When it comes to counting reps during a WOD, I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not always the easiest thing to do, especially when the rep count hits the triple digits (like Karen – 150 wall balls) or the rounds ends up in the teens & 20s (think Cindy).
The numbers just don’t seem to roll off the tongue once you’re past about 50 reps of any given exercise and the more tired you get the harder and harder it seems to stay focused on what has been completed and what is left to finish.
Now, that being said, if I ever lose count and can’t remember where I’m at in a rep count, I always use the lower number and do extra reps because I never want to cheat myself out of the amount of work that was assigned in the workout.
I also have a tendency to count out loud, I do it fairly quietly to myself because I don’t want to mess up everyone else’s counting, but speaking and hearing each number seems to make it easier to keep track.
If a workout was written 21-15-9, the rep scheme was chosen for a specific reason by whoever wrote it.
Typically, it is to elicit a certain feeling for the individual and to require a precise response from the athlete in order to complete the work in a given period of time.
By taking the workout, “miscounting” your reps, and completing 16-13-8 (for example), you are undermining the design of the programmer and you will most likely not elicit the same positive response that the workout was designed to give you.
Although I typically believe that when reps are miscounted it is an honest mistake and it only ends up being 1 or 2 that aren’t completed in an entire workout, I’ve also seen some pretty blatant “miscounting” in my day as a athlete and as a coach.
I understand that there are people around you, all gunning to be the fastest and sometimes your competitive nature might make you want to skip a rep or two or count a couple that didn’t quite meet the required ROM (range of motion) of a specific exercise (full squat and full throw hitting the target for a wall ball), but you’re only cheating yourself.
At the end of the day, no one ever remembers what your time was or how many rounds you completed on any given day, but you’ll know that your winning time wasn’t truly deserved.
You’ll also know that all the people that you beat because you “miscounted” got a better workout than you and got at least a little bit better that day, but you won’t know if you can say the same about yourself.
To add to that, if you do log your workouts and keep track of your level of fitness, eventually you’re going to be pretty disappointed when you can’t beat your previous score because even though you’re more fit, last time you didn’t do all the work and this time you did.
When it’s all said and done it truly comes down to integrity and a desire to actually know that you’re better than yesterday, not just to pretend that you are.
Count the reps, do all the work, learn to enjoy the process and take pride in the fact that you were challenged, you rose above and accomplished the task at hand from start to finish.
There’s no shame in not finishing first every day and knowing that even though you’re in a group setting you’re only truly competing against yourself is a huge step to getting better.