There are two ways our bodies adapt when it comes to fitness: neurological and organic. Neurological focuses on agility, balance, coordination and accuracy which gets better through practice. Organic focuses on endurance, stamina, strength and flexibility which gets better through training. Speed and power get better through both training and practice. Did you notice that I didn’t mention any of these components of fitness getting better through competition? That’s because there is very minimal adaptation that occurs during competition yet most people compete everyday in the gym.
Competition is fun. Competition can be motivating. Competition can be the reason you walk through the door. But know that if you are competing everyday you are not getting much better. You’ll experience a few PRs here and there but you won’t become the athlete you truly can be. If you compete everyday there is actually an adverse effect to your health and fitness. Basically it’s not good for you to compete everyday. Pay close attention the professional athletes in the NBA, NFL, MLB or the CrossFit top athletes. They don’t compete everyday and they don’t want to. They know that going full out 100% each day is not good for your physically and mentally. If you’re concerned about the whiteboard times each day or RX or how the person next to you is moving then you’re competing. It’s ok to compete from time to time and test yourself but what we need to focus on majority of the time is training and practice. That is where we really get better.
Practice is where we move with a controlled heart rate and we are really drilling in our movement. Think about working on your snatches or overhead squats with just a stick for 10 minutes. Think about working on your double unders during a EMOM and only doing 10-15 reps per minute but really focusing on your skill. This is what you would consider the “boring” stuff but where you as an athlete can make such HUGE gains. We have identified many of your goals and this is where many of you can reach your goals if you focus on practice.
Training is where we move with relative intensity and we are focused on what we are doing but more importantly how we are doing it. Think about GOAT day. In those 5 weeks how many of you developed a skill? I know of a lot of you who did by taking advantage of those 5 days. You were focused on your skill and moving with intensity. This is also where we should live majority of the times as we perform our MetCons. This is where you learn how to pace, breathe, regain yourself in a workout, move with load and test the skills you developed through practice.
There is nothing wrong with competition. If you want to compete 1-2 days a week, go for it. If you have the mindset that you’re a competitor, that is perfectly ok and I completely respect that. Just remember this, a competitor works on not having a wheelhouse. Meaning, they work on not having weaknesses and they do that through practice and training, not competing everyday.
Here is an article from CompTrain. I really love what they said about Katrin Davidsdottir (2x CrossFit Games Champion):
Here is a video of how Ben Bergeron schedules the practice and training for his competitive athletes. Notice how he builds it to where they only compete on competition days: