Hilary here. So, last weekend our gym hosted its annual Fall Classic competition. I’ve judged for the last two years, but this year I decided to throw my hat in the ring and compete. For the first time, it was a partner competition instead of individuals. And my partner was the ever fiery Gary, hence why we were given the team name “6 AM Dragons” (and I made the costumes to match – see left).
This was my second partner competition, and fifth CrossFit competition overall. (For another post on why you should be competing, click here – it is #tbt after all).
There are a lot of great lessons you can learn from competing with a partner, or even just doing a team/partner WOD, for that matter.
First and foremost, HAVE FUN and don’t take yourself too seriously. This applies to CrossFit in general, not just competitions. Yes, it’s ok to be competitive. It’s ok to want to win. But CrossFit is your hobby. It’s something you’re supposed to enjoy. So, in the end, win, lose or draw, just enjoy yourself. Sometimes it’ll go your way, sometimes it won’t. Soak it in when you do well, and laugh it off when you don’t. Take part in all the goofiness that you can (see dragon shirts with crooked spikes and puff paint and matching lime green knee socks). I always say that life is too short to take seriously, and I believe wholeheartedly that that attitude has taken me far in how much I enjoy CrossFit and competing despite the outcome.
Know yourself and your strengths and weaknesses. Accept them for what they are.
Not every workout is going to be in your wheelhouse. For me, I knew the first WOD which included a three minute AMRAP of 50 squats and 20 pull-ups was not going to be my time to shine (although I did my first-ever pull-ups in a competition, so that’s something). Be ok with the fact that your partner might have to take over sometimes. Accept that you won’t split every single workload equally, and you might not feel like you are not pulling your weight.
This is 100% ok, and also a lesson in humility. Yet another reason why I love CrossFit: as good as you might be at some things, there will always be something else to work on, and workouts where you just totally get your butt kicked.
But on the flip side, don’t be afraid to own it when a workout comes up that is totally your jam. When I saw the final WOD included cleans, front rack lunges, shoulders to overhead and wall walks, I was giddy with excitement. I’m pretty sure I actually giggled. Stay humble, but at the same time, don’t be afraid to step up to the plate and totally crush it. And if you think you can take over more of the workload, go for it (provided you’ve discussed with your partner). We all have strengths and weaknesses, and partner workouts/competitions are the time to work them to your advantage.
Communicate with your partner. As mentioned above, talk about your strengths and weaknesses. Who’s going to do what and take over when. How will you divide the workload? What’s your strategy? As soon as you’ve seen the WOD, figure out how you’ll attack it. Also figure out the best way to motivate your partner. Some people love being screamed at mid-WOD, I also have friends who actually despise the idea. And if there’s a synchronized movement (like the burpees seen above), figure out who will be calling the movement and what your rhythm will be. If you and your partner want to win this thing, communication, and presenting a united front, are key.
Celebrate! With food! (Obviously). After everything was all said and done, some CrossFit friends and I went and got some insanely delicious burgers. And then, ice cream topped with lots of tasty chocolate (it was Halloween after all). You’ve worked hard, so you’ve earned the right to eat (and drink) whatever your heart/inner fat kid desires. And after dinner and getting cleaned up, many of us from the gym celebrated our successes at a ping pong bar owned by one of our friends (in awesome costumes, naturally, since it was Halloween). Regardless of how the competition went, you worked hard, so you deserve a celebration and to treat yourself.
Get back in the gym and start working towards your next goal. It just so happened that I finished my strength program the week before our comp. I’m in the midst of a de-loading week this week, and then it’s back at it next week. So I met with my coach to evaluate successes and setbacks and plan for what’s ahead (waiting to get a new program is like Christmas morning for me – a mix of anticipation, excitement and just a touch of dread because I know that my coach will find new ways to kick my butt).
So if you haven’t done a competition yet – what are you waiting for? I can guarantee you’ll learn something about yourself, have a great time, and be ready to take on new challenges in and outside of the gym. I know this 6 AM Dragon is!