Why You Shouldn't Suffer in WODs

There’s a belief in CrossFit that SUFFERING is the road to success.

I disagree.

Yes, I the ‘mindset master’, the ‘teacher or pushing harder’, disagree that suffering is the key to success.

In fact, I am diametrically opposed to seeking suffering.

Suffering leads to pain, both physical and emotional.

“Wait a minute,” I can here you saying “what about your book, Intensity Tolerance?”

“What about pushing people to their absolute limits in your seminars and teaching them to push even harder?”

 Discomfort or Suffering?  At My Recent Mindset Rx'd Seminar in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, photo taken by Gail Mahon

Discomfort or Suffering?

At My Recent Mindset Rx'd Seminar in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, photo taken by Gail Mahon

Whilst I disagree with seeking suffering, I am obsessed with embracing hardship and discomfort.

Yes, they sound similar, but there’s an important difference which is far more than semantics.

What do you think of when you think of ‘suffering’?

  • Hurt
  • Pain
  • Agony
  • Distress
  • Injury
  • Misery

Words which conjure up feelings of being victimised and leave you with no choice to submit.

I don’t know about you, but that’s not how I want to live or train.

When you think of “hardship” though, what do you associate?

  • Discomfort
  • Adversity
  • Trials
  • Tribulations

All words which show that what we’re going through is discomfort and that we can choose our response and therefore the outcome.

‘Pain’ and ‘suffering’ both suggest helplessness.

‘Hardship’ and ‘discomfort’ encourage thoughts of temporary difficulty over which we have the power to make a decision.

Whilst apparently small, the differing definitions are all important:

I know, and the best athletes in CrossFit know, that hardship is the by-product of hard work and the precursor of success.

Likewise, we know that pain and suffering are two things:

1.       The tools of inexperienced, naïve coaches seeking to establish authority (this was me once, so no hard feelings if this is you, in fact, take note!)

2.       A shortcut to performance plateaus and horrid relationship with your Inner Athlete where hate, resentment and fear live.

The language we use will either keep us stuck in the same old trap or unleash us in the direction of gains.

Tom FoxleyComment