2014 CrossFit Open Wrap-Up

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We few, we happy few, we band of competitive exerciser brothers; for he today that WODs with me shall be my brother…

The 2014 CrossFit Open is over. (No, I didn’t win. But, “There’s always next year,” as the Cubs fans say.)

No more anxiously awaiting the workout announcement on Thursday night and cursing Dave Castro (Director of the CrossFit Games) immediately after the announcement.

No more Fridays spent endlessly watching .

Worst of all, no more Saturday morning throwdowns, where all of us competing in The Open, gathered and tackled the workouts together.

The Saturday morning atmosphere was incredible, tons of energy, enthusiasm, and encouragement–we were all in this together. We shed blood (I know I left some on the pull-up bar), sweat (most definitely), and tears (just ask Jenna about 14.5).

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“The greatest adaptation to CrossFit takes place between the ears.”

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I am incredibly proud of each and every one of the CCS&C athletes who signed up and accepted the challenge of The Open. Most of us had no chance at all of moving on to the next level (or even being remotely competitive), but that isn’t why we did it. Each person had their own personal reasons for signing up and each person learned something about themselves in the process. However, I think there was one universal discovery in which we could all agree:

You are capable of so much more than you thought possible.

Get out of your scaling rut

One significant challenge of The Open is that each workout must be performed as prescribed–no scaling. It seemed that every week brought new challenges, and every week, everyone rose to those challenges–sometimes accomplishing movements they had never even considered attempting in a workout.

You can’t scale life.

We train to prepare our members to handle whatever physical challenges life my throw at them. Someday you will be tested.

Maybe your most extreme test will be carrying 15 grocery bags in one trip. Maybe it will be sprinting down your driveway to catch your toddler who just made a break for a busy street. Maybe you’ll need to do a strict muscle-up to pull yourself over a tall fence. Maybe you’ll need to carry your unconscious husband/wife/son/daughter out of your burning house. Could you do it? Will you be ready? There’s no scaled option.

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If you want to become a better athlete, spend more time working on those things you do poorly. That is your greatest opportunity to improve. If your strength is lacking, then most of your training should be strength work. If your conditioning sucks, then you should be spending most of your time conditioning. If you only work on the things you’re good at, then you’ll never improve.

I’ve been doing CrossFit for about 2.5 years and my gymnastics movements are horrible. I’ve rationalized it away in countless ways (I’m concentrating on strength, I’m a bigger guy, those aren’t my goals, etc, etc, ad nauseam). The Open has been a wake-up call and by next year’s Open, I will have muscle-ups, chest-to-bar pull-ups, handstand push-ups, and toes-to-bar. I want my score to be determined by my will and not limited by my lack of ability.

Competition breeds intensity

CrossFit teaches that intensity is the variable most associated with positive change. The more intensity you put into a workout the more your body will adapt and get better. In our everyday WODs, we often get in the habit of only attempting the same movements and weights every time. As soon as we see pull-ups, we head straight for the band…when we see the prescribed weight, immediately cut it in half. As soon as we get out of breath, we slow down and take a break.

But, when you compete, an amazing thing happens. You push just a little bit harder. You go for one more rep before resting. You run that 400m just a little bit faster. Do that consistently, and before you know it, you’re stronger and faster than before. A little bit of intensity pays large dividends.

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The Open is just for advanced athletes, right?

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Isn’t The Open is just for the younger members?

Heck no! It doesn’t matter if you’re 22 or 62, The Open is for you. There are several Masters divisions for our 40+ members and once you hit 55+, then there is a special “scaled” workout. Some of the most inspiring stories come from our Masters athletes.

But I can’t do muscle-ups (or pull-ups/double-unders/toes-to-bar/)!

That’s OK! Sucking at something is the first step to being sorta-good at something. The absolute worst thing you can do is avoid something because you can’t do it. We do things we can’t do in order to learn how to do them.

There are countless stories of athletes getting their very first double-under, chest-to-bar pull-up, muscle-up, toes-to-bar, etc during a CrossFit Open workout. There is something special about that little extra boost of motivation that competition brings to finally push you over the top.

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When was the last time your tested yourself?

The CrossFit Open is a brutally honest wakeup call. It mercilessly exposes your weaknesses that you’ve been rationalizing away in your head. Plus, when you take it in the proper context, it’s just plain fun.

So challenge yourself — sign-up for a CrossFit competition, sign-up for a GORUCK Challenge , sign-up for the Spartan Race…

Remember, you are capable of so much more than you think.

We’ll see you at next year’s Open . Big things are coming. The hardest part is signing up.

See you in the gym,
Coach Brian

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