17 Reasons You Should Sign up for the 2017 CrossFit Open
This coming Thursday, CrossFit HQ’s figurehead Dave Castro will launch into the first of five inexplicably long and awkward workout announcements. When all is said and done, every Thursday night for the next five weeks, we’ll all eagerly wait for the Godfather of CrossFit to slowly extract every syllable from his own mouth with abated breath.
Despite Dave Castro and the overexuberant HQ broadcasts, I’d like to encourage every single one of you—even if you’ve only just graduated basics—to sign up for the CrossFit Open this year. Here’s 17 (topical, right?) reasons why:
- You’ll get to know everyone in the gym a little better – You’re all brothers and sisters in arms, so to speak. Panting, sweating, collapsed on the floor while your judge is asking for your signature—you’re all in this together! New to the gym? Completing the same workout to the best of your abilities and sharing a few drinks after are a great way to get to know your fellow members better. Ask any member, and they’ll likely tell you that the Open and the Members’ Comp are great for fostering friendships within the gym.
- Movement Standards – Movement standards?! Yes. Movement standards. You’ll be exposed to having to maintain proper standards and technical aspects of whatever movements are thrown at you while you are trying to move as fast as you possibly can. Mechanics, consistency, intensity. It’s a real eye opener, and I guarantee it’ll advance your training in every other class you attend outside of the Open. It’ll challenge and change the way you move. Instead of a coach attempting to cue you into a correct movement pattern, he or she will be forced to “no rep” you, which leads me to my next point.
- No Rep – Is this guy serious?! Yes. I am. Being “no repped” can be an incredibly frustrating experience; ask anyone who’s completed an Open before. That ego check, and the frustration that accompanies it, is another challenge that will mess with you mentally. This is an opportunity to strengthen your mindset and overcome adversity on a relatively inconsequential scale (unless you consider post-WOD bragging rights of great significance), which will help you in both a gym setting as well as in your day-to-day life. Changes in mindset can go a long way!
- It’s a lot of fun! – I know I haven’t really sold it to you yet, but I assure you that you will have a hell of a lot of fun because you’ll be pushed harder and further outside of your comfort zone than you’ll likely go in a regular class. Just think Members’ Comp times ten. When it’s time to take your place in a heat, the emotions and excitement coursing through your body are hard to match, even if you’re only really competing against yourself.
- You will PR – It may not necessarily happen during the Open itself, but I guarantee you that you will discover a lot more about yourself than simply pushing yourself through five gruelling workouts in front of a bunch of loudly cheering CrossFit enthusiasts and their friends and family. It may be mastering a skill, like double unders, or stringing together more toes to bar or pull-ups. Whether it’s moving safer, better, or faster, you’ll have at least a handful of takeaways that will help you guide your training goals and intensity both during and after the Open.
- There are theme nights – That’s right. 17.1’s theme is “Tight and Bright”. Ask anyone from the British Isles, and they’ll happily assure you that anything is better when you involve costumes—they may even throw in some rowing advice free of charge! We are having a different theme each week to help you guide your potluck contributions and fashion choices. We’ll also be providing a bar for you to carry on with your Friday night after the workouts are finished on a weekly basis. Crush your workout AND get crushed by an ill-advised game of “Death by Shots” or an attempt to overhead squat a bouncer—win-win, really.
- There is a scaled division – Unsure about those Rx movements? Worry not. For every Open workout, there is now a scaled option as well, which will allow you to move safely with intensity, if you are uncertain you’ll be able to safely complete a certain movement or workout.
- Weaknesses and Gaps – The Open will expose the areas you personally need to improve on. This may be both the harshest and most useful takeaway from the Open. Unlike anything else, it will expose the areas you lack strength, skill, or mobility. This will help guide movements you need to do more of, either with the help of one of your coaches via personalized programming or personal training sessions, or to give you an idea of what you should be doing instead of simply rocking bench press and bar muscle ups during Open Gym hours every. Single. Time.
- Build a Better Relationship with Your Coaches – One of the biggest things I remember about the first time I participated in the Open was how much Dan’s personal game plan for me helped me perform better. Andrew’s warmups and workout breakdowns helped prepare me better, and Daniele’s words of kindness when I failed miserably at a movement helped me feel better about the frustrating minutes I had just spent trying to complete a movement I wasn’t very good at. Having that experience and that post-WOD beer with your coaches help you get to know each other a little better, which isn’t always as easy to do when there are classes following one another.
- You get to talk about CrossFit even more – Need I say any more? You’ll also get to know Marino, if you don’t already, as he’ll be sure to help push and offer encouragement to each and every athlete competing. Of course, if you’re feeling bold, feel equally free to talk about non-CrossFit related topics as much as you’d like to.
- Community – I know the words community and CrossFit are practically synonymous, almost considered cliché—some might say “Cultish”. Nothing displays it better than the Open. Many of our members fully embody it. Even if you’re not ready to compete on Friday nights, come by and check out the atmosphere. It truly is incredible.
- The Pressure of Competition – The crowd; the judge; having your name called to warm up for your heat; having your name called to take the floor; having to sign off on your score, these are all things you aren’t regularly doing when attending your 4:30 PM class. Simultaneously stressful as hell and completely invigorating, you’ll discover an element of competitiveness you rarely tap into.
- “The Open Jitters”– For five weeks, you’ll constantly find yourself scouring Dave Castro’s Instagram account, sifting through the photos of handguns and motorcycles for those inexplicable “clues” on offer. Once you’ve found out what is in store, you’ll find your mind constantly reverting back to the workout in store. You’ll visualize, strategize, re-visualize, re-strategize, assure yourself you’re going to crush it, consider quitting the Open, consider faking an injury, browse Amazon for carbon fibre exoskeleton suits to wear under your workout gear, and even allow yourself to briefly dream about making it to Regionals. Not since your teenage years, or last year’s Open, have you suffered from nervous excitement like this.
- The number of times you’ll have to pee prior to your workout – see point 13. Talk to your coaches and fellow competitors for tips to help master those nerves.
- See how you stack up globally – The Open is open to competitors from across the globe. It’s an interesting way to see how you stack up against all of those other mere mortals competing in boxes just like ours across both our region as well as on a global scale. Pretty neat to see.
- Understand just how insanely fit CrossFit athletes really are – Somewhere out there, there’s a teenager warming up with your PR. There’s also Rich Froning, and the Icelandic women… Seeing their scores compared to yours is a dump truck-sized serving of humble pie.
- It’s like CrossFit Christmas – In some strangely masochistic way, we all live for these five weeks of the year. It’s a time to put everything you’ve been working on for the past year into practice, in order to see how you measure up both within the gym and across the planet.
Dave Castro is our weird, Santa Claus-like figure; the mastermind that presides over a cohort of assistants who have spent months trying to come up with the most ingenious combinations of movements and rep schemes that will put every CrossFitter on the planet through all of the emotions listed above. It’s a beautiful time of year!
A strange cocktail of a remorseful sense of dread and eager anticipation accompany the five weeks that have once again arrived at our doorstep. Come be a part of it. I promise you won’t regret it.