By Alan Shaw, Co-Founder & Head Coach of Rhapsody CrossFit

Real talk, I think there is a connotation around “competitor”…especially within the CrossFit community. For many, this word paints a vicious picture of a homunculus defying logic and gravity by careening themselves and absurdly heavy objects through space. 

Don’t get me wrong – I have immense respect for the feats achieved during competitions, but being a strong athlete runs deeper than reps and records achieved at any one event. 

I believe the makings of solid athletes begin with a hunger – they want it the most and are willing to do whatever it takes to get it. This innate quality cannot be coaxed or coached. It simply has to be.  

From there, we dive into discipline, training and strategy, which can all be built and developed just like a muscle. Centered around these three areas, enter the Rhapsody Athletic Department (R.A.D.) committed to challenging stereotypes, cultivating athletes and, ultimately, developing character. 


Discipline is a decision made day in and day out to show up and do the work. To me, this is the litmus test on how bad you want it. 

You can have prime programming, premier coaching and a best-in-class facility at your fingertips, but if you don’t choose to opt in, we’re dead in the water. 

Show up, say yes, and get it done. If you commit to this decision, I will commit to you as an athlete. 

Owen Bernstein at Rhapsody CrossFit in Charleston, SC.


The brass-tax of a competition is pushing the edge of muscle and hustle with intense physical training. No argument here. 

However, physical training is just one component of preparing for a competition as many events are won and lost based on what happens between the ears. 

Often overlooked, exercising mindset is just as crucial as physical capacity – developing mental fortitude, learning how to pace, calming your nerves and knowing when to dig in are all mission critical on competition day. 


From the weeks of training beforehand to tackling the big day itself, strategy is where all your mental and physical skills come together to move pieces across the board.

As your coach, strategy is the rush because I help you combine the smarts, skills and strength developed during your training with your qualities as an athlete to help you show up and dominate. 

Although I love some strategy, seeing you challenge yourself, redefine your own limits and ultimately develop your character in the heat of the moment is the why behind my work. 

Speaking of which, now that I’ve got you all hot and bothered about competing, let’s circle back to challenging stereotypes and developing character. Yes, we are going for the W, but I find there are all kinds of wins to be had beyond the podium. 


If you’ll indulge me, I want to brag on one of our R.A.D. athletes, Stephanie Rodriguez, who competed recently in the Elite Female Division of the Sacred Pine Invitational. 

Not only did Steph go head-to-head to take second place in her division, but she was also awarded The Spirit of the Pine for showcasing incredible sportsmanship. 

During the first event, an intense all-out-sweat-fest, Steph crushed the workout finishing second in her heat. Instead of walking off the floor, she whipped around to fiercely cheer her fellow competitors across the finish line.

This moment raised the bar for every person who saw it, and I could not have been more proud of how she represented Rhapsody and herself as an inspiring individual.  

This is what the R.A.D. is all about – going for the gold and being good humans while we’re at it. If you’re interested in learning more about competitive coaching at Rhapsody CrossFit in Charleston, let’s talk.

Lee Davis at Rhapsody CrossFit in Charleston, SC.