You are being watched!

Posted: April 23, 2013 by CrossFit Lewes in WOD

This post has been a long time coming.  As a matter of fact, I’ve been writing this blog post in my mind a couple years before After the WOD even existed.

The topic is cheating. It’s an ugly topic, really. No one likes to talk about cheating. It’s pretty much frowned upon in almost every aspect of life even though people do it every day. There’s all sorts of cheating, but the one we’ll focus on here is cheating on your WOD.

Which really is just cheating on yourself.

Now when you put it that way, it sounds incredibly stupid, no?  But stupidity still does not keep it from happening. Everyday. By multiple people.

Here’s something to ponder: Did you know that the trainers DO count your reps from time to time? I’m here to tell you the answer to that question is yes! They know what is going on. They know everybody’s performance levels. And if they suspect perhaps something is just a little out of whack, THEY WILL COUNT YOUR REPS IN A FUTURE WOD! You know what else? It doesn’t make them very happy. In most cases, they are not going to call you on it. Realistically, they don’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. And I do understand that, but still, I wish they would.

Now, that may seem petty to some. But it really isn’t. Here’s why…

Humans are competitive animals. And we measure ourselves against others. Sure, primarily we  should be looking at our own performance and measuring only against ourselves (at least that’s what the CrossFit Kool-aid drinkers say) – but we are only human. And after some time at the box, you start to hone in on those who are comparable when it comes to ability, time, rounds, etc. You may use these people – often times unknowingly to them – to pace yourself on a longer WOD.  Or you may use these people – again perhaps unknowingly – to push yourself beyond your comfort level. That is one of the great things about doing the WOD together! So what happens when the person you are pacing against cheats. What a WOD buzzkill! Cheating on a WOD kills the spirit of the CrossFit community.

Now, to clarify, we aren’t talking about the last pull up where the chin didn’t quite make it above the bar. Or the missed double under that really was only 49 reps and not 50. Or even that push press that was really a push jerk. Or even losing count from time to time. SH**  happens.

Let me give you an example of what a real WOD cheat might look like. I’ll use a recent WOD to demonstrate (not saying this was actually a real occurrence – cough cough).

8 Hang Cleans/12 Burpee Pull Ups/16 Sit ups/1 Rope Climb – 5X

First off, let me preface this by saying “I HATE BURPEE PULL UPS”. OK, that’s out of the way.

Now how about the person that hates them so much they only do 10 the first three rounds and 9 the next two? What does that add up to? 12 missed Burpee Pull Ups! AN ENTIRE ROUND!  When you do a WOD in this manner, it is easy to finish under or close to 15 minutes. That’s because you just skipped about 2 or 3 minutes of Burpee pull ups!


Look, we’ve all had days when we start a WOD and we may think  “Damn, this is harder today than normal. I should have taken a rest day!” Personally, I find those WODs are ones that I end up excelling at in the end. Many times half way through I realize how I just managed to fight and defeat my own evil, self-defeating inner voices and I am not only going complete this WOD – I’m gonna tear it up. That is probably one of the most gratifying experiences ever.

But cheating for me is NEVER an option. And it shouldn’t be for you either.

You are not only cheating yourself out of accurately measuring your performance in the future, but you cheat the essence of the CrossFit community. It’s better to go balls out and not finish a WOD then to cheat your way to a faster time or a few more reps or doing Rx.  After all, if you don’t do all the reps, it really isn’t Rx anymore, is it? I have really really tried to rap my head around it. The only reason I can think of for cheating is pride. Not wanting to look weak. Not wanting to be the last one to finish. If you’re a man, not wanting a woman to beat you. If you’re young, not letting the old dude kick your butt. It’s either pride or we have a whole lot of people who failed counting in kindergarten.

Pride and ego can be an ugly thing.

We are CrossFit Lewes.

Leave your ego at the door.

  1. Crossfit Worldwide says:

    I “Cheat” all the time, F@#% handstand push ups and double unders. I do something else instead. I want a t-shirt that says “Don’t pace yourself on this guy, He Cheats” I am proud to wear it. I work out for me not the rest of the room. I am often last and I just don’t care.

  2. LOL. That would be a funny a t-shirt. And what you described is not cheating! That’s modifying. That is totally different! If you can’t complete the movement as prescribed, modify or scale to what you can do – but don’t creatively count! There’s nothing wrong with that and should be encouraged!

  3. Kelly Steele says:

    Saw this post come across Facebook… I haven’t see you in awhile, but I’m coming back when this baby weans I swear! Just wanted to say that I love this post!

  4. Jim Mahoney says:

    I like to think I improve in technique stamina and strength as I move forward in this Crossfit journey of mine. However apparently this is not so at times as was demonstrated during this past Saturdays WOD. Yes it was one of those one step forward and two step back workouts, I dislike to own up to. We all make excuse and I have mine, poor diet, (three) 3 workout in a 24 hour period, bad attitude day etc. Hell the only way to get by in Corporate America is to lie, cheat and steal. Doesn’t the end justify the means i.e. Machiavelli . We all see it but either don’t admit it or look the other way and I’m glad to hear and see this is not part of the Crossfit culture. I struggled to the end of this WOD with the support and encouragement of my peers. Isn’t this what makes this culture so endearing and finally what keeps me coming back! Hell I still cheat at times, what ever gets me thought the day!

    “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

    Friedrich Nietzsche

  5. Hey Jim. I hear what you are saying. And struggling through the WOD to completion to me is such a sense of accomplishment no matter what B.S. you faced outside of the box that day. It can turn a day totally around.

    I also want to amend what I responded to the first comment above.

    After going to the WOD tonight, I have a much clearer head – compared to my state of mind when I responded initially. I’m not going to delete my first response – I own it. But after some thought I have a new response. It’s OK to modify WOD movements and scale. It is not OK to avoid a movement because you can’t do it or you don’t like it or you suck at it. Part of CrossFit is focusing on your weaknesses and overcoming them. I suck at HSPUs too. Along with OH Weighted Walking Lunges. For HSPUs, I had backed off doing them – back to using box after I tweaked my neck on a kipping HSPU. I avoided that wall for four months. But you know what, I am back up on that wall. Granted it is with 2 pads or sometimes 3, but I am back on that wall. And the days I do them I am usually dead last in the WOD. And that is OK. Cause I counted every one of those reps and I own every last one of them. No cheating involved. It may not have been pretty, but it was all mine.

  6. Kelly De Leon says:

    This is the best post yet D!!! Now, I just hope the right people are reading it!!!

  7. David says:

    Love this post. I’m usually last to finish but I take pride in doing EVERY damn rep

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