We're Different– Together.

My First Fitness Competition

September 29 I competed at BattlefitWest, my first foray into fitness competition. Here’s my review.

Battlefit West was a Crossfit style competition, but it was unique in that if featured a bunch of head to head battles in the individual workouts. Winner of the workout advanced to the next round, just like a tournament. Competitors had to prequalify by completing 3 workouts at a Crossfit affiliate. This was iffy for me, since I don’t belong to a Crossfit gym. Thankfully the nice folks at UTC Crossfit in Corona kindly allowed me to complete the workouts at their gym.

I qualified near the bottom, but I still felt good since I was going in raw, and almost every other competitor was a regular Crossfitter. I also opted to compete in the intermediate division, which made qualification more of an accomplishment, I think. Unfortunately, qualifying at number 28 meant I had to face 14 in the first event. In spite of my month-long preparation for this event, I got smoked in the first round.

After completing the workout of 75 snatches at 85 pounds (seriously, who does 75 SNATCHES?? I barely learned the basics of the snatch a few months ago!), I turned to shake my opponents hand. I looked around the floor at the other 18 or so guys competing, and realized that almost all of them were still completing the workout! If I hadn’t had to battle Captain America in the first round, I would have beaten the majority of the guys in my heat!

I managed to salvage a bit of dignity by beating another guy in a consolation workout (1500 meter rowing race), and I walked away with a 50 dollar cash prize.

More Happy Moments from Battlefit West:

  • Lots of nice guys, contrary to the arrogance sometimes portrayed by Crossfit as a whole. AT one point, all the competitors in one heat gathered around the last finisher, cheering him on as he attempted to finish the workout.
  • I also ran into a few guys throughout the day whom I had randomly talked with, and they seemed genuinely interested in how I had performed. Two of them told me they hoped to see me soon.
  • I didn’t get any hate or mockery when I mentioned that I wasn’t a member of any Crossfit affiliate, but that I trained at LA Fitness.
  • I lost first round, but received go encouragement from other competitors, my judge, and the guy who beat me. I know what good sportsmanship looks like, and this was good sportsmanship all around.
  • The side wod, where I got a consolation victory and won fifty bucks!
  • My wife and sister there to cheer me on. I’m always dying for a chance to show off in front of my wife, and today I had an excuse.

The Main Problems:

  • I’m always dying for a chance to show off in front of my wife, AND I LOST IN THE FIRST ROUND!
  • The merchandise (according to Allison): While clever, it was a bit condescending and arrogant. One shirt had a picture of a girl on an elliptical. The shirt read: FAIL.
  • Lots of people walking around with tough-guy attitudes. The vibe is arrogant and condescending, but like I said, EVERY ACTUAL PERSON I have talked to had been encouraging, kind, and helpful.
  • The event was about 3 hours behind schedule, so I waited around for a while before I took my little butt-whooping.

Other than that, I had a good time preparing for and participating in this competition. I look forward to competing in the future.

Allison’s Take On It:

It was very interesting being in an arena full of “Richies” for lack of a better description. I’m not sure about you but I only know one person who enjoys reading about olympic weight lifting, practicing handstand push-ups and shopping for olympic rings on Amazon. But then there I was witnessing Richie amongst other like-minded fitness enthusiasts. It was like he had found his tribe. It was pretty neat to see him compete and although he lost his match he actually stacked up pretty well against most of the other guys on the floor.

I could have done without all the tribe-like behavior however. There was some serious feather head-dressing/ war painting action going on. Apparently in this tribe the voodoo doctor has been busy and the females wear what appear to be shrunken bike shorts (if bike shorts could shrink) with nary a volleyball match in sight. There were knee socks proclaiming that the wearer was in “beast mode” and every box was well represented with their own clever logos and slogans. I get the warm fuzzy feeling that one gets when they’ve found their tribe but I was disappointed that their t-shirts generally discouraged conventional methods of exercise such as walking on an elliptical. Ellipticals can be great for many reasons: inclement weather, working through injury, or limited time for working out.

So to Crossfit I say, “Can’t we all get along? Let’s share the exercise love. To quote Elle Woods, ‘Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.’ It shouldn’t make you stingy.”

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