So what does that actually mean? This phrase came to mind after I completed the latest Open WOD for the CrossFit Open, 19.1. Thinking I could increase my score by minimizing rest, I kept “ping-ponging” the thoughts of redoing the workout or not. I finally got to the question, “why am I wanting to do it over again?” Being brutally honest with myself, the only answer I came up with was…my precious little EGO.
Open workout or not, almost everybody walks into the box (CrossFit Affiliate) with the singular intent of having a good time whilst working out with friends. But there always seems to be a handful of individuals who are here to prove something. To others. To themselves. Whomever. Here’s a scenario: “Bob” wants to lift heavier than “Bill”. “Bob” cheats on his reps to keep up with “Bill’s” pace. “Bob” struggles to deadlift but will do it anyway, so he won’t look bad in front “Bill” and/or any of his CrossFit mates. And while wanting to be the best at something always comes with great intention, it should never be prioritized over caring for your community or listening to your coaches.
Yes, nobody likes to be criticized and it’s often easier to build up a wall to protect ourselves from what seems to be a rejection of who we are, but walls need upkeep and at a certain point, the use of our egos to toughen our exterior becomes too exhausting.
“If you don’t learn how to check your ego at the door, you are in for a world of hurt. Not only in potential injuries but also by stalling or slowing (or even worse, regressing) your progress.”
That’s the point. Injuries. You don´t know the correct technique, but in your old gym days maybe you were one of the strongest in front of the mirror. It shouldn’t be a problem to deadlift over 300 pounds, you did it 2 years ago. And if you can’t lift it from your hips, your enormous biceps will help to do the rest right? WRONG.
You now reached the point where you have to fight against your ego. And it´s not an easy fight. But think about all the risks you do to your body by lifting heavy with bad technique. Back, shoulder, ankle, wrists. Is it really worth it just to impress someone who does not care about that at all?
“By cheating your reps, you cheat on no one but yourself”
Your Coaches plan every WOD. By doing less reps or not executing properly you will not reach the training level that's been carefully programmed. Everybody scales. The strongest lifter can struggle with Double Unders. Squatting twice your bodyweight does not mean you can do strict HSPU. But here is the great deal about CrossFit; you can do the WOD anyway. By scaling.
Another great step for your Ego. You know you can hit the weight. But for reps? For time? Be aware that your technique will get worse the more exhausted you become. And then we return to an increased risk of injury.
A big Ego is good. It helps to get you through your WOD. It helps you to stand up again when you failed. You do not become a Champ when you do not believe in yourself. Yes, CrossFit is a competitive Sport. Yes, all the Athletes you see at the Games may have quite big Ego’s. But they can leave it outside. Immediately. And that may be the biggest fight.
Find a balance between your Ego and humility. Then you’ll able to see huge gains in your workouts.