Posts Tagged ‘Leaderboarding’

A lot of people claim to not be very competitive in the gym. Sometimes those same people register for the CrossFit Open and immediately turn into absolute psychopaths! What do I mean? Well, our sport created a verb that describes an action taken by thousands of humans all over the world for a 5 week period each year.

That word: Leaderboarding

What in the world is leaderboarding, you ask? It’s the absolute obsession with knowing the current rankings of an athlete/athletes throughout course of the Open. “Can you use it in a sentence, please?” Yes, I can. My company lost 40+ hours of productivity out of me over the last month because I spent almost all day every Monday leaderboarding by just hitting refresh on the my internet browser so I could watch my worldwide ranking drop by the second. Leaderboarding.

Why is this an obsession for so many of us? I think there’s a few reasons:

  1. It’s crazy to put into perspective just how many people play this little game we love called CrossFit. When over a quarter of a million people sign up to do the Open, and you know that likely doesn’t represent even close to a quarter of the people who CrossFit and just don’t sign up the event, it really makes us realize that this thing people called a fad nearly a decade ago, is still very much around. Being a part of that community is pretty cool.
  2. You’re just dying to know how you stack up in your state, your country, the world! Does it really mean anything to know that on workout 18.3 you were the 29,537th best person who registered for the Open? No. But it’s still really cool to know for some reason!
  3. Competing against your friends can be really fun! The CrossFit Open is the only competition I’ve found each year where you can go head to head with friends in your gym, and friends all over the world at the same time. I still haven’t found another at this scale that allows for real-time ranking and updating of results for so many fun events.
  4. This is my least favorite reason, but perhaps the most accurate explanation as to why a lot of people really leaderboard… to get justification that they are “better than” certain people, or be given fuel to add to the fire as to how they know other people aren’t as good as they claim to be. A score that’s better than yours gets posted by someone you beat day in and day out at your gym. An athlete you competed with last summer at a local event who couldn’t clean 225lbs, suddenly posts a new 1RM of 355lbs. You do a dry run of 1 round of the workout with no weight at all, and the score you see posted by another athlete is 2 minutes faster per round and they also used a heavy kettlebell. Did they cheat? They must have. Steroids? Yep, probably. A judge who counted every single one of their no-reps because it’s their best friend? You bet that’s what happened.

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It can be infuriating to work really hard to perform well during the Open, and then feel deflated because of reason “x, y, or z”. As the most intense few weeks of CrossFit for most of the world approaches, all I can do is ask you to take a breath and relax. Unfortunately, there will always be people who try to bend the rules for their own gain. There will always be athletes, gym owners, and judges who think that submitting a score that isn’t legitimate is alright for some reason. But here’s the thing to remember: There is literally nothing we can do to change them. 

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My advice for you is simple. Enjoy the Open. Check how you stack up against the rest of the world for five fun workouts. Hey, click refresh a few dozen times, I know I will. The only that I ask of you, is that you don’t obsess over your ranking. Don’t lose sleep because of another person’s results. And the most important message I hope you take to heart: Don’t ever associate your self-worth as a human being with how you rank in a fun exercise race competition. We’re all so much more than that.

Put on your blinders, get to work, and have some fun!

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One of the strangest phenomenons I’ve noticed about the CrossFit Games Open, is that the trend of wanting to “redo” workouts to improve one’s score exists with both beginners and CrossFit Games athletes alike. Today’s post is on the motivation behind the do-overs. WHY do people choose to put themselves through the same torture they just experienced, with only a few days (if that) between attempts?

***Before we dive in, let the record show I am 100% one of those people who typically retests!***

In my experience, athletes will typically retest the Open workouts for one of a few reasons:

  1. “On the Bubble”– These people find themselves right on the cusp of those who might qualify for Regionals. (Or at least they think they’re on the bubble…) It’s so crazy to think that over 5 the course of workouts ONE SINGLE REP could be the difference between making it, or not making it, to the next phase in this worldwide competition.
  2. Beat Friends– Here’s something that you might find hard to believe: CrossFitters are typically very competitive people! That means if you go head-to-head with your friend and they beat you by a few reps, you only have one option: Redo the workout, beat THEIR score by a few reps, and defend your family’s honor! Am I Right? Obviously.
  3. Type-A / Perfectionists– These folks “shouldn’t have set down the bar” with only 5 reps to go. They “could have rowed” just a little faster. That chalk break “wasn’t really necessary” at the end. We know, we know. We all feel that way. Just because you could have squeezed out a few more reps during round 4, though, doesn’t mean you need to do the workout again.
  4. Leader-boarders– A lot of times, these people don’t even know why they do workouts over! They’re not going to qualify for Regionals. They casually work out a few times per week to stay in shape and hang out with their friends. The Open is just a fun few weeks out of the year, then it’s back to normal. Yet for some reason, going from 2,528th in the Region to 2,194th in the Region on workout 3 makes them feel a lot better about themselves. Improving a mostly (completely?) irrelevant ranking usually isn’t worth putting your body through doing 200 deadlifts at 225lbs in 48 hours! Be smart. Train safe. Recover adequately. Repeat. As one of my friends used to say: Don’t Let Ego Be Your Amigo.

If you’re one (or more) of the people above,  I’m not here to judge you! I have done nearly every single Open workout (since the Open was a thing) more than once. Nearly every single one! From the list above, I’m a ‘Reason #3’ person.

For MOST of us, though, please remember: Your score on an Open workout doesn’t really matter!

I’m serious. That’s not meant to hurt your feelings. In fact, it’s meant to encourage you to NOT hurt yourself! CrossFit is hard. The Open workouts typically make us push even harder. That means that doubling or tripling down on the stress you’re putting your body through will take more out of you than if you just did them once. Decide if it’s really worth it to give it another go.

After all that, if you still decide to retest workouts each week, more power to you. The only thing I want you consider is: Why?

If the risk (of being too fatigued, getting hurt during your attempt, the frustration if you don’t do better) outweighs the reward (a few higher spots in your ranking and a higher score?), maybe sit it out. To truly perform at your best during the Open, it takes months of training and preparation. Retesting because your body just knows where the pain hits doesn’t necessarily mean you’re any more fit, either. These workouts were designed to be one-and-done. When it’s Game Day, you typically don’t get a second shot anyways!

Finally, let’s address the elephant in the room about “Reason #2” people. I know you love competing with “so-and-so” at the gym. Maybe they know it, and you push each other every day. Maybe you’ve never even met them, but you always see their times and scores on the whiteboard. And just maybe, they’re your “Gym Nemisis”… the person you HAVE to beat or it ruins your day. Our competitiveness in this fitness thing can quickly turn into something negative. Instead of wasting energy being mad that someone beat you, criticizing them and making up “excuses” as to why they beat you, maybe this is the year you can just be excited for everyone! Positive and encouraging energy in a gym is so contagious! Unfortunately, so are those people who sit in the corner scowling because someone beat their score. You know, at the end of the day, they might just actually be better at exercise racing than you are in those particular workouts. Guess what? It’s ok. Don’t lose sleep, or friends, over a stupid competition!

All that said, I’ll still likely redo some of them. So, there’s that.

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