Here we are, it’s that time of the year.
Blizzards, Heating Oil Bills, and the CrossFit Open.
They all suck, but some suck more than others.
CrossFit boxes all over the world have been inserting WODs resurrected from past Opens into their weekly rotation.
In the past week I have done two of them (13.2 & 15.3) and I was pleased that even after almost a year off from CrossFit, I’m faster and stronger (even though I’m older) than I was when I did them before.
Have you ever noticed how long it takes people in your box to commit to do the Open?
The reasons are varied.
- I’ve only been CrossFitting a short while, I don’t think I can do it.
- I did it last year and I found it very stressful.
- I think they keep making the workouts ridiculously difficult.
- They seem to be only targeting elite athletes.
- I already pay $200 a month to do CrossFit, I don’t want to give Glassman $20.
- I’ve never competed in CrossFit.
- I’m afraid I’ll get hurt.
I’d like to take a moment to address these typical reactions.
I’ve only been CrossFitting a short while…
Look around you. It’s a safe bet that most of us are not looking at any Regionals or Games competitors in the room.
If you’ve only been doing it a short while, then you owe it to yourself to taste the excitement that is the Open. Every week the workout is announced with a great deal of theatrical fanfare and two CrossFit Gladiators step into the arena to show us how it is done.
No, they are not showing us how we will do it, because we are not elite (yet). They are showing how commitment and dedication pay off with strength and endurance.
Don’t be intimidated. After all, you have the option of Scaling the WOD anyway.
I found it very stressful…
Of course you did, because it is stressful. But not all stress is bad for you. Identify the source of your stress. Is it any different than every other day you step into the gym? If so, why? It’s just another WOD. Never forget that. Some are strength focused, others are MetCons. Either way, some will play to a strength or a weakness.
Now, if you tend to be a Cherry-Picker like the author of this post, then I guarantee this WOD will suck for you. But the odds are very good that you will not die as a result of the workout. AND you may have fun, and be fulfilled by rising to the challenge.
There is no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone.” – unknown
They keep making the workouts ridiculously difficult…
Maybe they do, but do you know why? Because every year, people who are committed to the process of CrossFit actually get stronger and faster. But, for those of us who are not elite (yet), there is always the option of Scaling. Another point worth noting, you’ll be stronger in a year too. You scored 112 in an Open WOD last year. Today, you’ll likely score 130 or better. If you don’t participate, you don’t benchmark your progress.
They seem to be only targeting elite athletes…
Let’s be realistic. There are two key points about the Open. First it is the joy of playing, it is the camaraderie of doing this with your box mates, and being able to compare scores with your cousin in California. Secondly, it is the selection process for the Regionals and the Games.
As a spectator, when I go to the Regionals, or when I’m streaming the Games to my laptop in the office, I expect to see the best of the best. The Open provides that filtering process, where the exerciser gets left behind, and the athlete moves on.
I don’t want to give Glassman $20…
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this one. I understand that CrossFit is an expensive endeavor. I really do. But paying $200 to your local Box Owner has nothing at all to do with Mr. G’s fortunes. Apples and Oranges.
So here are your three choices (I just added a bonus while editing, so four choices):
- Register and pay your 20$ to play
- Show up at your box (unregistered) and do the WOD anyway
- Don’t do it at all
- This is a bonus – If you’re injured or overly cautious, show up anyway, you can judge contestants and encourage your friends.
#1 is the only choice where you put skin in the game. #2 is just another day at the box doing Workout of the Day. #3 is exclusively for Cherry-Pickers or Sour-Grapes. #4 is being a good friend to your box mates and a help to your coaches.
A stumbling block to the pessimist is a stepping stone to the optimist.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
I’ve never competed in CrossFit…
This is a legitimate concern. However, the only person you have to compete with is the person in the mirror. Once you have done an Open, your mind reveals that you possess the potential to exceed your own expectations.
The Open may be the first time you have ever submitted yourself to being judged on every rep. No Bro reps. No mis-counts. Your judge will tell you to lock-out at the top, or to squat deeper. No shortcuts.
You will find you are stronger in body, mind and spirit, than you had ever given yourself credit. That is a fact even if you do not have a single point on the leaderboard. Because you did it, and you didn’t stop until the clock said so.
I’m afraid I’ll get hurt…
This one is primarily your own responsibility. If the Open WOD exceeds your ability, then you must Scale. If the Scaled WOD exceeds your ability, then you scale again, even if it means no points on the leaderboard.
The fact is simple, no one knows what movements or skills are going to appear over the next five weeks. But you can bank on one thing, most athletes in your box are going to get a curve ball tossed their way. Can’t do Muscle-ups, well suck it up. If you feel confident that you can try without injuring yourself, give it a go. If not, it’s simple walk away and live to fight another day.
It’s a game. There are winners and losers. The winners are on the podium. For us losers, there is no CrossFit Ribbon for participation. But if you remember why you started this in the first place, you are already a winner. You may have dropped 20 pounds off your frame, you may have added 15 pounds to your lift, or taken 11 seconds off your time. You walk taller. Your confidence is obvious when you walk into a room. You’re healthier than you were last year, and you’re a role model for your friends and family.
I’ll be 65 for the 2016 Open. Who are my peers in my local box? I have none. 20 year old ladies are outlifting me, outrunning me, outlasting me. And the guys? Forget about it.
So for a Master athlete, the Regional and Worldwide leaderboards are a treat. Once a year, I get to see how I stack up against hundreds of other guys like me, who refuse to be over the hill.
So for the next five weeks, suck it up. Spend 10 to 30 minutes a week, in distress, to gain an amazing amount of satisfaction and joy with some sweaty friends.