What is the Open? Written by Coach Korey
What is ‘The Open’? The Open is a worldwide online fitness competition that kicks off the qualification process for the Reebok CrossFit Games. The Open is a five week long competition, where one workout is announced each Thursday. Athletes have until Monday afternoon each week to complete the workout and post their scores online. Each workout is judged in order to maintain the integrity, repetition and movement standards. In 2017 there were nearly 400,000 people worldwide who competed, with athletes ranging in age from 14-60+. The Open is for everyone, not just the top 0.01%.
There are a variety of divisions within the open. There is the RX division, which primarily consists of men and women ages 18-34. There are Masters Divisions, which are broken into 5 year increments from 35 years old to 60+. There are teenage divisions, broken into a 14-15 year old division and a 16-17 year old division. And on top of all of that, there is a scaled division within each and every age division, making the Open even more inclusive. Everyone can play.
This year we will have heat list sign-ups for Friday, with heats starting at 5:30 PM. If you can’t make Friday evenings, message one of our coaches to coordinate a time where you can be judged. Please sign-up by Thursday so we can have the heat assignments ready for Friday. There are a lot of athletes in the gym and not all of our coaches are available all the time, so it is your responsibility to coordinate and complete the workout.
RETESTING…In years past we have allowed everyone to retest Open workouts as many times as they would like. This year, we want to encourage people to give their best effort in their first attempt and trust their effort was enough. A lot of us get caught up in what the leaderboard says about us. You may feel great on your performance inside the gym, but then you check on the leaderboard and start to second guess yourself. Retesting will be allowed, but only for certain circumstances, i.e. equipment breakdown, illness, or if a time extension is within a few repetitions.
Mindset is something we all have heard of. But it’s not necessarily something we have all put into practice. Everyone reading this puts in a lot of time training in the gym, that’s not a question. And physical training is obviously essential in a competition that is all about physical capacity. But training to have a stronger, more positive and resilient mindset is just as crucial.
Having a positive mindset is a major factor in performance. Being able to have a positive outlook on a workout is a difficult thing to do. Especially when it’s filled with movements that aren’t necessarily up your alley. But we need to learn how to shift our viewpoint. Rather than looking at a workout and thinking to yourself, “Well, this is gonna suck because I can’t X, Y, and Z.” Look at the workout as a time to push yourself and put yourself up to the challenge. The same is true with what we say and express out into the world. Everyone at some point, has walked into the gym and immediately complained about something. “It is so hot today” or “Why are we doing snatches again today, I hate snatches”. Everyone has been there, I’m sure we can all admit to that. But what we all have to realize is that expressing those things out into the world, or having a negative outlook is NOT going to help the situation. Is the workout going to be hard? Yes. Is that movement you’re scared of going to push you? Yes. Those things are good, those are the reasons why we do what we do. So the next time you come into the gym, and you hear yourself complain or gripe about something. Catch yourself and try to rewrite that feeling into something positive. And if you hear someone else doing the same thing, let them know (In love) that negative attitudes like that are not what we want to foster at CrossFit UpCountry.
Prioritize the task at hand. This is a huge thing for athletes to learn. Imagine you walk into the box and on the white board it says.
30 Minute EMOM *Every Minute on the Minute*
Minute 1 – 20/15 Calorie Row
Minute 2 – 15 Burpees
Minute 3 – 20 Thrusters
That sounds like a doozy, and maybe you sike yourself up enough to give it a go. Round 1 is done, you did it all RX. Then you get back on the rower, you barely make it off before the next minute starts, but you keep going. The rest periods get shorter and shorter, and your heart rate gets higher and higher. You look up at the clock and see only 9 minutes has gone by, you still have seven more rounds to complete. Then that thought creeps into your head, “God, this is so hard, how can I do this for 21 more minutes?” That little thought leads to more little thoughts until all you are focusing on is negative emotions. Does that sound familiar anyone? It sure does to me, I’ve been in those exact same shoes more times than I can count. CrossFit is hard, and sometimes it feels like suffering. But when we shift our attention from our task at hand, to the workout as a whole, it can feel very daunting. That’s why we need to prioritize and focus on what we have in front of us in the moment. If you’re on that rower, don’t think about the burpees and the thrusters, keep rowing and concentrate on accumulating those calories. When you finish that, make sure all your energy and attention is about burpees. We have to learn to break things into manageable chunk size bites. Everyone has a different way of going through that process, but just remember, don’t think about anything but what you are doing in that very moment.
Controlables vs. Uncontrolables…this is a topic (like many of the others covered here) that Ben Bergeron has really honed in for his athletes. As an athlete, there are only about five things you have control over. Your training, your sleep, your recovery, your nutrition, and your mindset. Everything else, is completely out of your control. You can’t control how well your best friend completed the workout, you can’t control what Dave Castro programs week to week, and you can’t control the thousands of people on the leaderboard beating you. The only thing you can control, is you. So many of us get caught up in worrying about what this or that person did, rather than focusing our time and energy on how we can make ourselves better. So remember, it’s you against you, nothing more and nothing less.
Full effort is full victory. This is a paraphrased quote from Gandhi, which CrossFit Invictus has coined and made the center of their organization. Essentially, it means that your value is not tied to your performance, it is tied to your effort. I have had athletes in the past tell me, “I’m sorry” after a workout was done. Maybe they felt they could have done better, or maybe they felt I thought they could do better. I don’t want anyone to have to apologize for giving their best. Scores and numbers come and go, but your effort is what remains. Your value as a person is not defined with what number you placed on the leaderboard. Your value comes from you as a person, it comes from your character. And above all else, that is what we are striving to create. More than anything, we want our community filled with people of great character. Character first, fitness second.
“Satisfaction lies in the effort, not in the attainment, full effort is full victory.” –Mahatma Gandhi
Core Values is something I believe everyone should focus on. Athlete or non-athlete, it helps make you accountable to what you truly value. Your core values should be anywhere from 3-5 things. Any more than five items makes it difficult to manage. They should be defined as to what they mean to you and you should have them written down so that you can reflect on them daily. Relationship, Service, Integrity, Fitness and Excellence. Those are my core values. I have them all written down on a sheet of paper, all defined as to what they mean to me, and it is on my fridge so that I see it every day. It acts as an accountability tool to keep yourself in check. If relationship is a value of mine, I can assess what I’m doing day to day to see if that is leading me closer to my value, or if it’s moving me farther away from it. Like I said before, character above all else. Great athletes come and go, and a lot of them don’t make a significant mark on the world outside of their performances. What we want is to help each and every one of you become the best you can possibly be. If we all can continue to push ourselves to be our very best, inside and outside of the gym, our impact will be much greater than a score on a leaderboard.
Sign up, compete, and have a blast. Cheers to the 2019 CrossFit Games Open!