The average athlete is not just any person. They are an individual with their own unique set of physical attributes. Some have very little muscle mass while others possess huge amounts of it. Others may be tall or short, thin or overweight, muscular or skinny, young or old. However, all of them share one thing in common; they are human beings.
As humans, we tend to value our bodies differently depending on our age and gender. For example, men tend to value their muscles over other parts of their bodies such as their face and hairline. Women tend to value their appearance over everything else including how much muscle mass they have or don’t have.
When it comes to fitness enthusiasts, however, there is no right or wrong way to look at your body. You could be skinny and fit looking like a model, you could be big and ripped looking like an NFL football player or you could even be muscular but still appear frail due to being underweight. There really isn’t anything wrong with having a variety of different physiques.
If anything, it’s healthy because it means that you’re constantly changing up what works best for your needs.
Crossfitters, on the other hand, tend to focus on their flaws more than other types of athletes do. This is especially true when it comes to height and weight. Even though most of them are in great shape with a lot of muscle mass, they can still find ways to nitpick themselves.
A few common complaints are listed below.
“I’m too short to compete with all those tall guys in the Open. I’ll never be able to clean and jerk 225 pounds.”
“I’m overweight for my height. I really need to get my weight down so I can get a better placing.”
“The athletes in my box are all really big and muscular while I’m just average.”
“I can’t wait until the day when I’m finally bigger and stronger than everyone in my class. Then I’ll truly feel like an athlete instead of a scrawny kid.
While it’s perfectly fine to want to improve yourself and reach your goals, you can’t let yourself get caught up in the comparison game. You need to accept who you are right now and love yourself just the way you are. Any progress you make from this point on is just a bonus for all the hard work you’ve already done.
As for the CrossFit Open, it might be a good idea to focus on your strengths rather than your weaknesses. If you’re shorter than most of the other athletes, then use your explosiveness to help you on the more vertical movements such as the box jumps and the rope climbs. If you’re a little light, then focus on running faster and swimming longer distances to make up for it.
There are no rules against that.
Finally, if you find yourself comparing yourself to the “ideal CrossFitter” then you need to re-evaluate your goals. The people who are in the magazines and on the CrossFit website are some of the best in the world at what they do. There is a reason why they get all the publicity and that’s because only a few people can keep up with them.
Even if you trained your entire life to be like them, there is no guarantee that you would ever reach their level of success simply because not everyone was meant to be the “best”. It’s better to find a goal that is attainable for you and your abilities rather than wasting your time chasing a dream that will most likely never be achieved.
Having the right mindset will take you much further in this sport than having the biggest biceps or fastest mile time. So instead of comparing yourself to other people, compare yourself to how you were one year ago.
Are you stronger? Fitter? More knowledgeable?
There are so many ways to measure your own success rather than worrying about everyone else’s.
So the next time you catch yourself falling into the comparison trap, stop yourself and think about what your goals are. In most cases, that should get you out of your rut pretty quickly.
Until next time.
P.S. The Open is only two weeks away!
Are you ready?
Sources & references used in this article:
Social identity and athlete identity among CrossFit members: An exploratory study on the CrossFit Open by J Woolf, H Lawrence – Managing Sport and Leisure, 2017 – Taylor & Francis
Physiological differences between advanced CrossFit athletes, recreational CrossFit participants, and physically-active adults by GT Mangine, MT Stratton, CG Almeda, MD Roberts… – Plos one, 2020 – journals.plos.org
What keeps athletes in the gym? Goals, psychological needs, and motivation of CrossFit™ participants by BA Sibley, SM Bergman – International Journal of Sport and …, 2018 – Taylor & Francis
The World of CrossFit by P DiPrimio – 2020 – books.google.com
The Insider’s Guide to Tia-Clair Toomey’s CrossFit Diet–BarBend by TC Toomey, F Training – bestcann.com
CrossFit: Fitness cult or reinventive institution? by MC Dawson – International review for the sociology of sport, 2017 – journals.sagepub.com