Why Competitions Matter & What I learned at Last Month’s ProAm

I love competitions. Whether it’s crossfit, pickup basketball, races or any other human challenge where greatness is on display.

I like to battle against other people, to rally the combined force of everything inside you for the sole purpose of winning.

Are you studying other athletes?

It was Saturday, November 3, and I was competing in the First Annual District CrossFit ProAm; a charity event to raise money for victims of the recent shooting here in D.C.  What made today a little more special, was that four CrossFit Games athletes – Jenn Jones, Jordan Troyan, Gary Helmick and Gretchen Kittelberger – would be leading and competing with one of the four teams.

You’ve seen them on TV or in one of CrossFit HQ’s flashy WOD videos on YouTube and you think to yourself, how on Earth do these people lift and move like that?  Seeing it in person, completely blows that up 100 times.

Jenn Jones wrapping up the final event with a mini-fran.

After you’ve had a chance to pick your jaw up off the floor and study these athletes closely, that’s where the learning begins.  Each one of them has studied every movement their body makes with precision, relentlessly disciplining their body so each movement is perfectly in synch from start to finish – tired or not.  Studying athletes who are better than you should be a part of your training, regardless of your goals.

Your body is a stubborn student and until you tell it to move the right way over and over again, it’s not going to listen.  Sometimes you need to step back and watch people who are better than you to get it right.

Do you really know how fast and how hard you can move? Are you sure?

I bet most people haven’t actually pushed themselves to the true edge of their capacity.  I hadn’t until that day. It was the third event of four, and I saw that my team was behind, so when I grabbed that kettlebell and started to swing, I threw down 30 KB swings faster than I believed I could possibly do it.

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When we were dead last and the only team who hadn’t finished, and my partner couldn’t do anymore box jumps, I cycled 12 30″ box jumps in a row to take us home. I’ve never done that in my life, nor did I know I could, but I dialed in and completed what I didn’t think I could do and I was exhausted doing it.

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To watch greatness is an inspiring thing. 

If you’re a CrossFit Games athlete, let me just say this to you:  you guys inspire us, you show us your version of greatness, your focus and discipline is motivating, it’s hopeful and it’s daring and it makes me want to be better.

And sometimes, if you’re a little bit lucky like me, you’ll get some words of encouragement from someone better than you. Thanks Jenn!

With the 6th fittest woman in the world @jennjonescf. #dcfproam

A post shared by Justin LoFranco (@jaylowone) on

So these are a few of the reasons why I love CrossFit competitions so much.  Please share some of your reasons in the comments below.


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7 replies

  1. I never thought I was competitive until I started Crossfit 5 years ago! I am a 50 year old mother of twins (age 10) and I am never sure what will challenge me more every day – the WOD or motherhood! Both push me to limits I never knew I had, and although there isn’t a competition for being a great mom, being 50 and working next to elite athletes keeps me going! Thanks for the great story.

    • That is soooo cool to hear. I just love this line:

      being 50 and working next to elite athletes keeps me going!

      I hope I never stop being competitive, even when I have kids 🙂 I’m always encouraged by the older people in our classes. People who’ve been critical of CrossFit often point to super elite athletes as the typical crossfitters and I’m like, “no, working moms and dads are!”

  2. Thanks for an Awesome post about this. I too participated in the competition and agree with your sentiments! I was nervous going into this for several reasons, I have only been doing this for 5 months… I don’t want to let my team down… Look at what the Pro’s can do etc. etc. I came out even more inspired and like you pushed myself to a new level which in turn has helped me in my daily WODs!

    One of the biggest things I took away from this is what a Community Crossfit is, everyone is there to encourage one and other!

    • You were there?! That’s awesome. What team were you on? I haven’t noticed a dramatic difference in how I approach my day to day WODs but I have a better understanding of what I can actually accomplish. I think I might actually have seen my limit and I think that’s super important.


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