One of my favorite things about CrossFit is the community aspect. A lot of that has to do with the gym and the fact that, for the most part, I am working out with the same core group of people every day. I know for a fact that not everyone is fortunate enough to have this sort of situation. Some gyms, whether it be because of the mentality of the people working out there or the atmosphere that the ownerships fosters and allows to take hold, do not have those core groups who push and encourage each other day in and day out. I am lucky enough to have an amazing gym with amazing people. I’ll leave that topic for another post….
My point is, that if you’re fortunate enough to have that core group of people around you every day, you’re very lucky! Not only have you gotten to know new people and seem them become stronger and progress in their fitness goals, they have been by your side to help you achieve yours. While that is all well and good, it may, unfortunately, cause you to lose track of how well you are doing overall. I am sure this is more applicable to those of us who are in the middle of the pack, and not necessarily the athlete who is doing the WODs at Rx or above and still blowing everyone else out of the water, but then again, everyone has their weaknesses.
The point I am trying to get across is that even though so many of the things we do in CrossFit are based on personal bests, we all tend to measure ourselves up to the person working out next to us. Sure, this can and often is a good thing. If you can lift more than me, or are faster than me, you can bet I am going to do my best to keep up with you. We need to remind ourselves that our progress should be measure against ourselves, and that the people around us are really only a tool we can use to make ourselves better. I know, it’s easier said than done.
I, myself, was reminded on this a couple days ago when one of the regulars I work out with said to me after we finished a metcon, “I just need to work on my endurance, you are all so much faster than me.” My response to her was to think about where she was when she started CrossFit a few months ago, and compare what she had just finished to her former self. She admitted that when she started she could barely run 400 meters, and now she does that in a warmup without even thinking about it. As we talked about keeping things in perspective and comparing today, to your previous self, whether it be a day, a week, a year, or a decade ago, that her frustration visibly turned into pride.
Sure, comparing ourselves to one another is great, and it is probably inevitable too, but it should only be done in order to push yourself. The only real comparison you should make is with yourself. So the next time you get frustrated because you can’t connect double unders, or you can’t do more than a couple handstand push ups at a time, or you are the last person completing the WOD, put it in perspective. Think about where you’re at now compared to the last time you did that WOD or what you were able to do a few months ago. Keep things in perspective and be proud of what you can do.