The CrossFit Open – What is it, and why should I do it?

Hey! Happy Monday!

Today might seem like any other regular Monday, but this week is a little different as it’s a big one for the CrossFit community. Why, you ask?

THE CROSSFIT OPEN STARTS THIS WEEK!

So, what exactly is the Open? 

The Open is a 5-week long competition that is open to anybody who does CrossFit, regardless of their age, weight, athletic ability or where they are in the world. Each week for those 5 weeks, a new workout is announced Thursdays at 5PM PST, and athletes have until the following Monday evening to complete the workout and post their score. Athletes participating can do it at their local CrossFit box and have a coach validate their score, or they can do it on their own in their garage, home gym or anywhere where they have access to the needed equipment and can submit their video to have it validated by a CrossFit judge online. Nobody knows what the workouts are until they are announced, which gives the competition a really exciting feeling and is a great nod to CrossFit’s methodology of “preparing for the unknown.”

Over 200,000 people worldwide will sign up to compete against other CrossFitters and post their scores to see where they rank. After the Open, the top 20 athletes from each region will go to their respective regional competitions, where the top 5 will go to the Games in Carson, CA. The Games are the culmination of a year of hard work, discipline, dedication and pure athletic talent – it is so fun to watch and to be a part of, and is very much our version of the Olympics.

Even though the Open is a competition, I always let newer people at the gym know that there is no pressure to “do well” or to feel like you have to “win” anything in order to be successful. Last year I did the scaled division, which features slightly less complex gymnastic movements and lighter weights, but I still challenged myself and pushed myself harder than I would have had I not been competing. I don’t remember the exact place I finished in in my region, but I can assure you that I was not in the top 10, top 100, or even top 200. Did that matter to me? Not really. During the Open, I discovered I had kipping pull ups without any assistance, that I kicked ass at wall balls, and that I could do things then that I could not have done a year prior to that workout, and that I was actually doing them well. If nothing else, the Open is the perfect time to take a look back and reflect on how far you’ve come in the last year.

I will never be a competitive CrossFitter. That sounds bad, but let me explain: I am never going to get to the Games. I know this, and I’m fine with it. That doesn’t mean I can’t do local competitions, whether they be powerlifting meets, olympic lifting meets or CrossFit competitions, but in my heart I know I’ll never be a Games athlete. Truth be told, most of us won’t and that’s ok – it doesn’t mean we can’t still take our training seriously, invest in ourselves, our fitness and out health, or walk out of the gym feeling like a total bad ass when we hit that PR. I am realistic with my expectations of myself, and to be perfectly honest I don’t have the desire to train to the extent that those athletes do because I enjoy sleeping in, taking vacations and eating poorly every now and then. We all do, we’re human. That doesn’t mean I haven’t trained hard all year to do better at this year’s Open than I did at last year’s – CrossFit is incredibly important to me and has taught me a lot about myself, and the Open is the perfect chance to showcase your hard work, your camaraderie for your fellow box-goers, and to just have fun.

Are you signing up for the Open? It’s only $20, and you can do it here. This coming Thursday, February 25th, is the first workout of the five weeks, so go get it!

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