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Gym Belle  - noun  one who enjoys pull-ups, push-ups, lifting things up/putting 'em down, PRs of all kinds, racing, jumping, spinning, daring and blogging re same (more here)


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« Week in Review 2/3/2013 | Main | Hail to the Queen 2013 »

Not So Standardized Tests

I grew up ice skating and horseback riding.  Good form wasn't optional - it was everything.  Today as a CrossFitter, I'm still a bit of a form junkie.  It's important to me not just from an efficiency standpoint or a safety standpoint, but as an end in and of itself.  And I'd take someone telling me that my overhead squat, my deadlift, my push-up was flawless over the number one time on the leaderboard any day of the week.  

Don't get me wrong, I don't move perfectly.  Far from it.  I have mobility issues up the proverbial wazoo, and I fall apart as I fatigue like anybody else.  Sometimes it takes me a while to "get it."  And some days I straight up prioritize strength.  But I put serious effort into having the best form that I possibly can.  I don't cut corners.  And I'd rather DNF than worm a push-up.

So CrossFit competitions can be a little irksome.  Everyone means well.  The organizers develop standards and set range of motion requirements; the judges do their best.  Almost invariably, however, the judging is all over the map.  One competitor gets no-repped repeatedly for something nearly flawless, while another gets away with murder.  

As a coach and a friend and an athlete, my heart broke yesterday at the Hail to the Queen Competition to see some of our girls judged so harshly, while other competitors were permitted to skirt the requirements entirely.  (You could've caught a lot of fish with all those worms!)

I love CrossFit competitions.  I encourage people to do them.  They're fun, they bring everyone together, and they push us.  They punctuate our routine training with something a little bit special, and they teach us about ourselves.  But they're not always fair.  And yesterday that bugged me.

Then I remembered a conversation I had with one of our athletes when I was coaching a few weeks ago.  The WOD was 75 strict handstand push-ups, with 10 air squats at the top of each minute.  Only a few people at the gym could do this rx'd, and we offered lots of different ways to scale depending on the individual's particular weaknesses.  This athlete was distraught.  "What's the point?" he asked me.  "The scores will be meaningless because everyone's doing something different."  

The point is to improve yourself - to get stronger and fitter.  The point is to beat your previous score, or set a benchmark to beat next time.  Competing against the rest of the gym should absolutely motivate and inspire you - but it's not the point.  Very few of us will make it to the Games, or even Regionals.  We're not professional athletes.

This is what I had to remind myself of yesterday.  We would all have been working out anyway.  Going to the competition was fun, it got us out of our comfort zones and it made us work harder than we would have in a regular WOD.  That is why we compete.  

-Gym Belle- 

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