The Cycles of Competition


Sitting at the CrossFit Competitors Course filled with a room full of like minded individuals, either coaches, or competitors themselves is a great opportunity. The information presented and the things learned over the course of the weekend is awesome. People walk away with some great take-aways for either themselves or their athletes. I love watching some of the light bulbs go off for the participants when they realize more effective ways to help themselves and their athetles.

It does bring up the question of why we compete though. I think back to how I got involved in competition in my life and what started it as well as where it has taken me. This is the theme I have personally found.

1. I find something I really enjoy. I love doing it and I love participating in the sport or activity.
2. I realize that I’m not too bad at it, I may have some potential and I could do ok if I were to go to a competition… but I just do it for fun. Literally for the pure enjoyment of it.
3. The competition goes down, I have a blast, and realize I did pretty well, maybe even better than I thought. But because there are no expectations on myself I perform well and have fun.
4. I get the bug. And I mean I get it… I see others that may have won, performed well, etc. and I think that is something I have the ability to do. From there, it’s go time. I have a bit of an all or nothing mentality when it comes to that commitment or wanting to reach a goal and I pursue it.

The problem I find is when we come to that last step. You start to make sacrifices and people often begin putting pressure on themselves here. It’s tough to not care so much when you do make the sacrifices necessary to be at the top or meet some of the goals you may have no matter what they are. That drive is important and we need to have it if we want to succeed, but the second that drive turns into a fear of failure we take the fun out of it. We take the joy out of what got us started and why we started competing at the beginning. It’s important to keep that as it takes pressure off of us.

When we walk away from a competition I think it’s important to put yourself out there and risk some things. Believe that you can meet your goals, work to achieve them… but when it’s all said and done did you do everything you could to get there? That’s the question. If you did and you fall short, it’s ok to be disappointed. That’s a vulnerable place to be BUT it doesn’t define who you are. Learn from it and take the positive attitude with you that you performed your BEST. That’s all you can do, and that is victory in itself. If you met your goal, time to set a new one and start chasing it down again. Don’t be afraid to take the risk, but you have to realize that you aren’t defined by your result, it’s not WHO you are, it’s just something you do.


  1. Ken Idler says:

    Very impressive as well as spot on insight. I began crossfit alomost three years ago at the age of 48 with the intentions of improving my overall fitness level only (no thoughts of competition). It wasn’t until last year (2012) when members of our affiliate(Fallout Crossfit) convinced me to participate in the master’s open competition that I ever considered competing. It was during that competition that the seed was planted to approach crossfit in an entire different way. I set a goal to improve through specific training objectives targeting the 2013 open competition. During this time I have enjoyed the process until recently when the stress set in worrying about how I am going to perform in competition. I can relate to your comments and appreciate them very much, for they help me put things back in perspective as I prepare a lot of fun in the coming weeks.


  2. Barry Stockbrugger says:

    This is such an accurate depiction of the balance between training and competition. I believe that the competitive aspect is important because it helps to define goals and objectives and provides an opportunity to test yourself relative to the goals that you have set. But at the end of the day it comes down to giving the best you can on the day. Nothing else is within your control. And you just hope that you have some luck on your side because we all know that we have good days and bad days. Hopefully we are “lucky” enough to have one of the good days on the day that it counts. We can’t let the stress of winning or losing define our perception of success. It is just great to be “in the game”!!

  3. Andy says:

    Thank you very much!
    Words of wisdom, which transfer pretty well to everything outside of crossfit too.

    “You aren’t defined by your results”

    Maybe I will use that for a tattoo? :-)

  4. Fantastic, Chris! Enjoy reading material from a man of strong faith! Your a true light. Thank you!


  1. TGIF « says:

    [...] The Cycles of Competition [...]

  2. [...] I love this so, so, so, so much. I would add one more so, but I think that would be too much. The sacrifice that has been made by those who have been to The Games and wish to go to The Games is tremendous. We train roughly 15 hours a week. That type of time commitment outside of work and family cannot be made for something that you just do. That type of commitment is made for things you love, obsess about and cannot live without.  This time of year our weekends are dedicated to training and other things have to take a back seat. Whether I end up 2nd or 20th, my worth is not in the finish. [...]

  3. [...] ‘The Cycles Of Competition’, by Chris Spealler.  An excellent article by everyone’s favourite Games veteran. [...]

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