: 10 rounds of 15 double unders and 1 rope climb.
Overall, a great day. It boosted my confidence after the first day and has got me wanting more. After I take a break and get my tooth fixed.
Lessons Learned from 2-Day CrossFit Competitions
You get to do exercises you otherwise don’t: sandbag runs with a weight vest and tire flips.
I’m stronger than I think I am. I did 300 pound tire flips — 7 of them — and I didn’t think I could do one.
Overall, a great competition. Fun to watch. Learned a lot. Got remotivated for CrossFit. Good, albeit long, weekend!