The “Sacrifice” of competitive CrossFit

Written by Alex Rees


I should mention this is completely subjective and of my own thinking, but influenced by many. This will probably come up more often than not, nearly every time I have a conversation to almost anyone about training, for example most recently a colleague at work asked me the following:

C: “How often do you train?”
Me: “Probably around 2, sometimes 3 hours a day, 6 days a week.”
C: “Really? Why?”
Me: “I enjoy competing and pushing myself.”
C: “You probably don’t drink either and watch what you eat.”
Me: “No not very much and you would be surprised, but I try and stay balanced.”
C: “I just couldn’t do it, I don’t have the time and I enjoy my food too much. Plus what’s the point, your body will probably be broken when you reach 40. It’s not worth the sacrifice.”
Me: “Right.”

I would like to point out that this guy was probably about 10-15kg over-weight, unfit, and has the range of movement of a concrete block. But I do reckon he could probably name the whole cast of The Walking Dead, knows the local Dominos pizza number off hand and could probably down a pint of lager in 2.5 seconds. All that at the merry age of 25. Impressive. But I don’t think it would be fair to judge or single out one individual on his personal life choices, as that’s none of my business.

So I put the following together, I should say that reading it back makes me believe it has come across as a rant, oh well, so be it.

True Sacrifice?

No doubt about it, to truly compete at the highest level or even a semi-good level in anything, it’s takes an incredible amount of hard work, dedication and resolve. The same is true for “competitive” CrossFit, to show up everyday and leave it all out there, on the gym floor, track or pool. Without question a full time commitment and endless pursuit. This is often with very little reward and only the mindfulness of personal accomplishment and achievement.

What I don’t believe is that anyone ambitious enough to do it or who wants to do it, should feel like they are scarifying anything. If you felt that you were sacrificing so much, then inevitably you’re going to fail. Why? Because it should be your passion, not a job and naturally it’s a choice. But it does baffle me when I hear a Competitive athlete, complaining about sacrifice. Likewise, non training folk describing those such athletes as “having no life”.

People seem to conform to the thinking that, not drinking alcohol, eating clean and training 2-6 hours a day is barbaric. I mean how can that be good for you? Because for some reason by living a life like that, somehow doesn’t fit with the “normal” of eating junk food, binge drinking at least once a week and watching TV for 4-6 hours every evening. Well, apparently you’re a lunatic, because you wake up early to train, refuse alcohol at a works social and play board games on a Saturday night with your training buddies. Personally, I don’t feel that I’m missing out or sacrificing anything. I am fit, healthy and enjoy what I’m doing. I enjoy striving for new limits, I enjoy the pursuit and challenges it brings and I enjoy meeting, training and chilling with like minded people. For me, Sacrifice is working your ass off for 12-15 hours a day in a job you hate to make someone else wealthy, sacrifice is leaving your families and loved ones to fight in armed conflict for someone else’s disagreement, sacrifice is giving up all your personal wants and needs for the welfare and caring of other people. It might just be me, but that is what I class as true sacrifice.

In reality, it’s only training, and if we’re good enough, training and making a living or more importantly, making a difference. That’s not sacrifice, in my opinion that’s a pretty sweet deal. To be invested into something you love and brings you a great deal of happiness and pleasure. All the while inspiring and motivating like minded people. No doubt delivering a huge about of personal pride, purpose and meaning to your life along the way. Umm, where do I sign up?

By the way I am not naive, I’m 100% sure there will come a time when it’s no longer fun and the passion may have burned out. That’ll be the time you may have to take a step back, re-evaluate and find balance on whats important.

Obviously you can think and believe what you like, but in reality you’re not sacrificing shit. So go, train, compete if you can, but most importantly, enjoy it! Don’t be a CrossFit training sacrificing bitch. To the training pessimist, naysayers and haters, let me ask you this; is what you’re doing really so great?

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