Integrity: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. You might be asking yourself, “but, what does integrity have to do with CrossFit and working out?” Integrity plays in to everything from being honest about your goals and your commitments, whether or not you’re doing your best every time you walk through the doors, being truthful about the score you put on the board, and how well you perform the movements (to the best of your ability) in a workout.
Integrity in movement is one of the first things to go when people start to get distracted by the need to prove something and have the best time or score for a workout. Lack of integrity looks like incomplete reps (half squats in wall-balls, not completing overhead extension in a thruster, chin not clearing the bar in a pull-up, etc.), and not using the proper form/muscle groups for a movement and defaulting to old (harmful) habits just to get through a workout faster. Not completing a movement properly and to the best of your ability might not seem like a big deal, but it is. It is an issue because, when one person intentionally throws quality, integrity, and honesty out the window, it then makes others feel as if that is an acceptable standard, and it is not. Whether you are a competitive CrossFit Games athlete, or someone that comes a few times a week just to move, the standard remains the same; every single person that shows up for a workout is to perform every movement in a way that will promote progress and longevity in the sport.

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again (and again), it’s not always about having the fastest time on the board. Show up and do your best. Getting a faster time than the next person using poor form and incomplete reps will not make you better. And, if you’re not going to be better tomorrow due to the work you put in today, what’s the point? It is almost always better to complete a workout slower, with less weight, or less reps (depending on the scaling options), than it is to fly through a workout at an RX weight with zero integrity in your movement.

Also, people notice lack of integrity, more than they notice your “winning time” on the board. When people notice that you’re not completing reps, or flying through a workout with crappy form, they won’t even take notice of your score regardless of what it is, because you lost validity. You didn’t start coming to CrossFit to be at the “top of the leaderboard,” so don’t get carried away with needing to have that momentary self-pat-on-the-back. Be more concerned with doing your best than looking “better” than anyone else.

The best way to uphold the integrity in your movement, is to be honest and coachable. There are certain things that you know you could improve on, anything else you can ask a coach about. Just listening to a coach’s recommendations isn’t enough though, you must consistently put things in to practice in order to make them stick. Listen to your coaches, they’re in this to HELP you. Let them. Ask questions if you’re unsure as to whether you’re doing something correctly. It’s better to ask, receive an answer, and make adjustments, rather than continuing on in a state of ignorance is bliss. Do yourself that favor; you’ll be glad you did when you’re stronger down the road.

Lastly, remember why you show up to the gym. There are a million things in life you could be the best at, but it’s not always about being the best. It’s about DOING your best, to be YOUR best. If you do CrossFit just to be better than other people, you will quickly find yourself injured and probably confused. Instead, remember what it does for you and why you started. Move with purpose. See progress. Keep going.