by callum dick
'BETTER than yesterday' is the creed of the CrossFit Western Front Honey Badgers.
Emblazoned across the back of their training singlets, it provides a constant reminder to the group of six supremely fit athletes why the early mornings and late afternoons are worth it.
But sometimes, a tangible reward for effort can also help with motivation.
An All Star Affiliate National Series title, for instance.
Having won the Queensland qualifier earlier this year, the Honey Badgers qualified for their first-ever National Final, held in Sydney at the turn of the month.
Against a field of 56 teams in the Intermediate division, the team of Kate Morris, Alex Raethke, Elizabeth Dell, Tiffany Denman, Brad Hulse and Richard Singleton arrived as the 13th seed.
"They did a national leaderboard to let you know where you stood after the state qualifiers before you got to Sydney,” CrossFit Western Front owner and coach Kate Morris said.
"They had us sitting in 13th before we went down, so we thought, 'Wow, we really have to bring it'.”
The pre-competition rankings had no bearing once the two-day competition got under way, but Morris admitted it did light a fire in the team's stomach to prove they were better than the ranking suggested.
"I was a little shocked we were so far down the ladder,” Morris said.
"After day one we were sitting in eighth, and we were a bit down - we weren't sure if we'd be able to make the podium, third position seemed a long way off.”
But when day two rolled around, the Honey Badgers proved 'better than yesterday'.
"The workouts on day two were more-so in our favour than day one I think,” Morris said.
"There were a lot of muscle-ups, handstand walks - mostly gymnastics-type events, which was in our favour.
"On that second day they shut the leaderboards so you can't see if you're making up any ground.
"We just knew we had to go balls to the wall.”
By the end of day two, Morris and team had a decision to make.
Stay for the presentation and risk getting to the airport late, or consign themselves to coming back fitter and stronger next year.
"Time was tight, but we thought we had a slim chance of getting third,” Morris said.
"When they called out third our faces dropped a little, and when they called our second and we thought we were done.”
So when the MC pre-empted the announcement of the winner with a nod to the Honey Badgers, it was hard for Morris to hide her excitement.
"It was just so unexpected thinking we could jump from eighth to first,” Morris said.
"We had to race off to get to the airport, but we had that giggly, high school laugh happening all the way from Olympic Park.
"We just couldn't believe it, I am so extremely proud.”