Life Lessons To Learn From The 2020 CrossFit Games Athletes

Wisdom from the superhumans themselves

From the 18th-25th of September, The Olympics of the CrossFit world took place, albeit in an unusual, Covid-19 restricted fashion.

This year, the top five male and female athletes competed at the CrossFit ranch in Aromas, California instead of the larger group of athletes who normally compete in an arena.

The Games took place over a weekend and was live-streamed on the CrossFit YouTube channel, for the world’s eyes to watch the events unfold. I spent more hours than I would like to calculate, watching the superhumans put their hard work to the test and compete for the title of World’s Fittest Man and Woman.

Here are Life Lessons that you can learn from the CrossFit Games Athletes of 2020:

1. Give everything you do 100% effort even if you don’t have to

The athletes began the competition by giving each event a 100% effort. As the games progressed, some athletes didn’t need to really give it as much force, such as Mat Fraser. He had already secured first place and could have easily tapered his efforts. Regardless of this, he gave each event the same amount of grit and determination.

This can teach us that just because you don’t have to give your all in tasks, doesn’t mean that you should. You don’t know how much you can do until you push yourself to your limits, so why stop early? Find out what you’re capable of.

2. Support your competitors

The respect and support that the competitors give each other are truly admirable. From what we can see, they ‘like’ and ‘comment’ on each other’s social media posts, socialize outside of training and cheer each other on at the finishing line of events. Not all athletes conduct themselves like this and it is so refreshing to see. It should remind us that supporting others who are doing similar things to us is beneficial for us and for them. There is enough space for everyone.

3. Challenges? No problem

Some athletes faced adversity this year, such as Katrin Davíðsdóttir injured her lower back and had to take time out of training before the Games. Despite this, she placed second overall and won the ‘Spirit of the Games’ award for her positivity. Katrin is truly superhuman and an extremely talented athlete, but still, it goes to show that setbacks don’t have to limit us, in Katrin’s case they inspired her to strive for more.

4. Adapt your plans

Something that we’ve all had to do in 2020, is get used to adapting plans. The CrossFit athletes did this with finesse, adapting their training to competing from their home gyms for the first round of the competition. They had to adapt during the Ranch Trail Run event, where there was a false ending. The athletes sprinted to ‘the finish line’ to find that it wasn’t the real finish line. They quickly adapted to this and started jogging back up the mountain to run their second lap of the course.

Life will throw us curveballs, and we can give in, or adapt and move with it.

5. Just because you’re new or inexperienced, it doesn’t mean that you can’t excel

Justin Medeiros proved to us that just because you’re new or inexperienced at something, it doesn’t mean that you can’t excel. This year was Justin Medeiros’ first CrossFit Games, and he placed third overall. Experience, confidence and strategy benefit the athletes massively, so for Justin to do so well with little experience and lots of expectation from spectators was impressive. It was Haley Adams second CrossFit Games as an individual, and she also performed well and was described as “the future of the games” by the commentators.

6. HWPO “Hard Work Pays Off”

Mat Fraser’s iconic slogan, ‘HWPO’. And it did. Mat and Tia-Clair Toomey yet again placed first at the CrossFit Games. They proved why they are unbeatable and often described as ‘the GOATs’. The other top-five male and female athletes also showed that Hard Work Pays Off, with many achieving PBs throughout the Games and excelling in disciplines. The athletes put in unfathomable hours training and make many sacrifices to get where they are, which begs the question, what work can you put in to get to where you want to be? Are you up to the challenge?


10 Easy Tips to Overcome Gymtimidation

Use these tips to avoid feelings of intimidation in the gym, for good

It’s easy to feel intimidated and incapable in the wild jungle that is the gym. Whether it’s the machines and equipment that gets you down or the people that surround you, ‘gymtimidation’ can stop you from progressing in the gym. More importantly, it can affect your happiness there.

Here are 10 tips that have helped me to overcome Gymtimidation once and for all.

1. Affirmations

A few months ago, I initiated a gym membership at a gym that I had never been in. Before my first session, I decided to write affirmations to help with my lack of confidence. I voiced the affirmations out loud before going to remind myself that I am able, even if I didn’t believe it. Confidence is the belief in oneself, so why not practice believing in yourself?

Prompts: I am strong

I deserve to be in the gym

I am capable of using the equipment

If I do not understand how to use something, I will be able to at some point

2. Have a Plan

It doesn’t have to be the plan that you stick with forever but write a plan. You can buy a tailored plan from a personal trainer or find information and plans online, which is what I do.

You may have to adapt your plans if people are using the machines or equipment that you would like to use, so prepare alternatives that you can do instead to work for the same muscle group.

3. Set small, attainable goals

I believe that setting small, attainable goals works, as each time you succeed in meeting your small goal, you will feel successful. The knock-on effect is that it then encourages you to strive for more. If you have a goal of running a 5k, set yourself a goal of running for 5 minutes, and the following week, add another 5 minutes. Slowly over time, it will add up, there’s no need for an “all or nothing” mindset, slow and steady wins the race.

4. Watch videos on form, equipment and machines

I have used YouTube as a tool to understand how to do certain exercises and use machines and equipment in the gym. You can search for ‘how to do a pistol squat’ for example and practice at home. You could even prop your phone on a table and film yourself doing the exercise and compare it with the tutorials.

5. Music

The perfect soundtrack to a workout can change your attitude completely. I like to change what genres I listen to on different days or for different activities. You can find playlists titled ‘music for running’, ‘music for boxing’ and ‘music for lifting’ on apps like Spotify.

6. Dress for success

Organise what you are going to wear the night before or at least mentally plan it. Wear something that is comfortable and that you feel good in. You will feel hold yourself higher and walk taller.

7. Incorporate a motivating warm-up

It’s important to warm up, and I like to spend the first 10–15 minutes of my workout to prepare for the exercises ahead. I like to walk on the treadmill and use the time to listen to motivational words or a song that excites me.

8. Watch inspiring videos prior to going

I like to watch CrossFit Games videos before going to the gym. Observing these exceptional and hard-working athletes inspires me and makes my upcoming workout seem like a walk in the park in comparison.

9. Speak to yourself as you would speak to a friend

Perspective is everything. When you’re struggling to resolve an issue in the gym, think about how you would help a friend the problem. Would you knock them down as you would to yourself? No. You would speak to them with kindness, support and with encouragement. As Marie Forleo says, “everything is figureoutable”.

10. Remember that everyone who enters the gym is on their own path, so don’t compare yourself!

You will share a space with a variety of people in the gym. Some will be training for a bodybuilding competition and some will be training to improve their mental health. Some will be there to help with their athletic performance or to lose weight or even to just get out of the house. Each person has different goals, so why compare yourself and your workout to someone who isn’t you?