Rowan – Why Do The CrossFit Open?

If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are? – T.S. Elliot

So what’s it all about?
The Open is a global series of workouts held across a number of weekends where every CrossFitter who registered for the event has a chance to see where they stand against their peer group. If not for that reason, then the Open is also a chance for you to take a typical CF workout and give it everything you’ve got in somewhat of a competitive environment. Whatever your reason for considering it, I can tell you that it’s well worthwhile.

Workouts are released Thursday evenings and everyone has a chance to complete the prescribed workout before Monday evening – no exceptions. That’s a great way to make sure that everyone gets equal treatment.

For a lot of us who have difficulty with certain movements, there are scaling options which means that literally everyone can take part. That’s something I really like about CrossFit – it’s very much a community approach where everything is geared towards inclusion.

Why consider it?
If you’ve already joined CFI, then you’ve made an important and positive step in the right direction. If you have any feeling of reluctance to take part in the Open it’s most likely driven by some kind of self-consciousness. How will I compare? Will I make an ass of myself? Will everyone else be so far ahead of me? What if my times are crap? What if I fall way behind my own expectations?

Let’s face it, we’re all tuned to be self-conscious at some level, but if you think about it, everyone else is exactly the same and everyone at CFI will only want you to do your best and enjoy it. Remember that everyone else there was a beginner at some stage so they know what you’re feeling.

So what’s it like?

I joined CFI in November 2016 so I still consider myself as a newbie – there’s a long long list of things I want to improve and I’m learning all the time; about the movements, about managing the workouts and about my limits (that is, my current limits). Genuinely not knowing what to expect, I went into the Open a few months later. I knew I’d be out of my comfort zone and that I probably wouldn’t compare well with others doing it, but I also knew that only good would come of it. At this stage in my life, the only person I tend to complete with is myself, so I had the attitude to give it a go, try as hard as I could, and focus on enjoying the process.

There’s a lot of organisation and management involved in those events for all athletes so yeah, it’s a bit frenetic – but that energy is pretty infectious. You see people laying it all out there heat after heat, and you feel very much a part of it all. Everyone suffers with a smile and there’s a huge amount of encouragement and teaming. I remember feeding off the energy of others and being really inspired by some of the athletes. Seeing someone like Gabbie almost ‘end herself’ on the rower and then the heat after, have her shouting me on – I guess that’s what it’s all about.

When it’s all done, in many respects it’s just a set of workouts where you give it your best, whatever your aspirations. The only judgement is your very own personal judge, but other than that, it’s all goodness.

So will I, or won’t I?
If this will be your first open, it may start as an individual endeavour, but it will undoubtedly end up feeling like a collective experience. We all want to improve, to be our best and to reflect well, and doing the Open will tick all those boxes for you. I was 3 months in the door and didn’t know many people when I did it, but I can guarantee you it’s not something you’ll regret. Go on, give it a lash, good luck and enjoy the process.

To remain indifferent to the challenges we face is indefensible. If the goal is noble, whether or not it is realised within our lifetime is largely irrelevant. What we must do therefore is to strive and persevere and never give up – Dalai Lama XIV

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