Have you ever wanted to be the greatest in the world at something? Or maybe just represent your country? Even if you don’t have these aspirations, surely you want to be good at something! And have you ever seen something and thought to yourself, “I could to that!”, only to find out it is a lot more work than you realised.
Over the weekend I was at the New Zealand Nationals CrossFit competition, one of the highest level competitions in the country where the best Scaled, Intermediate, Masters, and Rx athletes qualify to take part in the 2 day, 9 event competition. The top 32 in each division were challenged with cardio, gymnastics, and weightlifting movements to eventually find the most well rounded CrossFit athletes in the country. While watching these amazing athletes I had two thoughts; the first was that it was all so inspiring to watch and the people who were really good made it look so easy. But I also have been on the other side, I know what it takes to win at this level of competition so couldn’t help thinking about just how much sacrifice goes into being the best.
I have no doubt in my mind there are people watching events like this and thinking, “I can do that” or “If I just trained a little bit more I could be at the top”. But ask yourself, is that really true? and if so, why haven’t you done it already? There were people competing in the intermediate division that had been doing CrossFit for 6 years and others that owned a CrossFit box. Yet they still hadn’t gathered enough skill, strength, or mental toughness to win the competition or to step up to Rx. I also saw people who I have competed against in the past few years who hadn’t seemed to kick on or make significant improvements since last year (or even worse, they had gone backwards).
Understand that the level of competition is always improving, but I also see people every day improving and chipping away at their goals. You can’t tell me some of the fittest athletes in the country are resting on their laurels! Or maybe they are, maybe they took some time off to travel, maybe they started a family, maybe they have a busy job that earns good money, or maybe they went out and partied a little too much. Whatever it was, I’m sure they had a good excuse. But does that really make it okay? I mean, if I’m going to a competition I am going there to try to win. I actually declined my invitation because after Regionals I had to put my health first and back off from training. In my mind, I hadn’t made the necessary sacrifices.
How then do people have the audacity to say they want to win Nationals, go to Regionals, or make the Games without putting in the hard work or making the sacrifices? Here’s a quick list of things I feel I’ve had to sacrifice in order to get to where I am at in CrossFit:
- Going out to parties,
- Going out to dinners,
- Going out,
- A comfortable, well-paying, 9-5 job,
- Spending money on holidays and “toys”,
- Using spare time to watch Netflix,
- Giving a fuck what people think about my goals.
This isn’t to say that everyone should give those things up too. It’s just a few things I decided weren’t necessary and were getting in the way of what I wanted to achieve. There are surely other things too which I don’t even see as sacrifices, they’re just part of the process. And if you’re happy with where you are at then ignore everything I am saying but if you want to do better or even complain about where you are at then please stop making excuses and instead make sacrifices.
The point is, to be really good you need to sacrifice a lot. And the better you want to be the more you have to sacrifice. Every excuse that stops you from training is actually just your way of coping with the fact that you’re not willing to make that sacrifice. When it means earning money for your family and spending time with your wife and kids then it’s totally understandable but you have to admit that you’ll never be as good as someone else who can make those sacrifices and prioritises training. I would personally love to have kids and be home in the evenings hanging out with them but I have a very specific goal and so if I want the flexibility to train when I do I have to find (or create) a job that allows me that flexibility and postpone any plans of starting a family. The day I find out I will be a father will be the day I stop competing. No question.