CrossFits Red Pill and Blue Pill
One of the best parts about CrossFit and trying to be good at everything:
We learn to appreciate everyone’s unique strengths and abilities.
“Sally may not be the leanest, but have you seen her deadlift?”
“Joe has trouble squatting, but he can do pull-ups like nobody’s business!”
“Did you hear about Katie’s 5k time? Unbelievable.”
“Steve is so jacked!”
“Melissa has such a crazy schedule; I don’t know how she finds the time to make it in!”
“Mike’s burpees are insane, I don’t know how he does them so fast.”
“Jackie is SO flexible.”
“I can’t believe that Adam did that round unbroken.”
“Jamie is always smiling, before and after the workouts… but also during!”
This is one of the ingredients in CF’s “secret sauce.”
Nobody is the best at everything. And if someone does get good at a lot of things, they had to spend a lot of time working on things they weren’t good at (generally keeping them humble).
With a healthy mindset and a healthy culture, this will supercharge your training and make you enjoy your time at the gym more.
With the incorrect mindset, it can be one of the most detrimental things you can do to your progress.
A Double-Edged Sword
With the variety we see in CrossFit, it doesn’t take long to find out what movements you are good at and what movements you’d like to cherry-pick.
The same thing goes for your “gym squad”. You’ll know who is good at what, and who is going to beat whom in a particular workout. It is unavoidable.
When we celebrate people’s differences, cheer them on, congratulate them, compliment them… they benefit from our vibe. And we benefit from delivering these actions (when they are genuine).
The problem arises when we start comparing ourselves to others.
We experience this all the time on social media.
We are only seeing people’s “curated lives”. The high points. The 5-star dinners and sunny vacations. The handstand push-ups and the abs-in-the-right-lighting.
When we see all of the awesomeness of other people’s lives and we compare it to our own, our life seems mundane and flawed.
This is because YOU are the only person who is around all of the time in your life. You are the only person who has experienced all the burnt dinners, lonely evenings, and boring commutes, in your life.
When you compare your 95% ‘regular’ life to everyone else’s best 5%, you are going to feel inadequate.
With the wrong mindset, this is also what happens with our training.
Stop reading here and go back to the top of the article. Re-read the quotes, this time with an angry or jealous tone.
Go ahead, I’ll wait.
These statements can be positive or negative based completely on your perspective.
If we are comparing ourselves to people’s best 5%, we are going to feel frustrated or inadequate. We are going to become jealous or bitter.
Don’t fall into the comparison trap.
We track performances so we can compare our results to OUR past, not to other people’s present.
Gyms want people to post some scores so we can congratulate and celebrate each other doing awesome things (and we all have something to aspire to), not because we want to know how low we are on the leaderboard.
What to Do if You Are Comparing Too Much
When you find yourself feeling down because of how everyone else is doing:
- Go back and look at your old training logs. Look at how far you have come.
- Look at old pictures of yourself.
- Practice some things that you are good at and that you enjoy doing.
If these feelings are a regular occurrence, look for training partners and coaches who call you on your bullshit. Who can point out to you where you have improved and what you are doing well? Who can drown-out the voices in your head that keep pointing out all the areas you could be better?
Red Pill or Blue Pill
Engaging in CrossFit training over time is like when Neo took the red pill.
Once you start trying to get better on a vast landscape of movement and fitness realms, you begin to see the world through a different lens.
You begin to understand how hard certain things are, and how much better you could be at them.
If you choose to see this as a negative, you will not enjoy training and you will never feel ‘good enough’.
If you choose to cultivate a feeling of awe when people do things you can’t do (yet), or fascination when people do things you may never do, you will be inspired to train more and be happier with your progress. You will benefit from surrounding yourself with people who are ‘better’ than you, who will challenge and motivate you.
Do you know why we make workouts that have scores?
It has much less to do with competing than you might think.
The reason the workouts have a score is so that they are ‘measurable and REPEATABLE’. It is NOT about beating someone else at the gym that day or seeing how you stack up amongst everyone else in the world that did the same workout.
It is so you can see how far YOU have come.
If you are competing against anyone, it is yourself of yesterday.
You’ve probably heard of the axiom “Time is Money”, but how often have you heard “Money is Time”?
There is an important distinction here. While not all time can be converted into money (having more time doesn’t automatically mean that you can make more money with that time), money can usually be turned into more time.
You can pay to have someone clean your house. You can pay to have dinner made for you. You can pay to ride the train (or be driven)...