Before I begin this piece, let me apologize for my lack of posts lately. It's been a bit hectic lately with the gym, programming for individual clients, my own training, and CNN coming into my office to film a bunch of bullshit. Regardless, I will do my best to post more frequently on a variety of topics. Today is something very important: Competition.

2010 Keystone State Games
Choi, Bill, Jenn, Dameon, Bin, Connor, Q, Nick, Ken

Personally, I think competition is vital for anyone looking to unlock his or her true athletic potential. And, of course, "competition" can be defined in many ways here:

You vs. The World
Admittedly, that sounds WAY too dramatic, but this refers to invididual competition, be it a CrossFit Sectional, an Olympic weightlifting meet, a marathon, a triathlon, etc. Whether being done for fun or with a deep desire to win, these competitions require a lot of focus and training. Sure, you could just sign up for a marathon with ever running, but that'd be pretty damn stupid. You'd be better off putting in the miles, monitoring volume, improving recovery, and running a solid time. This all, of course, hinges on whether or not you're comfortable running for an extended period of time.

You vs. A Friend
Similarly, this can be a friendly rivarly or a heated competition. Oftentimes, you'll find it beneficial to compete against your friends as it helps to provide motivation. Ash prefers to work out when Chris is around because they match up well. Lauren constantly asks what Cram's time was on the workout, so she can try to beat it. This extra bit of motivation can pay dividends in the long-run. There's no reason to just half-ass a workout.

You vs. You
This should be the most common for casual CrossFitters. Trying to best your own efforts should always be in the back of your mind. If you spend too much time focusing on everyone else's performance, yours will suffer. While aiming to stack up against other people helps, you can only control what you control. You only improve by putting in the work, setting personal records, getting enough sleep, eating well, and doing it all again.

And those are just three quick perspectives; there are countless others out i.e. You vs. The DMV, You vs. Scientology, or The World vs. Scott Pilgrim. Look through whichever lens you choose, but accept that competition is important to success.

Allison, Danielle, Chris, & Nick
taking 3rd at the 2010 BWI Hopper

Most importantly, having "something" to train for is crucial. This could be as simple as a 10lbs weight loss goal or as difficult as winning a gold medal at the Olympics. In either case, you're provided with something to train for, which drives you harder and makes your training more meaningful. This all reverts back to goal-setting and the like, so I just you get on that as well. Dan John once mentioned the quote from Don Quixote: "It's not the inn, it's the road." Sometimes the journey means more than the destination.

EGP winning bronze at the 2011 Baltimore Open

Even if you're not a competitive person, sprinkling a little into your life is well worth it. You remember Sai, right? Well, she's a lawyer working in a very cutthroat environment, so competition never appealed to her. After months of pestering, I may have finally convinced her to compete, if a friend's bachelorette party doesn't fuck everything up.

Sai - 37kg clean & jerk

I understand that actual events, games, or meets aren't for everyone. Hell, I never thought I'd wear a singlet and lift barbells in front of people, but now I love the shit out of it. And if it's not your cup of tea, that's fine too. I still recommend competing against yourself to insert some more motivation in your workouts. And for anyone sitting on the fence about signing up for an event, watch this...

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