Interview with a Cheater
by Sarah Stejskal
Q: Have you ever cheated on a workout?
A: Two and a half years ago I would have lied and told you “no”. I’m a much different athlete/person than I was then, so yes, I have cheated.
Q: Why did you cheat?
A: I would cheat whenever I felt pressure to do well on a certain workout or even to beat certain people. The scoreboard was the only thing I thought was important. I would never go into a workout with the intention of cheating. But, when things got hard or I felt like I was falling behind, that’s when i’d be more likely to cheat.
Q: How did you cheat?
A: Anywhere from shave a rep or two, not going full depth consciously on squats or not perform a movement to standard. I’d even give my self an extra rep or two on my score occasionally.
Q: Is there a difference between knowing you’re cheating and accidentally cheating?
A: Yes and no. I’ve gotten to points in workouts where I have gone so hard that I forget what round I’m on or whether I’m on rep 40 or 50. In my “cheating days” I would give myself the benefit of the doubt and always go with the higher rep or round I thought I might be on. The right thing to do, I believe, is to go back to the last number or round you last remember counting. That way there is no, “I forgot what rep I was on” bullshit excuse for shaving reps. Even if you end up re-doing a whole round, I think thats a lot more admirable than skipping a whole round because you “blacked out” and went so hard you “forgot”. But cheating is cheating, whether you are trying or not. It’s part of the challenge and integrity of CrossFit. You’re only cheating yourself by shaving reps or lying about your score. At the end of the day, no, it’s really not that important if you shaved two reps in a 500 rep workout. However, to the person that works his/her ass off to squat to full depth while pushing through every single rep, it DOES matter. It really is no one else’s responsibility but your own to count your reps and even no rep yourself during workouts.
Q: Do you count other people’s reps?
A: I don’t like to, but yeah, sometimes I find myself counting peoples reps while I’m coaching. Most of the time I don’t even have to count to know if people are cheating or not. A lot of the times, the person will look around to see if anyone is watching them. I know my athletes and their strength and weaknesses, so it’s pretty easy to tell. My responsibility as a coach is to make sure everyone is moving safely and properly and giving the motivation to add intensity when needed. My job isn’t to make sure every person in the gym is getting no-repped when they don’t hit the target or yell at them if they miss a rep.
Q: What do you do if you know someone is cheating?
A: I let them do it. Again, they’re only hurting themselves. They aren’t getting better. It’s really unfortunate when people cheat. It can destroy friendships and even split apart communities. I was there at one point in my life. I thought it was really cool to have awesome times and big numbers. But thats not what it’s about.
Q: Does cheating ever run through your mind still?
A: Absolutely. It is so easy to skip a rep or two. But i’ve gotten to love the challenge and the pain. Getting a good time or score feels a hell lot better knowing you did every rep fully, even if it takes you longer.
Q: If you were to give advise to cheaters out there what would you tell them?
A: Just Stop. Ask yourself WHY you CrossFit. Are you there to get good scores and good times and brag in people’s faces that you beat them or get mad when someone beat you? Or are you there to push and challenge yourself and become a better athlete and even better person? The struggle is where you succeed. Not by cheating and being the top dog all the time.