What do you do when you have finally reached the top of the mountain you’ve been climbing? Do you settle for that victory or do you look for a higher mountain to climb? Something that I see in CrossFit gyms all over, is a mentality of wanting to be the best at their gym. While there is nothing inherently wrong with striving to be the best in your gym, there is a flaw in settling.
With fitness, it is a constant pursuit. We are never truly done and that’s a good thing. Often times I see athletes at gyms who fall into the “big fish, small pond” analogy. They have become content by simply having the best score of the day on the whiteboard that is exclusive to members at that gym. While this is an accomplishment in and of itself, the wrong mentality can lead an athlete to become comfortable with being atop the leaderboard at their gym. Becoming too comfortable with our micro-successes can lead us to plateau or even have a negative impact on our motivation for future progress.
The truth is is that there is always someone who is stronger than you, faster than you, or better than you at different skills. We need to find someone, or multiple people, that match that criteria. Why? We need someone to chase. We need someone who is going to push us to lift a little heavier, move a little faster, master that skill or whatever the case might be. If we can find someone to chase, we will ultimately elevate our own successes. I have been an avid CrossFitter for almost 7 years now and I have been chasing the same person. We both have things we are good at, but he has always been the more well-rounded athlete. I use that as motivation to push harder, lift heavier and get uncomfortable. As it stands, I am 0-6 against him in the CrossFit Open, but each year the gap between us closes a little bit.
Once you have found someone to chase, that doesn’t mean that you have forged some new cutthroat rivalry. This person is there to help you succeed as much as you are there to help them succeed. You need to celebrate their victories the same way you would your own. If they hit a personal best on a lift, you now have a new number to chase. This relationship becomes mutually beneficial for everyone involved. If you hit a new personal best, they know that you’re closing the gap and they will be motivated to elevate their own progress. The motivation goes both ways and success from either end only boosts performances as a whole.
The best programming, coaches or facilities are not enough to keep your progress moving forward. Fitness, hopefully, is a never ending journey; we should always strive to be better than we are now. Being content with being a big fish in a small pond limits how much we can succeed. Instead, broaden your scope and find someone who you can chase. Whether that is someone who pushes you to lift a little heavier, run a little faster or master a skill, we all need someone to chase. Make it a healthy competition and relish in their successes as you would if they were your own.