Practice. Training. Competition.

By: Coach Gannon

Practice, Training, Competition. If I asked you to explain the difference between these three words I am sure you could give me a pretty easy to understand breakdown. Practice = getting better at something/creating a skill. Training = working to become stronger, more fit through fitness/bettering yourself/working towards accomplishing a goal. Competition – trying to beat someone else.

If I then asked you how much time should be dedicating towards each of these three categories in a fitness program, I am sure most of you would agree that the majority of time should be spent practicing and training correct? Yes. It is super important to practice so that we establish proper movement, this is the ONLY way we get better at a skill, when the heart rate is low and the movement is controlled. It is also important to spend significant time training (with movements in which we have already mastered proper technique). This is where we dedicate time in being consistent with movement, challenge our threshold more (meaning heart rate and weight can increase). This is also where we see a lot of physiological adaptations (i.e. weight loss, strength gain, endurance gain, etc), all of which help get us closer to our goal, whatever it may be. Both practice and training are what create adaptations and promote growth.

Competition consists of using max loads at max intensity with the goal of beating someone else (not bettering yourself). Because the body is pushed to the max, it leaves the body in a depleted/broken down state. SAY WHAT? Isn’t this bad? If done all the time, absolutely yes. If done sparingly and in proper understanding, no not necessarily. Competition can be extremely fun but it is important to understand how it physically affects the body, when it is appropriate for us, and who it is appropriate for. Is this saying that you should never compare scores with another member/friend or have a friendly workout together? Of course not, that is one of the amazing parts of being in a group atmosphere. The concern is when the focus of the majority of your workouts turns from training and practice to merely just trying to beat other people around you. This can lead to compromising your form to get through the reps faster or adding on more weight even though the movement doesn’t feel strong or solid. Your number one focus throughout the majority of your workouts should to create a better functioning body, which will ultimately lead you to accomplishing your goals. This can only be done if your focus is on YOU and not others around you. Do you see the difference?

Now’s the time when I ask you how much time you think you spend practicing, training, or competing when you workout. When you walk into the gym and get ready for the workout, are you focused mostly on trying to beat the person next to you?…. or are you dialed into what your trying to accomplish to achieve your personal goals.  Are you taking time to practice a weak skill with light weight, controlled movement, and mental awareness?… or are you merely trying to get as many reps in as possible or use as much weight as possible even if it causes your form to go to shit. Really think about it…

This is why it is important to listen to your coaches, listen to the intent of the workout (what your coach is wanting from you), and put yourself in the correct state of mind before you start. What movements are appropriate for you to get the desired affect your coach is asking from the workout. What weight? What effort? How can you challenge yourself during this workout to create more awareness of your body, your limits, your abilities? How will this workout help you get to your desired goal?

I have listed a link below to a video interview of one of CrossFit’s most well-known and well-respected coaches, Ben Bergeron. This man coach’s elite CrossFit athletes who are trying to compete in the CrossFit Games, as well as regular everyday people who want to get a little healthier and stronger. He goes in depth on how to differentiate between training, competing, and practicing. Listen closely as he helps breakdown the stimulus, and adaptations gained from each of these given categories, and when it is appropriate to perform a given movement based on your skill level (which Coach Matt talked about two weeks ago regarding scaling). He gives the recommendation that the breakdown of your exercise program should be about 45% practice, 45% training, and a max of 10% competition. An example would be that if you came to the gym 20 times through out the month (5x/week) then 2 of those workouts should be in a competition mindset. Keep in mind that when he talks about training at “high intensity” and how that can lead to results, this is with the understanding that these individuals are dialed in to the 3 other pillars of their health (nutrition, sleep, and stress management) so that their intensity matches their recovery. Focus on the material covering mindset/purpose of the workout. Is your purpose to practice a skill, train to create strength/endurance/health, or to beat someone else? If you keep swaying towards the last answer, it’s time to redirect your mind and dial into YOU.

As always if you have any questions please reach out to any of your coaches…. Hope you enjoy and have a wonderful 4th of July!