Friday, January 29, 2016

Thoughts on comparison


In many gyms (in almost all CrossFit gyms), there is a whiteboard where you write the name of everyone who comes in for a workout, and you write their score (usually a time, number of reps/rounds, or a weight) next to their name. There are some benefits to this. For one, people work harder. Trying to get a good score, which you know everyone in later classes will see, is a good motivator; trying to beat other people's scores is a good motivator. But in the end, we decided not to score workouts or use a whiteboard. Why?

There is comparison and scoring in every aspect of our lives. From grades and ranking in school, to performance evaluations at work, to social status and keeping up with the Joneses, we experience the pressure to do well and do better than the people around us. There are some activities where being competitive can lead to harm: parenting, partying, driving. Health is another. We hope that you come to the gym to get healthy, that the work you put in is not to get some score but to improve your quality of life. When your coaches pit you against each other, even if that is motivating, they are exposing you to harm. It leads to all kinds of weird phenomena, like cheating on reps and range of motion (I've seen that many places) or taking risks with unsafe movements. It overrides your sense of self-preservation (knowing when to stop or slow down) and leads to injuries. And it's just another Type A stressor beating down on your sense of worth.

They gym should be your respite, your place to get away from all the judgment and evaluation and comparison that you have to deal with all day. It should be a place of external support and intrinsic, positive motivation. Because we want to provide you with that, we don't score you and compare you. That means your drive needs to come from within. You need to want to tackle the work of workouts with a desire to improve yourself, not to please or look good to anyone else. That is a more mature, responsible, and kind (to yourself) approach than petty rivalries and show-off number chasing. Chase your own numbers: try to lift more or move faster today than you did yesterday, and don't worry about anyone else.

strength - add weight from last time (more info) 

power clean 5x3 

then

work up to a heavy single deadlift

then 12-9-6 at 65%
finish with 2 laps of farmer's walk