Practice, train or compete?

How often do you compete with the person next to you?

I started this conversation with a group of members after class earlier this week.

One of the group pointed out that they had overheard another member say,

“Hey bro, there is no ‘Rx’ anymore, haha”


‘Rx’ is a term thrown around and often misunderstood within the CrossFit community. The symbol, or term was originally used by chemists and stands for prescription. Therefore, by completing a workout ‘Rx’ means you have completed it as prescribed. The misunderstanding is when a gym, coaches, trainers or the like sets what they consider an ‘Rx athlete’ someone who by their belief, and only theirs, is ‘Rx’. Unfortunately, this is incorrect. ‘Rx’ for a particular workout is deemed by whoever programs that particular workout, not necessarily ‘Rx’ for the next.

We always put the ‘Rx’ workout on the board. The only difference this time is that we had not stipulated the weight of the kettle-bell or the height of the box jump.

That same person made the comment,

“I think he’s right. We have spent so long trying to get to ‘Rx’ and now you take that away from us”.

This is the misunderstanding. I hadn’t removed what is prescribed. The difference in this case is that I had left it up to the individual to determine what they should do to better themselves, rather than compete against the person next to them. I had given them the opportunity to decide what would give them the desired stimulus within the set time domain.

I replied “Do you turn up to the gym every single day to compete? Or, is your goal to better yourself for your future? Do you truly believe you can reach your true physical potential by pushing your body to its limits every single day?”

Picture yourself doing a 100m sprint. You set on the blocks, eyes forward, heart pumping. You must win. The gun fires! You throw yourself out of the start line with one goal in mind, to move yourself as fast as you can to the finish line 100m meters away. You don’t hold anything back, and you are exhausted once it’s over.

That was day one.

Day two. This time with the same goal in mind. To give everything you have, to beat the person next to you at all costs. Run 10km.

Day three. Once again with the same goal in mind. To give everything you have, to beat the person next to you at all costs. Enter a weightlifting competition and max all of your lifts.

Day four…

Does it matter? You are smashed. Are you really going to be able to give it all? Do you truly believe you can sustain that kind of output? 

“Your body cannot sustain competing every single day of your life, it is not realistic”.

So, we Practice, we train and we compete.

How much depends on the individual and their goals.

We can practice everyday. Practicing is skill work, stretching, mobilizing, technique work, anything that you can do repeatedly and will benefit your ability to train and compete. Practicing is running a 100m section placing your foot on the ground the same way every single time. Or, completing small sets of butterfly pullups rotating at exactly the same speed each time, or at least aiming to.

You can train every day too. Training is 5 x 5 back squat, where you work a percentage of your max, training to get stronger. Improving your strength, bettering yourself as an individual. Training is also completing a workout in a class setting. But, your goal is not to bet the person next to you, rather it is to improve your capacity, or muscular endurance, or skills under fatigue. As soon as you do it ‘For time’ you are competing’.

Competing is excellent. But, it is a test. Remember, competing is when you push yourself to your limits, you give everything you have, and you leave nothing. Test yourself, but NOT all the time.

Create a better you each and everyday.

Always practice, always train, and sometimes compete.

Michael Gillum