It’s probably once a month that I’ll be at a school event or social engagement and will end up talking to someone who has done CrossFit – in the past.

“I really liked it, it was just too competitive.”

Is Competition Necessarily Bad?

Unfortunately, the competitive nature of CrossFit is often shed in a negative light; however, I believe the benefits of competition far outweigh the potential downsides. There are so many positive elements of a class structure with an underlying competitive component such as:

  • Driving us to learn at a faster rate and perform at a higher level.
  • Teaching us to bring our best effort.
  • Teaching us to cope when things do not go our way.
  • Teaching us to play by rules.
  • Helping us to learn to win and lose with grace. (Source)

Sure, competition can be good and bad, depending on the environment. Good competition drives individuals to push harder than they would on their own and raises the performance and dedication of all parties involved. Many of us experience this each day knowing that we worked way harder in group class than we would have doing a workout alone – that’s competition. Bad forms of competition and competitiveness can result when the only metric for evaluation is whether you won or lost, went fastest or slowest.

In our current society, there is a trend to believe that competitive environments may be too hard on people’s emotions and feelings. Especially in youth sports, there is a building movement among parents who feel that competition is bad and in turn aim to shield kids from the risk of disappointment and failure. CrossFit has its own representation of the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality through those who think leaderboards make people feel bad and add additional distinctions, such as Rx Plus, to dilute Rx and allow more people to check a box.

At Roots, we believe the positive elements of competition far outweigh the negatives and we work to be a process-oriented gym of athletes and coaches. Yes, we embrace the competitive side but we value moving well, scaling appropriately, supporting others, and working the absolute hardest you are able on the task at hand.

Embrace competition, both inside the gym and in life.