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Sport Psychology for Elite Fitness : CrossFit Cheaters Anonymous

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 Guest Blog: Dawn Fletcher at www.fletcherfitness.com with Jenna Scott 


Integrity: adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.

CrossFit is a true test of personal integrity in action.  There are two types of athletes when observing integrity; those who have it and those who don’t. Yes, I believe that you fit in to one of two categories.  Remember, you can always change, but only by admitting your faults first.

    There will be CrossFitters who cut corners, go through the motions, and are okay with not fully completing a task.  There will be those that may lie 'just a little' and 'only some of the time'. Big cheating, small cheating, big lies, little lies, cutting some corners or just one, missing a lot of reps or a few reps…IT IS ALL THE SAME.

    This topic has been discussed many times throughout the CrossFit community (especially in relation to this years Regional competitions).  Often it is dismissed, and justified with the reasoning that those athletes are simply cheating themselves.  But as a sport that prides itself on an 'elite' mindset based on a consistency in principles and standards, this issue needs to be addressed and reflected upon. What type of athlete are you?  What type of athlete do you want to become? 



Type I Athletes fully commit to whatever the WOD is for them for that day, whether it is on-ramp, rx’d, rx’d+, foundations or a warm-up.

Type II “Athletes”  complain about a movement or two in a WOD, try to modify the on-ramp or tone-up/tone-down their WOD & quickly identify movements that ‘suck’ (we all know that they never stop sucking - so suck it up!).

Type I Athletes complete an extra couple of double-unders, pull-ups or wall balls when they have lost count or think they may have missed a couple of full reps.

Type II “Athletes” think that when they mess up at 48 double unders, it is ‘good enough’ and move to the next exercise before finishing the last few reps, or are okay with not getting their chin over the bar on the final rep of Fran.

Type I Athletes work up to the buzzer, even if it means they will only get 20 meters of the next 200 meter run because there is only 10 seconds left.

Type II “Athletes” finish the round they are currently on, and lie down with time remaining on the clock.

Type I Athletes ask their coach to closely judge them, give them pointers, and make necessary adjustments when given a ‘no-rep’ call for not getting full depth on a squat.

Type II “Athletes” roll their eyes at a coach for correctly judging them, scoring them, or giving pointers on how to get full reps. They try to ignore the coach, hide from the view of a coach and continue to ‘sneak’ through bad reps.


It is easy to cheat … we all get tired.  Someone is beating you, the class is waiting for you to finish, you are sick of doing burpees, your elbows got close enough to full extension, or you forgot what number you were on.

It takes a great deal of INTEGRITY to be a Type I Athlete. Period.  The reward may not be your name on the leaderboard.  However, an accomplishment based around humility, honesty and integrity are amongst those points of consistency in principles and standards that CrossFitters aim to adhere to and live by. 

Dawn's personal promise of integrity: I remember in 2005, when I did my first CrossFit WOD on my own with no one watching. I felt like I was going to die and I remember very distinctly how easy it would have been to cheat, stop or do a few less box jumps.  Right then and there, I had my first ‘ah ha’ moment about this sport. It was always going to be easy to cut the corners. I said a personal promise to myself right then & there, upon that realization.

“I will never cheat reps, cut corners or finish early…no matter how bad I may want to, I deserve better than that”.  

Remember - every second counts, every action has a consequence and passion is what will make it all worth it (from our mantra). 

Commit today to your coach, your workout buddies, your box, and - most importantly  - yourself!


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