Or maybe it was a scheduled off day. Or maybe you honestly couldn’t make it. But it wasn’t a huge surprise that we had a near-record low attendance during a workout that included strict pull-ups and running.

If there was ever a workout to cherry-pick that would probably be the one.

And I know why you probably did it. You see a workout like that and all you see are things you can’t do or you’re not good at.

(Yet)

So you just skip it altogether and stay home that day. Or catch up on yard work you need to do. We’ll find any excuse to stay busy and not come to the gym.

We look at a workout that has running and strict pull-ups in it and all we see is a pass or fail scenario. And if we know we’re not good at those movements then all we see is an opportunity to fail. On the other side of that coin if we see a workout that includes movement that we like and or we know that we’re good at we’re happy to go to that class because we know it’s an opportunity to pass.

That sort of thinking will absolutely ruin your progress in health and fitness. You are doing yourself a grave disservice.

I’ll say it again, louder for the people in the back this time: you are doing yourself a grave disservice.

A workout that included strict pull-ups and running was actually a fantastic opportunity to practice. The workout had nothing to do with how fast you ran or how many pull-ups you did or even if you modified one or both pieces. Those who showed up saw the workout as an opportunity to grow did just that: GREW.

They lapped everyone who stayed away. And I’ll bet those folks will be the next to get that first pulling gymnastics movement.

And quite honestly that’s what EVERY workout is: an opportunity to grow.

Not an opportunity to pass or fail.

What do I mean by an “opportunity to grow”? I mean it’s how we view the workouts. Instead of looking at a workout from a competitive aspect and judging whether or not you will do well, or pass the test, you should look at each workout as an opportunity to grow as an athlete in any of the aspects of health and fitness

And the more challenging or uncomfortable the components of the workout the greater the opportunity to grow.

Those should be the workouts that you ensure you do not miss. You clear your calendar. You cancel any conflicting appointments. You get to that class early to get warmed up and ready to go. Because that is your greatest opportunity for the greatest growth.

If we only embrace the things that we’re already good at our opportunity for growth is very small and very incremental.

However if we embrace the things that we know we’re not good at, that we know we need to improve, or things that simply are not skills we have (yet), then you have found an opportunity to grow exponentially.

There’s a lot to love about CrossFit, the methodology, and the culture. But one aspect I do not like at all, and it is it’s competitive nature. It is true that a bit of competitiveness can push us outside of our comfort zones and push us to do more than we thought we were capable of. But more often than not a competitive attitude means poor movement patterns (for the sake of being fast or lifting more), shaving reps, scoreboarding, and cherry-picking workouts.

if you just want to win workouts then maybe you need to rethink why you’re doing this. On the other hand, if you want to get VERY fit, look good naked, ensure that you keep metabolic disease away, avoid the nursing home, and kick butt well into your 90s then you want to embrace the idea that every workout is an opportunity to grow.

So how do you do that? It’s simpler than you think. Next time you read the workout of that day and you immediately think “oh man, that’s going to suck,” snap yourself out of it and rephrase immediately.

Say out loud “This is going to be a great opportunity to grow!”

Notice I said to say it out loud. Even if you never audibly uttered a negative word about the workout, if it at all caused you to take a step back or think negatively then you need to smash that mindset by speaking out loud a more healthy and positive mindset.

I’ll go first.

Squat snatches and running? What a great opportunity for me to grow as an athlete and person. I can’t wait to attend that class.

Okay, your turn.