Lessons From Competing


I love a good competition. Even in our daily WODs we compete with ourselves or our gym doppelganger (I know you’ve all scoped yours out). Through all this competing, I’ve learned some valuable lessons that can be applied even outside the gym!

First, competition is a direct reflection of both the hard work you’ve put in, and the attitude you had during your training. If I walked up to a marathon starting line right now, I can guarantee that I would not feel proud of my finish. Why? Because I haven’t trained for it. We just finished up the Open, and people are probably sitting around either feeling good or bad that they beat their gym doppelganger. Either way, it comes down to the question—did you put in the time and effort in training to take a step forward each day? Recovery, eating, sleeping, accessory work, daily movement—they all play a role in getting better. You can control what work you put in and not what others are doing. So for the next Open, think about changing your goals from “I want to beat _____” to “I am going to do _____ in the gym to get better at _____ for this year.”

The second lesson is to just have fun! It’s so easy to take competition so seriously that it ruins your weekend/event. I love looking back on the 2017 Granite Games (where this picture was taken); specifically, a beastly 7-minute front squat workout we took on. I was faced with a weight I had never lifted to my shoulders before, so time for a PR, right? I failed my first attempt, and my second, and third, and over and over again, until 4 minutes had passed. I was so mad and embarrassed that other teams were done with the workout, and I was holding our team back because I couldn’t lift the bar. In that moment, Cat yelled “Nia, get out of your head right now!” Almost on cue, we took 15 seconds to dance, smile and relax—yes, in the middle of our Granite Games workout. The next lift I tried, went right up to my shoulders. I’m convinced that this is because I stopped putting pressure on myself to perform, relaxed a bit, and remembered that I was there for fun. You don’t need to dance in the middle of frustrating workouts, but it is helpful to step back, take a deep breath, and remember that competing should be fun!

So here are my takeaways for you. It’s ok to be competitive, but it’s not ok to let your competitiveness get in the way of you constantly moving forward and getting better. Relax!

Fitness is fun. Competition is fun. So if you’re taking it too seriously, bets are that you won’t perform your best. Be confident in the work you’ve put in and tag along for the ride!