The Crossfit Games requires a slew of skills and respective level of athleticism. Although important, these are not the most important aspects of a Crossfit Games competitor.
“Look in the mirror…that’s your competition.” ~Anonymous
The main objective of the annual Reebok CrossFit Games is to find the “fittest on Earth”. With a claim such as this, you can expect the test to find the fittest is extremely difficult. The CrossFit Games starts out with over 200,000 participants. These athletes will go through a series of 5 workouts over the course of 5 weeks, known as the OPEN. From here, athletes than qualify to compete in their respective REGIONAL.
There are 17 regions around the world each one only accepting the top 60 men and top 60 women from the OPEN. Depending on regional size and depth of field, no more than 3 men and 3 women qualify from each region for the GAMES. So by the time we reach July we have went from 200,000+, down to 48 men and 48 women.
What Do Athletes of the Crossfit Games Have in Common?
As an individual who has competed in 5 CrossFit Games and came out victorious in 2010, I know it comes down to an athlete’s mental game and willingness to work hard and suffer. Although this sport of fitness requires a slew of skills and respective level of athleticism, mental game and toughness are crucial.
The men and women who make it to the Games have this unknown measure of willingness to suffer and keep suffering before giving up in a workout. Learning to push through the pain and telling your body to “shut up” is not something that is just there, it must be practiced and developed.
I can think back to some of my own workouts where that burn and pain start to swell up inside. My brain starts telling me to “slow down, this pace is too fast” or “you can’t go any further”. The first few times this creeps into my head I slow down and stop.
But the more and more I get to this point in my training session, I start learning to combat the thoughts and start visualizing myself going faster, lifting more weight, going further. I believe that this mental visualization and positive reinforcement becomes easier and easier the more you do it.
The Mental Aspect of the Crossfit Games
I would be telling a lie if I said that the pain of pushing a workout doesn’t exist anymore. The pain is there, more prevalent then ever because the more strength and conditioning you get, the harder you push, and therefore the pain actually increases exponentially. But you learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Once I was able to grasp this concept and train like this every day, I became very eager to compete against others.
Day after day, I beat myself physically and mentally preparing for the time to step on the floor with others to test and find out who is the fittest. Now, the real fun of all the training gets to shine. You feel faster, the weights feel lighter, and heavy breathing does not seem to creep up as quickly.
The truth is, most of these top competitors do not need the person next to them to push it hard. Just as a racehorse with blinders on, focuses on the track ahead of them and does not worry about the surrounding field. A top CrossFit athlete trains in a way of similar tunnel vision. Putting all concentration on the next rep in front of them and the next obstacle to overcome. The surrounding noise and atmosphere ignites every drop of adrenaline and will power.
This is why we see amazing times, lifts, personal records and incredible performances all year round with CrossFit competitions. To sum things up, a top CrossFit competitor and champion has the strength, technique, coordination, athleticism, recovery, mobility and endurance but their mental clarity and determination to win is their most powerful possession.