Each year, every sport you can think of crowns a champion. In football, it’s at the Super Bowl. In Baseball, you’ve got the World Series. In Hockey, they play for the Stanley Cup. No matter which sport you follow, at the end of the season, there is but one champion. CrossFit, the sport of fitness, is no different. Each year, the CrossFit community crowns both a male and female champion at an event called The CrossFit Games.
But, CrossFit is different than the other sports, in that if you showed up at a football playoff game and asked if you could play, you’d likely get laughed at, or tackled by a 300-pound lineman. Or, maybe both. But in CrossFit, not only are you welcome to play in the playoffs, it’s encouraged!
What is the CrossFit Open?
OK, real quick, for those who may not know what the CrossFit Open even is. The CrossFit Open is a global competition that is open to all members of the CrossFit community. The Open lasts for 5 weeks, with a new workout being announced each Thursday, that you must perform and submit your score online by the following Monday. The scores are tallied and the top finishers in each region advance to Regional events. From those events, the top finishers move on to the CrossFit Games where the champions are crowned.
In 2016, the Crossfit Open had 324,000 participants from 175 different countries. 7,500 in the teen divisions and 60,000 in the masters (us older folks) divisions.
I know what you’re thinking, “I’m not even close to the best person in my box, why would I even consider competing against the entire world?” That was my initial thought, too. For most of us, the thought of making it to Regionals is a fantasy. And that’s OK. The CrossFit Open is about far more than advancing to the next round, and I’m here to tell you, there are a number of reasons why you, yes you, should absolutely sign up and compete in the CrossFit Open.
5 reasons to participate in the CrossFit Open
1. All the workouts can be scaled
I have a confession. I can’t do muscle-ups. But, you know what? I’m still signed up for the Open.
Each Thursday when the workouts are announced, they provide a scaled version of the workout for those of us who may not be able to perform a movement or lift the prescribed weight in the RX version of the workout. There are also accommodations made for teens and masters.
No matter your skill or fitness level, each and every workout can be scaled to a point where you can participate. Nobody sits out!
2. You will surprise yourself
There’s something special that happens during the CrossFit Open, and I’ve seen it time and time again. When the clock start and there’s a judge keeping score, people tend to find another gear. That weight they didn’t think they could lift, it goes overhead. That AMRAP they were expecting to get 4 rounds completed, they get 5 and a half.
Last year, the 3rd week’s workout was an AMRAP that included 10 power snatches and 3 bar muscle-ups. That weekend on social media, there was post after post after post of people who were elated to submit a score of 11 after getting their first ever muscle-up. It was amazing to witness.
3. Build Community
Thousands of CrossFit boxes around the world will all be taking part in the Open. On Thursday evenings, some CrossFit boxes will have viewing parties to watch the weekly workout announcement. This event often turns into a strategy session where athletes start coming up with a plan on how they’re going to tackle the workout.
Then, on Friday or Saturday, many boxes will hold a special class where all the members will come and do the weekly workout together. For most gyms, this means running the workouts in multiple heats. So while you aren’t working out, you’re there to cheer on your fellow athletes. The shared experience of stepping outside your comfort zone can build new friendships and strengthen existing ones.
4. Set a bar for next year
When I first started doing CrossFit, it was only a short amount of time before the CrossFit Open took place. I kept telling myself I wasn’t ready for any sort of competition. Finally, a friend told me the exact reason why I should sign up and compete. Because if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have the data to compare against next year’s Open.
In CrossFit, we track everything. Each workout goes into a journal or an app so we can refer back to it later to compare our scores and see how we’ve improved. We’ve got benchmark workouts that we constantly use to evaluate how we’re doing. So why miss out on the single biggest benchmark of the year?
As I’m getting ready to take part in my third CrossFit Open, I’m thankful that my buddy talked me into it that first year.
5. Have fun
I’m not going to make it to Regionals. Chances are, neither are you. But at the end of the day, there’s something just downright fun about doing a really tough workout with a group of friends.
Don’t miss out on the 2017 CrossFit Open. Registration is open now at games.crossfit.com. Sign up today, you’ll be glad you did.