Do You Remember Your First Time?
Doing a competition, I mean? For many people, the CrossFit journey begins as an exercise program. But the community of CrossFit also offers the ability to compete…at just about any level.
When CrossFit HQ introduced the Open, they introduced the idea of CrossFit competition to the entire community of athletes of every age and ability. While most of us will never fully realize an opportunity to advance any further than the Open, it is a fun way to engage in the community. It is often marked with many accomplishments that “regular” athletes would not have thought possible.
In addition to the official CrossFit Games, many affiliates or organizations around the world host various CrossFit-style competitions. These provide an opportunity for athletes to compete against one another at a more local or regional level. There are prizes, bragging rights, increased exposure and boundless opportunities that come from the competitive circuit.
I recently attended a different kind of competition hosted by my affiliate, CrossFit Williamsburg, called “Do You Remember Your First Time?” This was a competition designed exclusively for athletes who had never competed before.
There were 39 teams of two for this first-time event. The competition included three WODs, with a final WOD for the top five teams in each category (male, female, coed). Participants had a range of experience with CrossFit, from those very new to the sport to athletes with years of experience who had (for whatever reason) never entered a competition before. They were old and young, buff and less buff, and creative with their names. You know it’s going to be a good time when the team names are announced as “Abs Are Great, But Have You Ever Tried Donuts,” “Smith and Flexin’,” or “Flexy Beast.”
It was beautiful, inspiring and entertaining to see the kaleidoscope of CrossFit athletes who decided to take this leap together.
As you might expect for first-time competitors, anxiety ran high and – for some – impacted performance. Recognizing the lack of experience in these new competitors, the host affiliate had highly-qualified and experienced judges to help guide the athletes and keep them safe. As the day progressed, so too did the athletes’ ability to settle in and get to work.
What to Know For Your First Competition
The lessons learned by this group of new competitors apply to athletes at every level.
- Staying focused is not always easy. With large crowds, loud cheers and several teams surrounding you, competitors need extreme focus. This is a very different environment than performing a WOD in your box. Even with other athletes cheering you on, a competition like this takes that adrenaline to a new level and learning to handle that is a big part of being a competitor.
- Endurance is key. Most CrossFit athletes perform one WOD a day. Doing three or four workouts in one day is a lot more volume than most of us are used to. Competitors need to figure out how to perform their best while knowing that they will need more in the tank for workouts to follow. Hydration and nutrition play an important role in performance and longevity.
- Train for the unknown and unknowable. In this competition, the athletes knew the workouts in advance, but the final WOD was announced at the event. So the top five teams in each category learned their final workout in the moments before it was set to begin. Athletes need to be ready for whatever comes their way, be able to develop a game plan, and leave it all on the competition floor.
- Remember to have fun and enjoy the ride. Every athlete and spectator had a wonderful experience. This competition is just another example of how the CrossFit community brings out the best in its participants by pushing them to new lengths and supporting them along the way.
Whether watching the CrossFit Games or these first-timers, it is exciting to watch people take chances and accomplish great things. “Do You Remember Your First Time?” provided all the same nail-biting moments, heartache and triumphs that you’d expect from a Games event…minus the ESPN coverage. Who knows? Maybe these athletes will get there next year.