When asked for their opinion on the topic, a lot of people will say, “they are only cheating themselves”.. Right? Well it depends on how you look at it.....
Most people would say that there is only one form of cheating. The outright not completing the full amount of reps kind. But it goes further. Subtle cheating is more common, and is often something the athlete isn’t even aware of, and would quite often go unnoticed. This could include cheating the range of motion in a movement. For example, not going down to full depth in a squat, not getting the chin over the bar on pull ups, or not opening the hips entirely at the top of a box jump. Every now and again these things happen within the WOD, everyone gets tired, and of course nobody will really hold this against you. But if these shortened movements are your personal standard, and you could do better if you simply took a few seconds of rest rather than going as fast, you ARE cheating: YOURSELF.
The reason being, in continuously shortening your range of motion, you will likely see less significant strength gains, have difficulty increasing stamina or accuracy, and may even see negative results in performance and body structure. The point being, its not all about the time you post on the board or being the quickest person at the box with the most amount of reps. At the end of the day this all amounts to nothing if you have not completed the WOD to the standards or worse still, not completed the full amount of reps or rounds required. Your results are false. You should only be competing against yourself. Slow down, get the movements right. You will get better results with consistency in your training.
That covers the subtle “cheating”. But then you have some people who just seem to lack the ability to count. Where the 21-15-9 is more like 18-12-6. This involves the obvious and most blatant form of cheating; things like ‘shaving reps’ or ‘adding rounds’ in an AMRAP. Is writing a faster time or a higher score really worth losing out on the benefits of doing the workout properly and purposefully? The whiteboard that your name is sitting on top of, because you cheated, gets erased at the end of the day. No one will remember it tomorrow. But you will. Because you know, that you did not do what was required of you.
There is a difference between someone occasionally not getting their chin all the way over the bar despite their best efforts, and someone who just skips reps. It’s very true that, when you’re in the middle of a painful WOD, it can be hard sometimes to know if you’re aren’t all the way down in a squat, or all the way extended at the top of a press. But, if you know that you didn’t get your chin over that bar, repeat the rep. Plain and simple. Call on your own integrity. We all have the ability to inadvertently screw up our counting, we are pushing ourselves to the limit. No one is perfect. I'm the first to admit I can lose count when I'm pushing the limits of my training. If you get to the point in a WOD where you cannot remember where you were, go back to the last number you do remember. This will mean extra reps. But wouldn’t you rather know that you had definitely done what was required rather than falling short?
CrossFit is based on honour and respect. “Hero” WODS are there for a reason. Integrity and honour. Apply this to every WOD you do. No excuses.
If you feel the workout is going to be too much, talk to the Trainer about scaling down. Working out at your current level of ability isn’t viewed as ‘taking the easy way out’ or ‘doing less than’. You will be respected more for getting in and giving it your all for what you do attempt, than being caught out for what you miss.
The trainers are not there to count your reps. You are responsible for your own rep counts. Do what you need to do. Mark it on the floor, in your journals or on your foreheads. JUST GET IT RIGHT. By putting a false number on that board, you are disrespecting not only yourself, but your trainers, your fellow athletes and the sport. LEAVE YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR. There are no prizes for being first on the daily WOD board and never will be.