Friend or foe? Strengthening friendship through competition.

Updated: Mar 9, 2020

Competition. This is something so intrinsic in not only human nature but in nature as a whole which begs the question – why? For something to be so prolific it has to be beneficial in some way and when it comes to competition it is often said to bring out the best in a person.

The CrossFit community as a whole uses it for just that purpose – to catalyze each other to higher levels of endurance and fitness which provides the motivation to do be better. We see this in the CrossFit games as athletes push each other into the uncomfortable to come out on top but what happens when this competition is brought closer to home? Competing against your best gym buddy, partner or even coach might be more challenging then you thought.

Competition is centered around comparison. This is why Rich Froning can be called the Greatest of All Times because compared to his competitors he outperformed time and time again. However, comparison has been called the thief of all joy but we suggest that it can be used to identify poor form or weak points within ourselves to make us better. You can even use comparison as a source of motivation. Why not strike up a conversation the next time you’re in the gym with someone and find out what keeps bringing them back every day. This will likely give you another reason to put into your arsenal of gym motivation and you’ll make a friend in the process. The tipping point of this is to keep it healthy and friendly and avoid the mental health ramifications of unrealistic comparisons. As the saying goes, know your limits but we like to add so you know how to exceed them.

We’ve discussed the intrinsic properties of competition which we may face on a daily basis in the gym but what about the more extrinsic properties which we experience at competitions and events. For most of us we partake in CrossFit events or even just daily training in the CrossFit gym for the love and comradery of it. We’ve all experienced the supporters and coaches erupting to cheer someone on who’s struggling to get their last rep, or the exhausted hugs given by two athletes who have just raced to the finish line. This is what CrossFit is about and at Uhuru we encourage this and lead by example. Here are some tips we’ve found to help channel competition into a healthy tool and come out with closer friendships at the end of the day:

1. Play fair and be honest and true to yourself. If you know that you’ve given your all, played by the rules and have respected the event you’ll find be happy regardless of where you place in the event. This applies to in-house competitions and local events but even just training at the gym. When you’re in a group training session be courteous, learn from your fellow training members and support them in the way you’d like to be supported.

2. Be a team player. Do your best to help your fellow CrossFitters even if they are your competitors. If you are competing for the love of CrossFit you will naturally want everybody to enjoy the event as much as you do and by supporting and cheering your friends, family and competitors on you’ll help them to have the best time possible. Remember what got you started on your fitness journey and pass that passion on to your friends, family and competitors.

3. Set attainable goals. By setting your own personal goals you will focus on being the best version of yourself regardless of where you place in a competition. Together with this the support and encouragement experienced during a competition will likely push you to do even better than that. Even if you don’t succeed you’ll know you gave it your all and know what needs to be worked on in order to reach that goal.

4. Give high-fives and fist bumps. This may sound silly but by giving a high-five, fist bump or hug to your fellow gym members or competitors shows respect and fosters a healthy competitive environment. Additionally, you’ll grow your friendship circle and during those tough reps when you want to give up you’ll find these friends, family and competitors providing you with the encouragement needed to get through them.

We hope that our tips and suggestions have helped you to identify the good, the bad and the ugly of your competitive nature and how to balance it appropriately to be the best version of yourself. We look forward to seeing you at the next event where CrossFit Uhuru will get behind our members, friends, family and fellow competitors to ensure a fun, supportive and competitive environment.

Yours in Fitness

CrossFit Uhuru

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