For competitive functional fitness athletes, competition is a skill. It takes practice. An athlete competing in the sport of fitness needs more than just training. They need to play their sport. Here are seven reasons why.

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Episode Transcript:

For competitive functional fitness athletes, competition is a skill. It takes practice. Just like someone playing team sports needs more than training for ‘match fitness’, an athlete competing in the sport of fitness needs more than training. They need to play their sport.

Competing is a skill and an art. And these are the top reasons to compete more:

  1. Competition will teach you things you may not otherwise learn. There are lessons in a competition setting that just cant be learned in the comfort and familiarity of your usual training ground.
  2. Competition will expose your weaknesses. There’s no room for cherry picking and avoidance on the competition floor. It can be a great tool to bring a weakness to your attention, as long as after the competition you Respond, Don’t React, to Competition Failure.
  3. Competition pits you against your competitors. It can be a great test of you progress, the result of which will be the confirmation that you’re on the right track, or an indication you need to make some changes.
  4. Competition is a craft, a skill. It will allow you to hone your tapering plan, your pre- day plan (read What to do in the Days Before a Competition), your game-day nutrition, your pre- and post- event routines, your mental approach.
  5. Competition is stressful, and to get better at dealing with stress, you need to practice… dealing with stress! Undergoing these challenges builds willpower, resilience, grit and positive self talkwhich will serve you well when things go wrong in the future.
  6. Competition forces you to self-modulate your arousal levels, to fire yourself up when you need firing up, and to calm yourself down when you need calming down. The perceived enormity of the event can play havoc with an otherwise focused athlete, and putting yourself in a stressful environment can make you better at controlling your emotions. Read Bite Size Mental Skills Drills for Improving Performance.
  7. Competition is an opportunity to play the sport you train! It allows you to show everyone (and most importantly yourself) how hard you’ve been working. And playing sport is fun – if you let it be!

So don’t shy away from competition. It’s an opportunity to grow as an athlete – and the benefits are much more than the sum of its parts.

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