So you’re one of these so-called “crazies” who work out for fun—and darn proud of it—but you’re not convinced that competing is in the cards for you. Hey, maybe your goal isn’t to be standing atop a podium one day, and that’s 100% ok. There’s still so much to be gained from competing in a fitness competition, so don’t write off the possibility completely until you’ve checked out this list. We pulled together many (but not all) of the benefits of competition which may be overlooked for the obvious one, winning. Take a peek and you might find your fitness goals align with competing more than you realized.
Competing can drive you to acquire and perfect new skills
There’s no cherry picking on the competition floor. If you’ve been dodging double unders in daily WODs for the past year because of the whip marks that are so awkward to explain, you may be avoiding momentary pain, but you’re also undermining your progress. In the gym, you can be your own worst enemy, conveniently declaring today a rest day when your least favorite movements pop up (150 wall balls for time? No thanks, I’m good!). But you and I both know they’re weaknesses for a reason. In a perfect world, when we find something we suck at, we’d tackle that goat until we’ve mastered whatever lack of strength, mobility or skill it is that’s holding us back. But it’s not a perfect world, and human nature is to avoid that which is painful, or far worse yet, humbling. But, when you commit to a competition, you’ll find you’re much more driven to tackle those faults. Because honestly, what’s more terrifying than the thought of stepping onto the floor in front of a roaring crowd and not being able to snatch the prescribed weight for the WOD? Competition can motivate you to put in that extra time before or after the daily workout to dial in those missing pieces of your personal fitness puzzle. And, regardless of the outcome of the competition, you’ll be a better athlete for it.
Competing can hold you accountable
Maybe your biggest weaknesses don’t lie within the gym itself, but in the 96% of your time each day spent outside of it. Nutrition, hydration, recovery and sleep—all of these things often take a backseat to the demands or temptations of daily life. However, knowing you’re expected to perform to the best of your ability will do wonders for your bad habits. If you know you’ll be dragging at the 5 AM workout by staying up late to watch yet another re-run of your favorite show, suddenly bed and 8 hours of sleep look a lot more inviting than catching the episode you’ve seen 5 times already. And we know you know that you can’t out-train a bad diet. Yet often, that doesn’t seem to make it any easier to turn down dessert or that extra glass of wine. So what if you feel puffy and bloated and your legs are like lead tonight at the gym? It’s only a workout. Add in the looming reality of competition, and suddenly it’s not simply another workout and the stakes are a lot higher. And after the competition, when it’s all said and done? You’ll be leaner, healthier, and feeling amazing for having treated your body like a temple. And that just may drive you to stick with this new path and see where it takes you.
There’s a big difference between competition and daily workouts
And understanding that distinction will give you a better perspective on your overall fitness goals and training. Right now, those daily WODs may feel like you have to leave it all out there on the rubber no matter what. But, not every day is meant to be a go-for-broke, redlining kind of workout. And it shouldn’t be. A good training program will specify different goals for the intensity or purpose of a workout. Experiencing competition, a true leave-it-all-on-the-floor situation, can open your eyes to the importance and benefit of your daily training and its goal of building you up, not breaking you down. Which in turn will lead you to improved fitness overall, regardless of whether your long-term goal is to crush it in competition or simply to be able to play with your grandkids.
Competing will prove to yourself that you can do amazing things
Ever stare up at the whiteboard reading the daily workout and tell yourself, “I probably could Rx this one… but I’m gonna dial the weights back a bit to be safe”? Progress doesn’t happen inside our comfort zone, and there are far worse things than DNF’ing a workout (no, really, there are). How will you ever know what you can accomplish until you try? By constantly staying inside the confines of what you already know you can do, you’re selling yourself far short of your true potential. If you’re coasting at your gym right now and not truly pushing your limits, if it’s been months or more since you chalked up a PR—competition could be just the thing to revitalize your training and challenge you. Being faced with a competition WOD which may seem all but impossible, and then tackling it head-on and finding you can indeed do something you never thought you could—there’s nothing more exhilarating or empowering. And it will plant you solidly into the mindset that limits are meant to be surpassed and PRs are made to be broken.
Competing will inspire you
Not only can competition be empowering and open your eyes to your potential, but it can also profoundly inspire you. It’s practically impossible not to be inspired by the heart and sheer force of will witnessed during competition. And we’re not just looking at professional athletes. We’re talking about average joes and janes who are clearly giving their everything for themselves or their teams under the bright lights of the arena. And beyond being inspired by these amazing examples of the human spirit, consider that you may be the one inspiring others, sometimes even simply by stepping onto the floor and doing your very best.
We could go on, but our point is, there’s far more to be gained from competition than a place on a podium, a shiny trophy or even prize money. The time you invest in yourself and your training will pay dividends, and you may discover your abilities and potential stretch far beyond what you ever believed possible. If you have the fundamentals for competing (Not sure? Check out 5 Signs You’re Ready for Your First Fitness Competition), there’s so many reasons to step out under the lights.
The Granite Games is designed to provide a challenge for athletes of all fitness levels. You can choose to go it alone, or recruit your buddies and form a team. But no matter how you decide to enter the arena, you’ll be changed—for the better—by the experience.
The 2017 Granite Games Online Qualifier registration opened April 12th. Individual & Community Team Qualifier workouts kick off June 7th and wrap up June 26th, and the Teams of 3 Qualifier runs July 5th through July 17th.
Your Road to Minnesota starts today!