The CrossFit Whiteboard: Friend or Foe?
It’s Really Just About Getting Your Mind Right
When CrossFitters are asked to tell about why they like CrossFit, mostly likely one of their top three answers will have something to do with the workout environment and the aspect of community. Within that community is an inanimate object that can play an influential role on the rest of the group: the whiteboard. We gather around it at the beginning of class to get our instructions and then again at the end of class to record our work. When looked at with the proper mindset, the whiteboard can be a friendly member of the CrossFit box. The proper mindset has to do with how workouts and time in the gym fit into personal fitness and health goals and the confidence to know that success is doing your best on any given day.
The whiteboard is an important tool for Dustin, whom writes our gym’s workouts, and for the rest of the coaching staff. Each workout is written with goals in mind…how many reps to complete, how quickly the work is finished, etc. By looking at the scores on the whiteboard, Dustin and the rest of the coaching staff are able to identify the (literal) strengths and weaknesses in the gym and can then work to re-teach or advance skills. The work needs to be accurately recorded to allow this to happen…a misrepresentation helps no one.
The whiteboard can be the source of healthy, gym rivalry. Whether it is individual or teams of athletes, gym rivalries can be a fun source of motivation and a positive element of the community. Healthy rivalries are based on trust and respect…that the work recorded was actually completed. This can quickly turn ugly, however, when athletes lose respect for each other and start to question the correct technique or the counting of others. Don’t let this happen. When others see that you’re working hard, performing the movements correctly, and doing your best, respect cannot be lost.
Marking a score on the whiteboard (and then taking it further and using a personal journal or in our gym’s case, Beyond the Whiteboard) can reinforce goals. Repeating workouts is one of the easiest ways to see this. Have I gotten faster? Can I do more reps? Can I lift heavier weights? Most of items that are recorded on the whiteboard are concrete, objective data. They, however, do not show the whole picture. We would need too large a space to also record whether or not you got a good night sleep, ate enough today, had a fight with your spouse, etc. All of these other factors play into workouts and ultimately achieving goals. The workout scores are just a small part of the bigger picture.
Loss of Focus
Athletes can lose focus of their own fitness goals when they concern themselves too much with comparing their scores with others on the whiteboard. “I should be able to lift as much as she does.” Maybe “she” has been doing CrossFit for four years; and, you’ve been doing it for six months. Don’t let other people’s scores and work dictate your decisions. That’s why it really helps to track your workouts and lifts. If you have any questions, talk to your coach. He/she has your best interest at heart and can help guide you regarding individual workouts and ultimately achieving your fitness goals. Working with a weight that is currently unmanageable for you, performing movements incorrectly, or claiming that you aren’t “able to count right” for the sake of a whiteboard score, slows your progress, could cause injury, and can damage your relationship with community.
The whiteboard is an inanimate member of our CrossFit community. Have a healthy relationship with it. It cannot tell whether or not you’re making progress…only you can truly know that. Compare yourself today to yourself yesterday. Take pride in yourself and in the work that you do each time you come into the gym. Work hard, but remember that not everything is a competition. Keep things in perspective and enjoy the time you spend working on you.