How to Read the Leaderboards

CrossFit competitions typically involve one of two possible scoring policies: placement-based scoring or scoring based upon points tables. This post briefly explains the difference between these two types of scoring policies.

Most CrossFit competitions tend to use a points-based scoring policy. With placement-based scoring, an athlete’s overall score at any point in the competition is the sum of their rankings. For example, if an athlete were to place 1st, 3rd, and 2nd across three workouts, they’d accumulate a total of 6 points. With placement based-scoring, athletes place higher on the leaderboards by placing higher across workouts and accumulating as few points as possible.

Although most competitions prefer placement-based scoring, some competitions, including the CrossFit Games, prefer points-based scoring policies. With a points-based system, a table pre-defines the number of points that are awarded for each placement in a competition, and the tables are designed so that athletes receive more points for ranking higher in workouts. Thus, with points-based scoring, athletes aim to accumulate as many points as possible. The points tables themselves are typically computed with non-linear formulas such that athletes who place consistently place higher receive are rewarded proportionally.

What’s in your gear bag for a CrossFit Competition?

What are the most important items to pack in your gear bag for a CrossFit competition? Much like packing for a vacation or preparing for a shopping trip, we recommend putting together a handy checklist so that you don’t forget anything important. Most competitions are all day affairs, so you’ll want to carefully prepare so that you don’t stress out (or run out to the store) during valuable recovery periods between WODs.

Two of the most obvious categories you’ll want to think about are clothing and nutrition.

Unlike a typical classroom workout in the box, you’ll be completing multiple workouts throughout the day and likely won’t have an opportunity to shower. Unless you like spending the day in sweaty, smelly clothing, be sure to take enough changes of clothing to get you through the day.

Competitions increasingly offer food items for purchase through local vendors, but don’t leave anything to chance. In addition to recovery drinks and protein powders, consider packing a small cooler with a few small meals just in case you need to rely on it. At a minimum, a couple of premixed shakes, a pound or so of cubed chicken breast, some mashed sweet potatoes, and a couple of bananas would make for a good competition lunch box.

Don’t forget the essentials like top notch recovery powders when planning your competition lunch box!

A few essentials to kick off the list:

  • Shaker bottles (including protein & electrolyte powders)
  • Food (shakes, cubed chicken breast, bananas, etc.)
  • Shoes (oly & metcon)
  • Extra clothes (shirts, shorts, socks, etc.)
  • Compression gear (belt, wraps, sleeves, tape, etc.)
  • Personalized/fitted items (jump rope)
  • Miscellaneous (deodorant, phone charger, camera, etc.)

Leave a comment and like us on Facebook for a chance to win a Rogue gift card so that you can compete with more awesome gear!

How to Get Sponsors for a Competition

How to Get Sponsors for a Competition

Most fitness competitions seek sponsorship support in the form of prizes and swag. You want to make sure it’s simple and easy for sponsors to support your event. The registration system has the ability to collect sponsor information and fees, which make the process better for everyone involved. As a rule, we recommend starting your search for sponsors well in advance of your event, preferably 6 months lead-time. Some businesses plan out their commitments a year in advance! The more time you give yourself, the better your chances in securing sponsors. Here are 4 sources of support to consider in this process of how to get sponsors for your competition:


1. Local connections

This is your first go-to when considering support for your event. We recommend contacting members of your own box who are business owners to see how you can develop a mutually beneficial partnership. Otherwise, reach out to your local business community and get them involved. Think of places you or your members like to frequent: restaurants, retail stores, day spas. 


2. City, county, or state resources

If your competition draws a large out-of-town crowd, various levels of government may have an interest in supporting your event. Visitor and tourism organizations often have resources at their disposal to aid events that will benefit the local economy. They may also provide you with hotel or dining discounts for your athletes, an added incentive to encourage participation at your competition!


3. CrossFit-specific companies

Don’t just go for the familiar big names here. There are many up and coming businesses aimed at the demographic of CrossFitters and several are eager to get their name out to your athletes. This gives you a great opportunity to build a relationship and offer value to your participants in whatever form of support these companies can provide to you.


4. Other health and fitness-related businesses

Think of any company who would be happy to have the attention of health-minded, active customers and reach out to them. It’s a good idea to explain what your athletes are like to a business who may be unfamiliar with what CrossFit is. Having some baseline demographic information (ages, percent male vs. female, etc.) about who these potential customers are is a good selling point when requesting sponsorship support.

Bonus tip: follow-up, follow-up, follow-up!

Persistence pays off in this process. Many companies are bombarded with sponsorship requests, which means a single email from you might get lost. Use multiple means of communication and try to connect with multiple people. The more you get your name on their radar, the greater the likelihood that a business will return contact and you can establish a relationship.  

Competition Programming: Part Three – Be Unique

Competition Programming: Part Three - Be Unique


This is the final part in our series on competition programming. If you’ve followed our advice so far, you should have a solid understanding of how to smartly design your events. Here, we take the final step by suggesting 3 ways you can make your competition stand out and be unique.

Read the complete series on competition programming:


1. Venue Choice

If you want to take your competition outside the box (pun totally intended), you have an opportunity to offer a refreshing setting for otherwise familiar activities. For example, high schools have sports facilities such as tracks, fields, and maybe even pools available to use for your competition. If the weather allows, outdoor venues can offer space and flexibility.

While there are many benefits possible to taking your competition off-site, keep in mind there are many additional planning considerations as well. The extra work may be worth it, however, if it can provide something unique and valuable to your audience, which makes your competition memorable and successful.


2. Uncommon Elements

The purpose of CrossFit is to prepare its athletes for “the unknown and unknowable.” It uses elements from a variety of athletic disciplines to train a broad spectrum of capabilities. And what better way to truly test that fitness than with something unexpected? Programming elements for your competition that are uncommonly performed in the gym setting can set your event apart and make for an exciting experience for athletes and spectators alike.

Note: There’s a fine line between creative and crazy. We encourage you to brainstorm ideas, then refer back to our first two posts in their series on competition programming to see what ideas are left remaining, then see how you can incorporate them into your final workout designs. And make sure to test out any novel ideas so you have an understanding of what they will look like in practice!


3. Spirit and Culture

This is where you truly have the chance to shine. Think of the energy you want your competition to embody, then design your events around that experience. From a programming perspective, this can include small details like your choice of rep schemes or the names you give to your workouts. These finishing touches are what truly bring a competition to the next level and leave your athletes satisfied and eager to return for more.

Competition Programming: Part Two – Practical Considerations

Competition Programming: Part Two - Practical Considerations


Continuing our series on competition programming, this post will cover a practical approach to narrowing down your options for your workouts. We’re assuming that your goal is to program for diversity, meaning you aren’t biasing programming towards anything in particular. By taking a look at these practical considerations, you can build a framework that will help you make smart decisions for your competition programming.

Read Part One in this series: Guiding Rules

Consideration 1: Equipment

Start with a detailed inventory of the equipment available to you. While it may seem obvious, you do need to keep in mind that you won’t be able to use anything you don’t already have. This can keep you in check and prevent you from getting carried away from the get-go. If you plan on purchasing equipment for the sake of your competition, double-check your budget to make sure that expense fits comfortably within your projected revenue.


Consideration 2: Space

Similar to equipment, the available space you have to work with will be an important factor in your programming. This will determine how many athletes can compete at a given time, which will dictate how much equipment you’ll need to accommodate those athletes. Your venue will also decide what types of movements will work safely in a competition setting.


Consideration 3: Athletes

Your competition may consist of individuals, partners, or teams, or maybe even a mix of all of these combinations. No matter the number of athletes competing per slot, we strongly encourage that you program your workouts so that only one person is working at a time. This reduces the demand for judges and makes scoring simpler, not to mention reduces chaos and makes for a better spectator experience.


With the above practical considerations in mind, now we can move onto the fun part: programming itself.

We recommend at least 3 workouts to be able to make a claim at testing fitness as defined by the sport of CrossFit. Depending on the length of your competition (single vs. multi-day), you may have the flexibility to include more. As always, consider your athletes safety. Too many events within a short time period can be counterproductive at best, dangerous at worst. (Read our post on maximizing scoring for more ideas on making the most of your events.)

There are 3 elements of diversity that you’ll need to vary in your programming: time domain, movement type, and skill level. You’ll want your competition to include a good mix of these factors. This means doing your best to design workouts of different lengths, with a range of different exercises, at varying degrees of difficulty. This is where the magic happens, but by this point in the process, you should have some good parameters to work with that can will help you decide how to combine these elements in the best way for your competition.

Broadly speaking, your competition programming can have 2 different designs for diversity: diversity within each event or diversity as a whole. Programming each workout to be a comprehensive test of fitness is more challenging, but could be considered a better method. On the other hand, it is simpler to design your competition where all the events taken together measure diversity, but it may end up biased if not executed properly. In either case, when you athletes leave, you want them to feel like they were truly tested by your programming.


Stay tuned for Part Three in the complete series on competition programing.

Competition Programming: Part One – Guiding Rules

Competition Programming: Part One - Guiding Rules


The best thing about a functional fitness event is that the possibilities for your competition programming are nearly limitless. The most challenging thing about competition programming is… that your possibilities are nearly limitless. This post is the first of a 3-part series that will help you make good decisions about programming for your competition. With so many choices to consider, where do you even start? Here are 3 guiding rules to help you program for your next event.


1. Put safety first

Competition makes people fierce. Unfortunately, that means a lot of good judgement goes out the window in the heat of the moment. It’s your responsibility as an event planner to always keep that on the forefront of your mind when you’re designing a competition. As such, safety is your most important consideration. We strongly encourage you to think about worst case scenarios here and do everything in your power to minimize the risks involved. You’ll never be able to eliminate them entirely, of course, but you need to err on the side of caution when designing your workouts.


2. Play to the crowd

One of the most important questions you should ask yourself when programming your workouts is, “Will the crowd want to watch this?” (Hint: softball throws are not terribly exciting.) The most successful events are ones that are both athlete and spectator-friendly. This is something the Grid League has done exceptionally well with their fast-paced races and competition layout that allows the participants as well as the audience easily see who’s winning the event. You’ll have to spend some energy thinking about your venue here, as well, to make sure your programming complements the space you have to work with.


3. Remember your purpose

Every competition needs to have a specific focus. You need to stay true to your brand by committing to the purpose of your event. If you want to truly hold a fitness competition in the spirit of the sport of CrossFit, you’ll need to make sure that your workouts as a whole are an accurate assessment of the 10 domains of fitnessHowever, events like fundraisers may instead have a theme that’s biased towards particular domains (example: a lift-a-thon to raise money for a cause would focus on power- or weightlifting). It’s easy to get carried away when you those limitless possibilities, but narrowing your scope around your competition’s purpose will help your event be memorable and successful.

Keep an eye out for the next two posts in the complete series on competition programing.

You might also be interested in our post about How to Maximize Competition Scoring.