The 2019 CanWest Games generated plenty of blog fodder because there is always something to learn from competition.   One of the more salient lessons was that the most expensive rep you ever perform is the “no rep”, the rep where you did all the work and got none of the credit.

In training no one notices.  In a full group class the coaches and other athletes might not notice if your wall ball is a hair below the target or your squat does not quite break parallel or your right elbow doesn’t fully extend overhead when you’re tired or your ears are hiding behind your arms in the overhead position.  After all, it was just that one rep.  But in competition, your judge will notice.  And they will not hesitate to penalize you for it.

If you are not used to holding yourself to the highest standard, when you’re rushed, when you’re fatigued, when you are under the pressure of competition, guess what happens?  You will revert to the sub-standard reps you permitted yourself in the gym.

Sure, it is more difficult and time consuming to execute each individual rep precisely and, it may cost you precious seconds in the WOD but, it will pay dividends when it counts because, under duress, you will revert to your training standard.  If excellence is your only acceptable standard, guess what happens in competition?

“Train hard, compete easy.” – Jerzy Gregorek

This goes beyond merely meeting the standards, it means preparing for any eventuality.  The wall ball may leak sand into your eyes.  The noon day sun may being beating down on the playing field.  You may be hungry, sleepy, wet or cold.  Get used to training in sub-optimal conditions and you will be prepared for any eventuality come game day.

You may have to warm up for your lifts with the 35lb women’s bar or compete using the men’s 45lb bar.  You may need to perform bar muscle ups from a high bar in a dead hang.  The takeaway is:  Don’t get comfortable in your training.  Get accustomed to adversity.  Challenge yourself to use unfamiliar stations, imperfect bar heights, your second favourite barbell.  It is not enough to be able to RX a skill, you need to own it so that you can confidently execute whatever the setting or situation.  Don’t be the decorative flower that wilts at the first hint of adversity, become the weed that flourishes in the poorest soil.

There are no short cuts to excellence, if there were we’d all be excellent.  Excellence is earned in the gym one perfectly-executed rep at a time.  Stop worrying about winning the WOD and start training for mastery!