Never Fear The Whiteboard

THE WHITEBOARD never lies.

It is the silent hulking beast, motionless in the corner of the room urging you to step forward and record your performance.

Some CrossFit Boxes love the old-school flavour of an actual white or chalkboard while others prefer the use of web-based apps, but regardless of the format there is one undeniable truth.

The ‘whiteboard’ shows no fear or favour and it intimidates the CrossFit rookie and the seasoned veteran alike.

A healthy percentage of crossfitters world-wide avoid the whiteboard like a dose of the plague.

But it should not be feared or avoided – those pen strokes or keyboard strikes do not determine your success or failure compared to your fellow athletes. And they certainly do not determine your worth as an athlete in that moment of time.

The whiteboard should always be acknowledged, accepted, embraced even cherished.

If you’re in the Box you should record your performance.

Next to your heart and mind, it is one of the greatest weapons in your CrossFit arsenal, provided you wield it with passion and context.


How does the whiteboard have context? Well technically it doesn’t, it’s just numbers on a board after all.

You (and your thoughts) are the context. You are the difference maker.

Before you approach the whiteboard after that gruelling session pause for a moment.

Close your eyes and take three deep breathes. Now open your eyes.

How do you feel?

Forget about the immediate effects of the WOD – focus on how you truly feel.

Positive, negative or indifferent? Were you tired or sore before the session even started? Did you get a good night’s sleep? Was your focus purely on today’s session or were you thinking about the day ahead or the day that was?

There will be days when showing up is an achievement in itself and others when you dominant, it is important that you remember these moments and those feelings.

Now break the session down.

How did you feel during the skill/strength piece?

Was it a new skill or lift to master? Did you match your current PB with ease before failing at a new weight or variation? Did you smash out a new PB? Were you nervous or confident?

Image: Rose PT via Flickr.

Now turn your attention to the WOD.

Did you go fast out of the blocks and fade quickly or did you find a taxing but sustainable pace and finish strong? How did you scale? Why did you scale?

And finally ask yourself ‘did I give my all today? Did I give 100% of what I could today?’

Grab your journal (if you don’t have one get one) and write it all down – this is your context.

Now you can approach the whiteboard.

Narrow your vision, focus solely on your name, record your scores and jot down a few of those notes you recorded in your journal.

At first it (publicising your efforts) may prove to be a difficult adjustment to make but it will be extremely beneficial to you in the long run.

It’s all valuable information for you (and your coach) as you battle to achieve more and better yourself.

You can load up the bar until it’s bending and you can hit WOD after WOD as hard as you like but without the whiteboard you’re selling yourself short and ultimately sabotaging your efforts.

Only you need to be satisfied with your efforts but you need to clearly know and understand what you can achieve now before you can achieve more.

Constant variation is one of CrossFit’s foundation principals but so is the belief that you must test and re-test to truly discover what you are truly capable of.

Knowledge is power and without it you will be lost.

Knowledge will help you turn Handstand Pikes into Handstand Push-ups, it will help you overcome the mental barriers that stop you dead in your tracks when you load up the bar in search of a new PB, and it is the foundation from which you will build the best version of you.

Knowledge will make you fitter, faster, stronger.

The whiteboard is a beacon of stability and accountability, a steady rock to stand on when Crossfit drags you to your knees.

It is the one constant in a fitness regime that prides itself on its unpredictability and challenging nature.

The whiteboard never lies – the whiteboard is your friend.


Jason Gibbs

Jason has a passion for writing in all its forms.

His career as a journalist has bought him into contact with some unique, inspiring and powerful people and sharing their stories is a true joy for him. The career also brought him in contact with CrossFit. After winning a free 3-month trial at a new local CrossFit Box, Jason's first true sporting passion (soccer) soon made way for CrossFit.

While work got in the way of his soccer – Jason could more easily attend regular CrossFit sessions. He's been lifting barbells, swinging kettlebells and mastering all kinds of crazy awesome gymnastic moves for nearly three years now and he loves it. CrossFit has also brought him into contact with a new community - everyday people changing their lives through sweat and determination.

As a husband and father Jason loves to share these stories in the hope that they will inspire others to make a change.