The CrossFit Open: Misery Loves Company
Each year, CrossFit HQ puts on the CrossFit Open, the first step on the road to the CrossFit Games. For five weeks, from February 23rd until March 27th, a series of five workouts can be completed in a CrossFit affiliate gym, a home gym, or wherever a certified judge is available. The workouts are released every Thursday night and competitors have until the following Monday at 8pm to complete the workout and post their scores. The scores are then verified by a judge and posted to the CrossFit Open leaderboard.
For the world’s elite CrossFitters, the road begins with the CrossFit Open, then to CrossFit Regionals, and ideally on to the CrossFit Games held this year in June in Madison, Wisconsin. This “elite” group equals about 0.17% of the number of people who register for the Open. That’s 0.17%!!! At this point, you might be thinking that I’m nuts and there’s no way my math is right. However, according to the CrossFit Games website, 324,307 people registered for the Open in 2016 and only the top 40 Men, Women and Teams, 80 Teen athletes, and 220 Masters athletes made the Games. That equals about 0.17%. Now you’re probably thinking I AM crazy and why would anyone put themselves through five grueling workouts only to come nowhere near the top of the leaderboard and nowhere near making the Games?!? Well, I’m going to tell you exactly why.
Some people, like me and Coach Hunter for example, register for the Open because it’s the quickest way to learn what we need to improve. This sounds TERRIBLE in theory. Why would anyone in their right mind pay $20 to enter the Open just to be reminded of what they are bad at for five weeks? Well, I want to know what my weaknesses are so that I know where to focus my efforts in the gym. These workouts can also serve as a baseline for improvement. Open workouts going all the way back to it’s inception in 2007 tend to pop up in various affiliate programing throughout the year. Jim has programmed numerous Open workouts from previous years and, although I may dread them, it’s great to compare where I was last year with where I am today, and to see if I’ve improved. It also allows Open participants to see where they stand on the leaderboard in comparison with people in their state, region and nation. It really is a great tool even if you are like me and end up being ranked 2434 out of 4000 women in your region.
However, possibly the best and most important reason to register for the Open is for the community…hence “Misery Loves Company”. It’s much easier to suffer through a difficult workout with other like-minded people than to do it alone. Open participants in CrossFit gyms around the world are going to be doing (and suffering) through the exact same workouts that you are, which makes it go from merely feeling “bearable”, to actually pretty fun. In addition, since this is the start of the CrossFit Games season, many gyms hold special events where members and coaches watch the online event announcement of the workouts and then do them together, followed by dinner or drinks or just lying on the floor catching their breath!
The workouts have a way of bonding people together. You may end up working alongside someone you don’t normally work out with to complete a serious test of your will and strength. Members from the morning classes will join members from the evening classes. People who never come to the gym on Saturdays will experience how awesome the Saturday environment is. Members who only work out on Tuesdays and Thursdays may work out with members who only work out on Wednesdays and Fridays. And most often, you’ll find that the person who finishes last benefits from the loudest cheers…it’s the CrossFit way. The sense of accomplishment you have when you are done is overwhelming. A year from now, you may look back to that person who completed the workout with you and say, “do you remember how terrible that was? It was a such a good time, wasn’t it”? IT IS AMAZING.
This year, at CrossFit 15-501, we’ll be doing something special with the Open. Regardless of whether or not you register for the actual Open via https://games.crossfit.com, are an “elite” athlete, or have just started your CrossFit journey, everyone has the opportunity to participate. We will be running a team-based competition where members have the opportunity to earn points for their team by doing everything from completing the workouts, to winning a workout, to cheering on others, etc. The idea is that we’ll be bringing members together from within our gym and giving them a singular goal…to work together to accomplish something great as a community. The details of the CrossFit 15-501 Open competition are being finalized and will be posted soon.
The Open truly is a great opportunity to become more involved in the CrossFit 15-501 community. After all, isn’t that what we’re all looking for these days? A community of people, gathering together to do something that we enjoy and celebrate the fact that we are capable of things we never thought we could or would do. All of this probably sounds a little bit insane but I promise you that registering for the Open and the gym competition is something you will not regret. The sense of community and accomplishment that accompanies each and every one of the workouts is one of the most amazing things you can experience inside a CrossFit community. As a member of the CrossFit 15-501 family, I can’t wait to experience it with you all.