FOMO, or the Fear of Missing Out, is a term usually used to describe interactions within social media networks like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. The feeling can come from missing actual activities with friends (and constantly “checking” social media), or it can come from a broader source, like feeling as if you are missing out on a potential type of life. Social media outlets are great ways to keep in touch with people from your past, but they can cause feelings of jealousy (I want his/her life) or regret (I wish I had…). This fear of missing out can also be applied to activities themselves. In the case of CrossFit, FOMO can occur because an athlete has worked so hard to adopt a certain lifestyle and missing certain activities, like WODs, can prove to be a huge detriment to their mental, physical, and emotional health.
For CrossFit athletes, FOMO can lead to:
An increased likelihood for injury
CrossFitters are typically not the first to admit their shoulder/knee/back pain is more than just muscle soreness. Unfortunately, ignoring aches and pains that get too severe can lead to injury. Even worse, those who fear missing workouts due to injury may continue to press on and make their injury much more serious. The lure of a good workout, favorite benchmark WOD, potential to PR, etc. may entice you to continue heading to the box even when you’re hurt. Don’t do it! Take a day. Take a week. Take as much time as you need to get healthy and pain free.
The inability to be flexible or adapt to changes in daily routines
Let’s face it, life happens. Work may get in the way. Family or friends may need help. In general, CrossFitters are creatures of habit. They not only schedule time to workout, but it is an integral part of their lives. When other parts of life get in the way of CrossFit, FOMO can cause anxiety about missing workouts (and potentially backsliding). CrossFit shouldn’t be your life; it should be part of your life. Finding a balance between CrossFit, work, and family is essential for your success both inside and outside of the box.
A feeling of being less capable, confident or “unworthy”
Because the majority of CrossFitters see their box not just as a gym but as a community, it may be assumed that when a workout is missed, they are missing out on time with their “family.” They associate attending a WOD as a way to connect with their community. When a workout is missed, athletes may feel as though they are losing their connection with their box. This, of course, is completely untrue. As a family, fellow members should feel confident that their relationships span outside of the gym.
Preventing FOMO as a CrossFitter is relatively easy. First, listen to your body! When you need a break, take one, regardless of whether or not it throws off your training schedule. A short break today may prevent a longer break later on. Second, don’t just WOD; use your “fitness” outside of the box. Share your new found strength and stamina with non-CrossFit friends and family. In addition, work to strengthen your relationships with other members outside of the box. They are not just CrossFitters. They have lives as well, and they may be excited to share them with you! Finally, you are not “defined” by CrossFit. CrossFit is what you do, not who you are. It is just a small part of what makes you you, and being able to find the right balance makes you stronger than any PR.
Meaghan, a former collegiate water polo player and rower, has been a member of the CrossFit community since 2013. She is the webmaster for her box, CrossFit Unlocked, and she has her own blog “Barbell Broad: A Lady’s Take on the Lifting Lifestyle.” Meaghan can be found on Instagram @barbellbroad.