Making it Count

Winning is great if you’re that way inclined. It gives your ego a little stoke. And in the land of CrossFit, a PB for a time or rep-based WOD can definitely be taken as a win just as much as lifting heavy things. Good job. Gains made. Forge ahead.

Some of us also like to have ‘friendly’ competition with our mates during classes. Also great – it’s a lot of fun and bragging rights are yours if you come out on top.

Just one thing to make sure of – stay true to your current level of standards and complete the WOD as prescribed by your coach. So if you’re claiming RX for a WOD, do your utmost to ensure RX standard for Every. Single. Rep. If you’re scaling with partial range of movement, then bust your ass to hit that range for Every. Single. Rep.

If you finish a WOD knowing you could have squatted deeper in some of your thrusters, for example, yet you still counted them – is your score correct? Or say you finish Fight Gone Bad with a rep added here and there and you still claim your score as legit – is your score correct? You will not have a true score and any claim of success is false. Jack Shit really. Fair enough, you may really want that PB or you are so close to beating your mate that you want to make sure it’ll happen. But has it really happened?

Is it really a win or a PB if you KNOW you deliberately cheated?

Because that’s basically what it is. A deliberate action to alter your score. There are a few ways that athletes do this in a CrossFit WOD….

  • Shaving Reps

If a WOD says 21-15-9, that’s what you do. It’s not 21-13-8. Now, truthfully, some of us are so gassed during a WOD that we can’t get enough oxygen to the right side of our cerebrum – that’s the counting side of our brain! – and as a result we occasionally end up miscounting. This is not cheating. It’s an honest mistake and when it happens, we usually admit we lost count somewhere in there at the end of the WOD.

But when you KNOW what you’re doing by only grinding out 8 pushups instead of 9, or running 180m instead of 200m, that’s when you will be labelled with the ‘C’ word. (Cheat – that’s the ‘C’ word we’re referring to here!)

  • Incorrect Time

Say you finish the WOD in 8.53 but you notice that ‘Baz’ in an earlier class recorded a time of 8.51. So you think to yourself ‘Ah, it’s only a few seconds’ and you record your time as 8.50. Boom Baz! I finally beat ya! Sad thing is – you didn’t beat Baz at all. You actually got beat twice…once by Baz and then by yourself. Stick to the clock. It’s there for a reason.

  • Adding Reps

Count with me ‘1,2,3,4,5…’, not ‘1,2, miss a few, 17,19,20…’ Adding reps can be one of the easiest mistakes to make during a WOD. It’s hard enough to keep track of your next movement in a tabata sequence, let alone remember how many reps you’ve achieved. Write it down. Use tally marks. A number clicker. A counter for every 10 reps. Don’t just estimate you’ve done 23 reps. Chances are it’s only 22 and you’ve given yourself extra credit. Then there’s those who deliberately add reps on to their score. This rockets you to the leaderboard of the cheater category. It’s not a cool place to hang out.

  • Compromising Technique

This is a big one in many CrossFit boxes around the world. Sure, you’ve completed all the prescribed reps and been honest about your times. But were you honest about your technique? Did your wallball shots hit depth and target for every rep? if not, did you repeat the reps which you failed? What about your air squats? You know that you pumped 50 out in record time. But did you hit the depth you know you’re capable of?

In truth, movement standards are easily lowered when pushing through a WOD. The more fatigued you become, the more likely you are to count that dodgy pullup as a rep. You know, the one where your chin is at the same height as your eyebrows. And again, you may think you’ve hit prescribed depth for your thrusters as as you tire. It feels just as deep and painful, but fatigue has set in. Your coach will tell you to get deeper so you know the feeling of depth under fatigue.

Training with lack of discipline in regards to movement standards is also heading down the path towards injury. Performing movements with poor technique is quite often how this happens – and then it’s no PB for you until you have recovered from injury.

In your haste to finish the WOD or beat your mate you sometimes compromise technique. Don’t let it become a habit. Bro reps aren’t acceptable. Be disciplined. Hit the movement standard that has been set for you. Every. Single. Time.

Yes, the WOD may suck. You may be falling behind, your mate is kicking on ahead, or that PB has become a distant memory. You just want it to be over. We get that.

But cheating?

Who are you really cheating?


Don’t treat yourself that way. Cheating is a bad habit to get into. It’s lazy. And it’s really not fair to the rest of your CrossFit community. Alter your WOD result and you can be 100% sure that it will be noticed by someone. You may think you’re getting away with it or that it doesn’t matter because it’s just a workout and you’ve still got some benefit from it anyway.


It may feel discreet to you, but trust us, it isn’t. Cheating during a WOD shows about as much discretion as Cameron Bancroft with some yellow sandpaper and a cricket ball. There are eyes everywhere. Your coaches will notice. Fellow members will notice. And when they do – their opinion of you as an athlete – and maybe even a person – will diminish.

While you may still gain physical benefits from working out dishonestly, you will not gain friends. It is not fair to the majority of your community who are honest during each WOD. They work hard to maintain technique and count correctly. It’s something they’re proud of and it gives them great satisfaction and mental strength. This is where you are cheating yourself. Treat yourself and your results with honesty. Place integrity over all else and work your butt off. We can guarantee you will gain far more admiration that way.

If you are someone who knows they may cheat in some way during a WOD, make it a goal to change your behaviour. It’s easy to drop a rep, or go sloppy on technique. Don’t take the cop out. Forget the scoresheet. Don’t rip yourself off. Maybe you can create a ‘post-cheating’ PB chart. The real deal. This one will give you much greater satisfaction if you do it right. Then you will know you’ve earned the right to enter a score that you’re proud to brag about!

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