It was an amazing experience to be behind the scenes at The CrossFit Games, working alongside elite athletes and other coaches.

Watching the excitement of Day 1, slowly morph into the determined grind of Day 3 and 4 was interesting.

What drives these people to push so hard?  To sacrifice so much?

The winners check of $285 000 is amazing, however there is only one of those, 3rd place gets $70k, and it drops away even more drastically after that.  And, although it is improving,  most sponsorships are still for product rather than cash.

So it can't be about the money.


Let's be honest, for all but the very top tier, the only celebrity status to be found is at the Games themselves once a year, waving to the stadium crowd.

So there's got to be something more to it.  Surely they can't make it through all those tough training sessions, without something deeper to drive them.

For many of them, it's a pure love of the sport, or an innate need to compete.  To see what they are truly capable of.

Military and first responders must be in peak physical condition to perform their jobs well.

Theirs and others lives depend on it.

It's way too easy to find the why behind their drive to work hard in the gym.

So how about us regular people?

Remember Coach Glassmans statement, "Our understanding is that the needs of athletes and our grandparents differ by degree, not kind.  One needs functional competence to stay out of the nursing home. The other one wants functional dominance to win medals."

Thus, from a relative standpoint, CrossFit is just as hard for us as it is for the elite.

As opposed to money and fame, I would suggest that the comparably empty pursuits for us, would be body composition and ego.

Body composition is an important part of health, but chasing aesthetics at the exclusion of health is a common mistake.

Training for ego, is very common in gyms, and the age of social media has ignited this in to a raging inferno of 'look at me' as well as a never ending dissatisfaction and impatience with ones progress.  With the sport of CrossFit itself being so new, there was a period of people wanting to 'make it' to Regionals or compete at the Games in age-category divisions, that I feel is only just now starting to wane.

Which means we need something deeper.

If your only motivation for training, is to lose 5 kg of body fat, what happens if it takes longer than you expect to achieve that?  And what about if you DO achieve that?

If your only reason for coming to the gym 5 times per week is to try and get more weight on the bar, or do get more rounds than anyone else in there, what happens when you are the fittest in the gym?

How do we find a why that is motivating enough to keep training, when we're busy, tired, discouraged or just plain aware of the long journey?

Some ideas for you;

- the empowerment of feeling strong

- the knowledge that you are more resilient to deal with anything that life throws your way.

- the endorphin kick (mental health) from training

- the fun and enjoyment of learning new things

- the joy of seeing what your body is capable of doing

- the challenge of getting better at difficult things.

- the pursuit of mastery

- setting an example to friends, family, children

- being surrounded by positive, driven people

- the confidence gained from daily achievement

- the carryover of training and nutrition discipline to other areas of life

What's your why?

Talk to a coach, or another member about it sometime.

Darren Ellis