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The emotional roller coaster of the CrossFit Open

Against your deepest fears you decided to sign up for the CrossFit Open. Your coaches continued to gently pressure you, your fellow members continue to encourage you. Ultimately you went ahead on and signed up! You were nervous but secretly excited.

You sat with apprehension waiting for the first workout to be announced. You find out what it is – you’ve been assigned and you think “I can do this!” You plug away for 20 minutes and viola- you’ve completed your first open workout and you feel pretty good about it “I can hang with this CrossFit Stuff”

Week 2 comes along and here is a workout you can do RX! If not Rx, a workout you feel confident about. You can do all the movements without any major scale! You plug away at some squats and Burpees, maybe even PR your clean and you think “I’m ready to go Rx!” You leave feeling accomplished. You’ve got swag in your step again. You’re killing it.

Week 3 comes along and with it the realization you can’t do the RX version and crap! Maybe not even the scaled version! But you have signed up and you’re going to see it through. The workout starts and off you go seemingly to struggle through movements you cannot do. You try and try and the clock moves and moves. The time cap is met and you haven’t even got 1 movement of the RX or Scale. You think to yourself “the Open is pointless, I can’t even do the workout Scaled” you leave feeling discouraged and disappointed.

You have just had some serious highs and lows and this was all supposed to be for fun, why do I feel so discouraged?!?!

This is not unique feeling to you, everyone feels this way from beginner to the top athletes – it’s the trigger of that feeling that’s different, for some it’s not finishing in the top 20 for others it’s not getting that first muscle up or pull up .

We often refer to CrossFit and Fitness in general as a Journey. Journey can be defined as “an act of traveling from one place to another.” Indicating your starting somewhere at some point and aiming to reach another place. In our case, that starting position is (for the most part) the ground level of fitness or lack of and we are striving to reach a higher level of fitness – that is moving away from sickness, into health and finally fitness.

That journey is specific to the individual taking it. The CrossFit open is not designed to weed out the People that are not fit enough. The CrossFit open can be used as a tool to help us identify which areas we can point to for improvement. Maybe its heavy lifting for some others may be CrossFit gymnastics.

The rate of improvement varies drastically person to person based on a number of factors, from body composition to experience in specific sports.

One thing that is for sure, women have a harder job of gaining upper body strength in relationship to their male counterparts (I have a complete post dedicated on that subject).

The pull up ends up being the status qou of upper body strength but should be by no means passed up as a simple exercise. To go from zero pull up to 1 strict pull up can take countless hours of building the foundation of strength in lats, biceps and anterior deltoids that’s necessary to get your chin over the bar without using the momentum of a kip swing.

The focus should always be on mastering the basics before moving up to more complex movements. We would never have you do a snatch if you can’t do an overhead squat. So, we must follow the tedious task of slowly mastering basics then and only then moving to the next progression – build a strict pull up, master the hollow hold, create a glorious kip swing then the Kipping pull up. This might take a week or a year and really it doesn’t matter either way.

This isn’t just about the pull up. This can be applied to any movement in CrossFit. Be consistent in the mechanics of the foundational movement’s then progress.

We have found a way to make fitness fun and part of the fun is improving. One way we can measure this progress is through the CrossFit Open. Enjoy the process, trust the process and remember how far you have already came in YOUR own personal fitness journey.