Ahhhh….the afterglow of the CrossFit Games. I need a cigarette.
Kidding, that wouldn’t be fitness-y of me.
This was a great year for the CrossFit Games, and I’m still feeling the glorious shudder of athletic release. Epic performances are inspiring, and as happens every year, inspired people will start staking their claims on social media:
The Monday after Carson is New Year’s for CrossFitters, as people hit the gym inspired and rededicated.
Being inspired is important, and a dedication to training is a necessity. But we have to ask ourselves what we actually need from our training – what satisfies us as human beings. It might be victory and competition because obliterating people who have worked very hard to try and beat you is AWESOME, but it also could be an infinite amount of other things: community, fun, health, progress, self-improvement, relief from stress, etc.
Most people don’t actually stop and think about why they are doing what they’re doing.
Is what you think you want actually what you want? If these things are different, your training is only going to be unhappy and won’t live up to your expectations.
Need some help figuring it out? Have a seat on the couch for a little Black Anvil Therapy session.
What do you want?
This should be the first question you ask yourself, because it’s your philosophy and will guide your attitude, planning, and mentality during training. Mess up this question and you’re going to have a bad time.
Do you want to be healthy? Then being a high-level competitive athlete is not for you. Health and performance are on different sides of the spectrum. If you are not ok with a high risk and occurrence of injury, aches, pains, stress, and/or adrenal and hormonal fatigue, then you are into health and and being in a general state of health is what makes you happy.
Do you want to achieve the highest level of performance, no matter what? Then being a high-level competitive athlete is for you, because winning, or at the very least, achieving your highest physical potential is what makes you happy.
Does competing make you unhappy, hate your life and want to puke? Then being a high-level athlete is not for you. A low-stress environment is what makes you happy.
Is competition the thing that excites you the most (even if you get nervous and want to puke)? Then being a high-level athlete might be for you, because competition and victory is what makes you happy.
Do you want to have fun? Then being a high-level competitive athlete is not for you. Yes, training is fun, and yes “fun” depends on your attitude, but there are going to be a lot of things you will need to do for a very long time that aren’t considered “fun” and you will want to punch people in the mouth for saying something like “You just have to find a way to make that 10k run…..fun”.
Training hard and losing = not fun
Injury = not fun
Setbacks = not fun
Disappointment in progress = not fun
If fun is your jam, be ok with that, because that is what makes you happy.
Do you want to do what has to be done, regardless of injury, set-backs, or disappointment? Then being a high-level athlete is for you, because you find happiness in overcoming struggle.
Do you want a balanced life? Then being a high-level competitive athlete is not for you. Not only does what you do in the gym need to be on point, but the rest of your life outside the gym needs to fit your life inside the gym.
Do you want your fitness to be your life? Then being a high-level competitive athlete is for you. The degree that fitness is your life depends on your current ability and where you want to go. If you a natural, top 1% athlete who can be at the gym for an hour and go to Carson, then your chances at a more balanced life than it is for the person who has the short straw genetically and has a long road ahead of them. But regardless, the gym and things related to it are going to be a large percentage of what you do and how you define yourself as a person.
Gyms are awesome. Working out is cool. But if those things become burdens to your life instead of a benefit, it’s time to check yo’ self before you wreck yo’ self.
Align the “how” you train with the “why” you train for maximum training happiness.