In one month from now, men and women all over the world, of all different ages, sizes, ability levels and backgrounds, will put their best efforts forth as they compete in the world wide CrossFit Open. You’ve probably heard some of the buzz about it in your local gym, and it’s likely you’re thinking, “sounds good, but it's not for me”. Well I am here to tell you why you are wrong, it IS for you, and could be one of the best things you’ve ever done!
The Open is basically everything that’s amazing about CrossFit all condensed down into 5 workouts; the community, the challenges, and the sense of accomplishment. The high saturation of what makes CrossFit great can be a powerful thing to be a part of. Here are some the reasons you should sign up and give it a go:
YOU WILL PUSH HARDER THAN EVER
By now I’m sure you’re used to pushing yourself every time you’re in the gym and getting to a place that you probably weren’t even getting close to when you were jogging on a treadmill in your local globogym. That’s what CrossFit does. But when you’ve got a judge watching your movement, a full gym of people cheering and screaming for you, and the knowledge that you’re going to be uploading your score onto a global leaderboard, something special happens. You leave it ALL out on the floor. You try like you’ve never tried before. You go until the clock runs out and you give it your absolute 100% effort. You push your mind and your body to it’s absolute capacity for those 9 minutes (or whatever it may be), and it’s as exhilarating, inspiring and powerful to personally experience as it is to witness.
Furthermore, countless people have found themselves getting their very first double under, toes to bar, pull up, or muscle up during the Open. You really don’t know what you’re capable of until you try! Resigning yourself to the sidelines because you don’t have x, y, or z is a cop out. Especially since as of last year, CFHQ introduced a scaled division, so you can still participate while scaling the workout to your own abilities, like you would in any other WOD. And if you don't PR or hit a milestone? At the very least you got a good workout in, and at best you still gave your all, and chances are good that you had some fun along the way. Whether you come in first place or dead last is irrelevant, as it really boils down to you vs you, anyway.
THE ENERGY IS ELECTRIC
A gym full of people with high nerves, high hopes, high expectations and high energy makes for one intense vibe. Standing near my friends, yelling and jumping around in excited support as they struggle past the “finish line” in Open workouts, have been some of my favorite moments in CrossFit, period. The stakes are just a little higher than they are in a normal workout, which means the urgency and tenacity of everyone competing gets cranked up a few notches, and it creates a buzzing excitement in the air that’s thrilling to breathe in. Feeling the tremendous support from your gym mates and coaches as you push through (what you thought were) your limits, all under the pressure of competition and a running clock, makes for one hell of a good time.
Beyond the walls of your gym, the CrossFit world is buzzing with commentary, photos, videos, anticipation, and stories of triumphs and struggles, as people complete workouts and await the new event announcements each week. It brings the idea of the CrossFit community full circle, and it reminds me why I love this sport so much. In a word, it's fun.
YOU WILL COMPETE ALONGSIDE THE BEST IN THE WORLD
In very few other sports do us mere mortals get to compete against elite athletes, in the same events with the same equipment and the same standards. I love that I get to stack myself up against the heavy hitters, and though it’s always met with a humbling and jaw dropping “I can’t believe how fast they are!”, it’s a unique opportunity that really no other sport fans can say they have. Even at the regionals or the Games, every CrossFitter in the world knows what a thruster feels like, or how Murph feels, making the spectator experience that much more intense and personal. It’s a pretty cool feature of CrossFit that really highlights itself during the Open, when every athlete in the world, from the beginner to the ultra elite, play on the same “field”.
Plus, if you’ve got a friend or family member who CrossFits out of town/across the country/on the other side of the world, this is your chance to virtually workout out and compete with them! Through the leaderboard’s website, you can search any athlete competing anywhere in the world. The community aspect strikes again…
If the idea of competing against Camille doesn't do it for you, that's ok. But let's be honest- you wouldn't be doing CrossFit if you didn't have a slight streak of competitive nature, and the Open is wonderful way to get the thrill of a competition on a larger scale and put that drive to use! It offers a unique opportunity for you to take a giant step out of your comfort zone, while still allowing you to stay in your home gym, surrounded by the familiar faces you know and love.
YOUR RESULTS SERVE AS A BENCHMARK
We all know benchmarks like the Girls and the Heroes serve as a measuring stick for our fitness, which is why we (reluctantly) put ourselves through them every so often. The 2017 Open will be my 5th time through, and I am on a mission to kick some ass. Am I making it to the Games? Nope. Do I have a shot at Regionals? Not even close. So why do I care? Because I love seeing myself improve. Each year I have watched myself improve steadily, even as the pool of participants have grown, and I bet you will too.
If you’ve been CrossFitting for any amount of time, you know that part of what keeps you coming back is seeing yourself get better, stronger, fitter. It’s the tiny victories that become the fuel to push yourself further, and at the end of the day, you are only really competing against yourself. The Open is no different. With the site saving all of your scores/entries for every workout for years, you have the awesome ability to be able to check in on how your fitness, performance, skills and capacity have improved over time. You get to see the fruits of your hard work on a global level- how cool is that?
To sum up: DO IT. The Open is a communal undertaking where we all suit up for battle with our tribe of supporters, near and far, and stare our fears right in the eye. Whether you see it as a measuring stick or a rite of passage, it is a totally humbling and challenging ordeal that will push you to your limit (and then some!) all in good fun! You'll find your weaknesses and revel in your strengths, and though the workouts can be tough and can tear you down, the sense of accomplishment once you’ve made it to the other side is all worth it. Sound familiar? It’s CrossFit. I mean, we wouldn’t be here if we didn’t like a good challenge, right? So go on and sign up, have some fun and do your best. What have you got to lose?