It´s easy to get wrapped up in a “testing” mentality in a CrossFit box. Do this for time, that for reps, see how much weight we can lift. These are all daily tasks found when walking through the doors of most CrossFit gyms. However, it is important to understand the difference between training and testing, and the purpose of our workouts.
Testing. Testing is where we are looking to rank/judge ourselves based on a certain performance. Testing is great when it comes to benchmark workouts to track how we are progressing as athletes, but I´m sure that most of you know by now, it can be a very stressful experience. The mental state that is created in a testing environment is “pass or fail.” If I lift this weight, I have improved, if not then I will feel bad about myself. If I don´t PR my Fran time today, then I am in worse shape. Ask any competitive CrossFit athlete what the most stressful time of year is for them and they will say the Open. 5 straight weeks of testing yourself against the world. The danger of a testing environment is two part – it causes mental burnout and it can cause injury as well.
Training. A training environment promotes the idea that you can only fail if you do not show up. If you show up, there is no such thing as failure, only success. Our purpose is to chase fitness and health, and so no matter how you perform that day in the gym, you are making a step to getting better. This is a much better state of mind to have when going about your fitness journey. You won´t burnout, you will remember to have more fun, and you will remember to listen to your body more often – preventing injury!
I think it is important that every athlete at CrossFit COMO take time to think about what they are training for, and the next time you come in to the gym, remember that we are here to train, not test. We always like to take our times/reps/weights and record our results, but please remember that this is YOUR workout and you will feel different each day depending on how well you slept, ate, kept your stress levels that day, etc. If you have ever taken a class with me as the coach (I´m sure that by this time you all have), you will notice that I like to say “don´t worry about percentages,” and “If you feel good today, go for a PR, otherwise just work up to a heavy weight.” I say these things for a reason! Take the time to figure out how you are feeling that day and then listen to your body.