Why the CrossFit Open is More Than a Fitness Competition
If you’ve been in a CrossFit box the past few weeks, chances are you’ve heard about the Open. It’s got everyone in the CrossFit community buzzing and the atmosphere is heated up. In fact, 4 of our very own members are taking part this year for the first time. But what is the Open and why should you care?
For the uninitiated, the CrossFit Games Open is the largest all-inclusive fitness competition in the world. Hundreds of thousands of athletes from all over the world take part in this five-week competition annually from the comfort of their own box or CrossFit affiliate. A new workout is released weekly for athletes to perform and submit their scores online which will then be reflected on a leaderboard.
This may all sound very intimidating and possibly seem to have very little to do with you. If you’re anything like me (this writer has only had about a year plus of CrossFit experience), you may be wondering what all the fuss is about. However, as I’ve learnt over the past few weeks, there is more to the Open than just a fitness competition.
Firstly, let’s hear from the participants themselves on why they chose to sign up for the Open this year:
“This is my first time taking part in the Opens and the reason for taking part this year was because my husband is participating too. Doing the Opens together [helps to] foster our relationship even more and it gets our Son who is doing CrossFit Kids excited too. Participating in the Opens also helps me face my weak areas positively.
What would I hope to achieve? To get out of my own comfort zone and have fun measuring myself with the rest of the athletes in the world [who are] a great source of inspiration.”
“Knowing myself as a more conservative type, I signed up and committed myself to the workouts (not knowing what would be thrown at me..) so that way I hope I can step out of my comfort zone.”
- Eng Chuan
”I have never been a sporty person in the past, but in the past 2 years, CrossFit has changed my life! There was a paradigm shift in my mindset. It is no longer a chore to ‘workout’ but rather seeing myself as an athlete and training to be fit. So this year I felt it was time to challenge myself by taking part in the Crossfit Opens! I was also motivated by my friends in the box, to be involved and conquer our first Opens together! I hope that the Opens will give me a better insight into CrossFit as a sport as well as insight to myself both physically and mentally!”
As we can see from their responses, the Open is an opportunity to go out of your comfort zone and in turn get to know yourself better. Being thrown new workouts and a variety of movements (dumbbell lunges and toes-to-bar anyone?) every week certainly makes you face what you’re weak in but also realise your potential when you manage to push out a PR or successfully perform a movement for the first time. This opens up areas for improvement and ultimately helps you work towards getting fit holistically.
Now that we know more about how the Open might benefit participants, what’s in it for those who aren’t taking part? In my humble opinion, it’s about community. CrossFit has always prided itself on the sense of community it provides and the Open seems to be no different. Whether at the box or online, I have witnessed fellow gym members and friends cheering one another on with fierce enthusiasm. It is the screams of encouragement that get athletes through the toughest parts of their workout because they know they are not alone. The high-fives after the workout, slaps on the back, celebratory pictures #forthegram – we find joy in our friends’ successes together. On the other hand, we also learn to empathise and share the same feeling of pain(?) when a new crazy workout is released that promises to work the muscles like never before. A common topic of interest brings people together, and this is the season of the Open.
So the next time you see a friend doing the Open, be sure to encourage him or her because it’s certainly not an easy journey. Here’s wishing all athletes all the best for the remaining two weeks of the 2019 Open!