Open Letter To Cheaters

I started doing CrossFit in 2008 and opened my first gym in 2012-2013. The CrossFit workouts were posted every night at 8pm. I would get excited and go to the gym in Costa Rica and perform the workout by myself or with my friend. It wasn’t in a CrossFit gym with a bunch of people. We were self taught. We did all the workouts as prescribed and finished every workout, no matter how long it took. We didn’t need or have to cheat. It never crossed our minds. We were just competing with one another and posting our scores on

CrossFit is competitive by nature. We workout together and post our scores in order to share with our community. There is a standard for each movement in order to get the benefit from the movement as well as to have an even playing field, just as there is in other sports.

What is RX?

RX = Doing all of the reps prescribed in a workout and upholding the standard of the movement on all of your reps. Squatting 4-6 inches above parallel and putting an Rx score on the board beating athletes that upheld the standard by squatting below parallel on their squats is cheating. This happens often and it’s really 2 different workouts. I often tell myself, ” I could have gotten 5 more rounds if I squatted like that.”

I started coaching in 2012-2013 and it wasn’t long before I noticed athletes shaving reps, shaving rounds off of workouts, adding a round, and adding reps to workouts.

Here’s the deal: As an owner and coach we know our athletes strengths and capacity to perform workouts RX. If something seems off on a workout score on a previous day or if an athlete hasn’t been in for a long time and they start beating top athletes in the gym, I count their reps from afar or I ask coaches to count for me and to report back.

Bottom line is this: If you are cheating I already know. I know all the cheaters in my gym currently and in years past.

Should we care if people are cheating?

Yes and no. There are arguments for both ways. We shouldn’t overly preoccupy ourselves with others efforts, but we should more so concern ourselves with our own performance.

This is one answer from other affiliate owners, as this topic is discussed often on a group of gym owners. It’s a large frustration amongst gym owners. Owners are aware of their rep shavers and recognize that an ego needs to be filled. Cheaters cheat in order to make themselves look like they are at the top of the class.

The other popular opinion is that the athlete that cheats is cheating themselves as well as the community. The lack of integrity undermines other athletes hard work and honesty. I tend to lean this direction in my opinion.

Athletes work hard daily. They uphold the standard, they count their reps accurately, and they push themselves. Then an athlete cheats and beats them. CrossFit is competitive by nature and there is a leaderboard. It’s part of CrossFit. Shaving and adding reps to workouts to beat other athletes cheats the athletes that give their all and defeats the purpose of showing up to a CrossFit workout in the first place…to increase your fitness and health.

Cheaters need their ego full-filled and it’s done so by cheating themselves and others. If you do cheat, you are cheating yourself and your community. If you think us coaches don’t know you’re cheating, you’re largely mistaken.

We count your reps. We know you don’t uphold the standard. I count reps and rounds every week and I ask my coaches to report back on particular workouts.

Why? Integrity. I want to know who is cheating my honest athletes. If you are cheating you can easily correct it. You just have to check your ego at the door. You’ve made the objective of showing up your ego and how you look in your peers eyes. You may think they don’t know, but they do. I hear it all the time from them. They’re frustrated with you. I get text messages and people popping their head in my door at least once a week.

I hope you are challenged by this to correct your cheating and to honor your classmates by upholding the standards of CrossFit and doing the reps and rounds required on workouts. The score on the board and on SugarWod is rooted in integrity.

It’s of the utmost importance to the community and CrossFit.

-Coach Bryan


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