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.
Ever since Sunday, I’ve been hitting my CrossFit workouts hard. This week has been all about heavy weights, which I haven’t done for a while, especially after coming back from surgery. My shoulders are trashed. My calves are trashed. Squatting down in the simple things like doing laundry is difficult.
This morning I had a workout planned. I did not do it. I was too sore, and my body was crying out for rest. Here’s some tips on how to know when to rest from exercise, CrossFit workouts, running, or whatever sport you do.
Tips to Know When to Rest from Exercise
Your body is crying out to you. This one should be intuitive, but I often ignore this one. When everything is sore and everyday movements become a challenge, it’s time for a break.
Your exhausted at the end of the day. Exercise causes trauma to our bodies that our bodies need rest and sleep in order to recover from. If you’re not giving your body rest, then you are not maximizing your time under the barbell. When you’re tired all the time, it’s your body crying out to rest, so it can do its job and repair muscle fibers and tissues, so you can be stronger for your next CrossFit workout.
Your mental game is affected. Loss of enthusiasm, motivation, and desire is a sure sign you need a rest day. If you’re only half into your CrossFit workout and you’re just going through the movements without any heart, then you’re not doing yourself any good. Rest and hit your workouts hard in the upcoming days.
You have a tweak that won’t go away. If you exercise or do CrossFit a lot, odds are you’re familiar with tweaks — some muscle feels a bit off and when you move it, you notice it. Most of the time, these tweaks resolve themselves on their own in a week or so. However, if you have a perpetual tweak that won’t go away, it’s time for a break. Take at least one rest day and then rest that muscle as much as possible. Modify the CrossFit programming to suit your needs or design your own CrossFit programming.
As you can see, the key is listening to your body. Rest is crucial to progress in sports, but it’s so hard to take that day when our passion is our sport. Below are tips for rest days.
Tips for Rest Days
Active recovery. It’s hard for some of us to not do anything physical on rest days. Active recovery is a great way to let your muscles recover but appease your mind that is nagging at you to work out. I personally like to walk my dog on rest days from CrossFit or go swimming, which is no impact and gets all your built-up lactic acid in your muscles.
Distraction. Plan rest days during the week instead of on weekends, so you’re busy all day long. Plan rest days during the weekend if your weekend is packed, and you won’t have time to exercise.
Plan your CrossFit programming or workouts. Planning my next workouts satisfies the need deep within me to workout. It gives me something to look forward to when it’s time to hit my CrossFit workouts hard again.
Read a book. Alternate worlds are always good to enter when trying to NOT do something like exercise.
Get a massage. Let’s face it, we all need massages if we lift heavy weights. Schedule your massage during your rest day if possible to maximize the effects of rest on the body.
Go to bed early that day. Get extra sleep to afford your body the time it needs to repair muscle tissue and grow stronger.
We only get stronger when we rest. Adequate rest and nutrition play a big part in our muscle gains and, odd enough, our muscle loss.
Working out and lifting heavy weights, whether you do CrossFit or a different sport, is only half the equation. Keep in mind the harder part — eating right and resting — and you’ll see results quicker.
Today I got to work out for the first time after my surgery. It was glorious. To feel my heart race again and try and beat the clock. Magic!
For those of you who do CrossFit, you know you walk around in a state of perpetual soreness. Since I haven’t been working out, I haven’t had that. Today I got it back. I used to bemoan the fact I’m always sore. Then I accepted the fact I was always sore. Now, for the first time, I missed the soreness of CrossFit.
Today I got to work out for the first time after my surgery. It was glorious. To feel my heart race again and try to beat the clock. Magic!
For the third year in a row, I’ve celebrated Thanksgiving by doing a CrossFit WOD called
Murph. A hero workout named for Lt Michael Murphy, who died in Afghanistan serving our country, it consists of:
1 mile run
100 pull ups
200 push ups
300 air squats
1 mile run
This is one of the most famous CrossFit workouts and is traditionally programmed for Memorial Day around the country. However, I began doing this on Thanksgiving as well three years ago to commemorate the Fallen.
The weather was perfect: 55 degrees and sunny. I invited one friend and it was him and me who performed it. It was fun. It wasn’t my best time, but I wasn’t pushing all out. It was, again, just doing the movement and enjoying life. Thank you to all who have served our country and especially to those who have made the greatest sacrifice and given their lives. Words are not enough.