I too had just joined a box this time last year as whispers of "The Open" began to infiltrate...
I didn't know what it was, whether or not it was right for me, if I was ready for it, or I would come out alive in 5 weeks... But don't worry, I did. It was actually awesome that it happened within my first month of Crossfit, because even though I'm not a true Crossfit-or-die type of girl, it showed me how great of a community it was and how much fun and intensity you can get out of it if you put in your all. (Or at least 40%, like I did, my first year).
So here's the lowdown. The Open is an open Crossfit event where people all over the world perform 1 prescribed workout per week. They perform this workout at a local gym, have their scores recorded and submit them online. That's the extent of it, for the average joe. For the ones who remain hardcore, this is where they compete for top scores to go on to regionals. Those who place top at regionals go to the Crossfit Games. The one male and female who win the Crossfit Games are deemed the fittest man and women on earth. There's even a documentary on Netflix of the 2015 CFG and seriously, its awesome. Finish reading this blog, then go watch it.
So if you're new to Crossfit, or just don't have all the full deets, here's what we can tell you with a side commentary from me based on my experience last year.
Important note to remember: I had been a member at my Crossfit gym for 2 weeks when the Crossfit games started. I enrolled anyway, did all my workouts scaled and came in DEAD LAST of my entire gym. But I looked forward to those weekly workouts in a gym full of pumped up weight throwers and had a great experience. So am I doing it again this year? Duh. Do I expect to do better than last year? Hell nah. Will that stop me? Shit no.
The lowdown on the Crossfit Open:
Pros of doing the Crossfit Open as a Newb.
1. Its a great way to meet the other people at your gym.
Your gym will most likely host an "open workout time slot" where everyone comes in on the weekend to do the workout. This makes it a great way to meet everyone at your gym. Especially since you'll be introduced to a minimum of 1 person - your judge - who will count your reps and cheer you on the whole time.
Some gyms even host viewings of the workout release on Thursday nights. Can you say hello social time!? What a great way to get in the zone and make new friends.
Your box may also set up The Open so that everyone is part of a team. This is self explanatory for friend-making fun.
2. Its a great way to see how intense and supportive the Crossfit community is.
There's nothing like a huge room full of fitness enthusiasts yelling and cheering on their fellow gym-goers while they throw around some heavy shit. My usual Crossfit time slot was at 6.30am so it was great to the see energy the gym could have after sunrise. Its a great way to stay motivated in your fitness quest and be inspired by not only the more experienced athletes, but also other newbs like you who are just there for fun and don't care about the competition of it all.
3. It supports the Crossfit community.
With the open, you pay a $10 registration fee which helps fund the community and The Games themselves. It also helps hype up your affiliate gym. Consider this your contribution to the Crossfit Community! Good for you! Plus, by the end of 5 weeks you'll get your return on investment; you can gather with your new Crossfit buddies and watch The Games at your local pub from August 1st to 6th.
4. You can still feel like a beast even though you're a total newb.
The best part about The Open, is that even if you do the scaled version, its still a great workout that you can look forward to. You're guaranteed to have a supportive audience for 5 weeks! For me its also great motivation to ensure I go to my classes throughout the week, work hard, and eat clean. It also helps that I schedule my Open WOD for Saturday morning - it means I have to behave myself on Friday night, which reduces beer calories and keeps money in my wallet.
An example of a Crossfit Open workout
Rx (aka Prescribed):
20 min AMRAP:
25 ft walking overhead lunges
8 over the bar burpees
25 ft overhead lunges
8 chest to bar pullups
Mens lunge: 95 lbs
Womens lunge: 65 lbs
Scaled (aka Modified):
20 in AMRAP:
25 ft front rack walking lunges
8 over the bar burpees
25 ft front rack walking lunges
8 jumping chest to bar pullups
Mens lunge: 45 lbs
Womens lunge: 35 lbs
Cons of doing the Crossfit Open as a Newb.
This is a fact. And its understandable. But you'll never know if you don't try. On the plus side, once you do 1 open workout, you'll have the confidence to strut into your average class throughout the week like its nothing.
2. You don't have the movement technique down pat.
This is a legitimate concern. Thats why its always recommended to do the scaled workout when starting out. The scaled version is usually a less technical way of performing an exercise. i.e. if you can't do chest to bar pull-ups, instead you'll place a plate under your feet, assume pull-up position, and then half jump/half pull to get your chest there. So don't worry, the game-makers have considered this as well (woo that makes it sound like the Hunger Games).
Also, if there's an exercise you're not sure of, spend your Friday/Saturday practicing the workout, and then perform your open workout on a later day. This will also help you avoid injury.
3. You're self conscious,
This is legit. But experienced Crossfitters at the Open are always appreciative of newbs who are down to try new things and are willing to go outside of their comfort zone. After all, we were all beginners once. So I would say, give it a go. And if you don't like it after your 1st or 2nd workout, there's no obligation to do the remaining workouts (as long as you're not part of a team and you're cool their their no-reimbursement policy for your $10 fee).
4. The workouts kick your ass
This is also expected. While some of the workouts may not be out-of-the-ordinary challenging, you're sure as hell going to give it your all while you're in a competitive environment, which can straight out drain you. So start to think about tactics to use within the workout before you perform it. Then be sure to have a proper cool down, stretch, and rest day if you need it. Then use the rest of the week to recover and go light at your regular classes if necessary.
5. You don't know if you can commit
Unless you're part of a team, this isn't a big deal either. In my first year I only performed 4 out of the 5 WODs because I was on a family vacation one week. I ended up doing the workout on the following Tuesday just to say I actually did it; which, given it was my 3rd week in the world of Crossfit, still felt like something to me. And if you go in it with no expectations, its ok to be there just for fun.
If not, oh well, maybe next year.
But if I have and you're pumped to register, go here now.
On The Go