The CrossFit Open is coming. If you do not know what that is, a brief description…

The CrossFit Games is an annual competition where elite individuals/teams compete for the title of “fittest on Earth.” There are several stages to this competition, the first being The CrossFit Open. One workout per week is programmed and boxes around the world perform them for 3 consecutive weeks. Full disclosure…I have been doing CrossFit for almost 8 years and the 2013 Open is STILL the coolest experience I have had in CrossFit. The workout was an AMRAP for 17 minutes with burpees and snatches. As the workout progressed, the weight for the snatches increased. I had never snatched 135 pounds (please…don’t judge) before that workout. That night, I did a total of 20 repetitions at that weight. Our box was so great – loud, encouraging, full of excitement. 

 The Open has lost some of its luster in recent years and I am hopeful that we can restore the experience for future CrossFit athletes. The following is why I believe the CrossFit Open is important and why you should commit to signing up.

1. SELF-DISCOVERY

It is a competition, there is no getting around it. Once you get into a competitive mindset, you have a chance for some self-discovery. You see if you have become better, fitter, more skilled, etc. You often see breakthroughs in the Open that you do not expect, all while your box-mates are screaming and cheering you on. This spurs more self-confidence, which leads to more discoveries. It is a cool moment.

2. YOU GET UNCOMFORTABLE

I will keep the first point under this section brief. The workouts are tough.

However, there is more to it than this.

During regular workouts throughout the year, there are movements that some folks cannot do, are not proficient at, struggle with, or otherwise hate doing. When this happens, coaches have many options to scale the movements so athletes can train despite these holes. During the Open, there is a scaled division. However, there is a limit on how far an athlete can modify. You are forced to do what you normally would avoid. There is magic here. Because athletes must get uncomfortable, we see progress in fitness that is unexpected. You successfully lift weights you have not lifted before; you are able to perform your first real gymnastics exercise, or you execute some skill you have never done. These breakthroughs are so cool to see year after year. 

There are times, however, that you struggle with those movements. Ones that you have not practiced or spent time working. When you fail (that word gets a bad rap – it can be a good thing), you now know what you need to focus on. You can move forward and get better. You learn new skills because you were forced to fail.

3. YOU HAVE TO SHOW UP AND PERFORM

If you sign up for the Open, you cannot dodge the workouts. You must show up and perform, despite how you feel. Didn’t sleep well? Do the Open WOD. Sinus issues? Do the Open WOD. The reasons do not matter. You do the work. During the year, you may skip a workout that has movements that you do not like. You may take a rest day because your toddler kept you up the night before. During the Open, that “dog don’t hunt.” You must do it. If it was a training session listen to your body. Take the rest days. Recover. Not in the open. It is different. It is a COMPETITION. Being forced to show up and perform is important. It is a transferable ability.

4. BOX COMMUNITY

The energy in a CrossFit class is intense. The workouts themselves, the music, the equipment – it adds up to powerful energy. A regular class pales in comparison to the energy of a CrossFit Open workout. Your friends and box-mates are cheering, screaming, urging you to keep grinding away. In my opinion, it is the best experience that I have ever had in a CrossFit workout. We routinely discuss the community appeal of a CrossFit box; that community is exponentially higher during the Open. It is a feeling you do not forget. By itself, it is worth signing up for the CrossFit Open.

Others might be able to give you another half-dozen reasons why you should sign up for the CrossFit Open. Talk with those who have done it before. But I urge you to have some skin in the game. Show up and do the work. I promise, it is worth it.

The first of three workouts will be announced on March 11th and the first Friday Night Lights will be March 12th. Get some!!!

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