Being Open to “The Open”

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…as mentioned on “Addicted to Chalk” blog.

You may have heard around the gym or seen on Facebook mentions of “The Open.” Unfortunately, this bears little meaning for many of you and thus, you may have simply glossed over the posts or zoned out when the coaches discussed it. But the Open actually means a great deal within the CrossFit community and can mean a great deal to you.

Let’s begin with the facts. The Open refers to an annual event during which the WORLDWIDE CrossFit community comes together and engages in 5 weeks of united fitness. Each week, starting on February 27th, CrossFit Headquarters will release a new Open WOD via a video, its standards will be explicitly defined, and the participants in all corners of the globe will have 3 days to complete the workout. As a gym, we all complete each workout on the Friday following the announcement. Open Workouts are notoriously challenging, but as such, are inherently rewarding to complete. For the athletes participating in the Open, the workout must be completed under the observation of a Certified Coach, who will count and approve their reps and record their score. The participating athlete has three days during which the workout can be done as many times as desired to achieve the best possible score. The athlete then gets to observe how their score stacks up against male and female athletes in their region, country, and the world. After all 5 workouts are complete, the top athletes from each designated region are invited to the Regional competition. The gyms with the best combined scores are invited to send a Team to Regionals.

At Regionals, these top competitors will face off, head to head for three days to determine the top men, women, and teams from each Region. These athletes are then invited to compete in the annual CrossFit Games. This is CrossFit’s biggest event and the highest form of CrossFit competition. Over five days, the world’s best compete against one another to determine the fittest in the world. What sets the Games apart from all other major sporting events is that we, the day-to-day, average box members, can do CrossFit, just like the Games competitors. We can do the WODs that they do and we know what it feels like to hit the wall, push yourself past what you previously thought was your limit, and feel the great satisfaction and physical exhaustion that accompanies the completion of a seemingly insurmountable WOD. We may never know what it feels like to hit a walk off home run in the ninth inning of a World Series game or score the winning goal in the World Cup, but we can know the feeling of pushing our bodies, challenging ourselves, and lying exhausted, in a pool of sweat after fighting to pick up the bar just one more time or do that last burpee.

So why participate in the Open? Why does it matter? You’re new and you don’t feel ready… You’ve been CrossFitting for years, but don’t feel like you can compete… The Open is not a call for CrossFit beasts and ninjas only. It is called “The OPEN” for a reason. It is open to EVERYONE, the new, the experienced, the old and young, those who workout in large boxes like ours and those who workout in their garages. It is an annual personal measuring stick. From these workouts and scores, we can see our strengths, our weaknesses, and have a foundation from which to focus our efforts over the course of the next year. This is not about ego. No one judges you based on your Open scores. The numbers are equivalent to and mean only one thing- hard work and a demonstrated dedication to health and fitness.

The Open is a very energetic time in the gym. You will see how the WOD floor will turn to support the participating athletes with the greatest energy and enthusiasm. We will cheer for each other, push each other, and celebrate with one another as we triumph over the workouts and our own perceived limitations. We will unite together and challenge ourselves as a community, to compete against the rest of the world.

The Open is a fun, exciting, challenging experience each year. And we would encourage you to visit the CrossFit Games website (www.crossfitgames.com) and learn more about it and having done so, consider participating and joining the CrossFit Country team. If you have questions about the Open, you can ask any of the coaches at the gym. We look forward to the 2014 Open Season and to completing the Open WODs with you each Friday!