About one week ago, several of us coaches and members from CFDP attended the CrossFit Games in Madison. The top 40 fittest men and women, top 20 fittest affiliate teams, teens as young as 14, and the fittest Masters athletes from all around the world, came to compete for the title of “Fittest on Earth.”

While many of us can hardly wrap our head around the level of athleticism and mental toughness that these athletes have trained for all year, and for many years prior, it’s notable that they can teach us some valuable lessons. Here’s what some of your coaches took away from the CrossFit Games athletes last week:

Positivity takes you a long way. Many of these athletes have been through several grueling training sessions and aches and pains from this weekend alone, but as they pass by fans along the gate back to their competitor’s area, there are smiles across their faces. They crack jokes, they take pictures with fans, and the positivity shines through in their words and actions. Positivity is not only an admired characteristic, but it also keeps them afloat throughout stressful events like competition.

Everyone’s story is unique. We had the opportunity to meet some of these athletes–current Games athletes, previous Games athletes, and even those who are Games athletes but just missed it this year–and each one of them, though driven by the highs of competition and self-fulfilment, all have their own story. Some are parents, students, life-long athletes. Some have been in the Games for several years in a row, while others are new to the sport–all of them have a story to tell to answer “Why CrossFit?”, just like we do.

The diversity of the CrossFit community is incredible. Not only are athletes coming from all over the world to compete, but the diversity of athletes–from age, body type, experience–proves that anybody can do CrossFit. The sport of fitness is accepting of all athletes, even if you never even have dreams of competing at the elite level.

Games athletes are humans too. We aren’t the only ones that get frustrated during a missed lift, or get elated about a new personal record–these athletes are human too! Being up close in person with some of these athletes as they ran out of the gate during their 450m run allowed us to see that focus, yet also that pain, that we feel in our daily WODs. Seeing athletes take 1st place in one event and dead last in the next was the reality of them actually being human, despite their incredible athleticism. Another unforgettable moment was watching Staci Tovar shed tears after her almost decade-run of competing at the Games, thanking the crowd with her body language. Just like these athletes, many of our life experiences will have ties to our CrossFit experience.

The CrossFit Games comes around once a year, but can continue to inspire us throughout the year. Coach Rachelle states, “Watching the games athletes live was so exciting and it motivated me even more to be a better athlete and eventually make it ‘under the stadium lights.”

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