I am a little late to the party writing this but none the less, after some interest in my experience here goes. I never in a million years thought I would ever type the title above, I mean ME doing CROSSFIT let alone THE CROSSFIT OPEN, so let me tell you how this happened to be.
Late last year I found myself a coach, nearby to the gym and a place that I would feel challenged, and most importantly a place I could trust the program and coach to stay aligned with my goals.
When the Crossfit open came around, being totally honest I was really just so unaware of it all happening, I have so much respect for the athletes and Crossfit gym owners, it was just something I never considered to be for me. Walking into the gym one day, my coach says "Guess what we are doing today?" I straight away looked at the board and saw 18.1 written in huge blue letters, I knew instantly what it was.
I have been training consistently for 7 years but from spending so much time working on running, this felt like something so foreign, I have never felt more nervous before a workout. So off we went, I did the scaled options and every single workout challenged me more than even I expected. For me, over those 5 weeks I learnt so much about my own mental capacity as well as my own body. I kept this pretty quiet from a lot of people, it wasn't to hide what I was doing but I was doing this for me and only me and that in itself was a big deal at the time as I adjusted to so many new roles in my life.
Overall, there were a few key things I could take away from the experience
- Don't be so quick to judge, Crossfit has developed so much in the last few years. I am not a Crossfit coach nor do I intend on being one BUT I believe that every coach and learn something from every training method.
- It's ok to fail. I had no choice but to be ok with not getting some movements (well a lot of them) but the difference is, now I know where my weaknesses sit and I know what elements I can be working on.
- Mentally, I was able to see how I spoke to myself. It took me a while to realise that before I entered a workout, I was already talking myself out of it. Already convincing myself that I couldn't do XYZ as well as the other person. These are thoughts that hadn't crept in for a very long time so for them to pop up now was very confronting but also a way for me to realise that it was time to revisit some self care practices and mentally tougher workouts to challenge my thinking patterns during stress.
- Sometimes you need to trust yourself and let go of the drama. I will self admit, I was so dramatic during the open - telling myself I couldn't do certain things, getting frustrated and being an a-class prima donna. At the end of the 5 weeks, I realised that I just have to get on with shit and that includes that workout I don't necessarily always feel like doing to all the nitty gritty things I need to address during the day.
The point of this post is not to say that one mode of training is better than another, the thing is - it can all work depending on your goals. I had a great time during the 5 weeks of the Crossfit Open, I gained some pretty big take aways, mostly about my own actions and thought patterns but importantly, I was able to challenge myself physically and psychologically through exposure to something that simply is not my 'norm.'
Where to from here? I have kept up my training, working on weaknesses that were highlighted during the Crossfit Open as well as ensuring I have a strong foundation to be moving my body as I do both physically and psychologically. My training hasn't changed, it has advanced because I have been able to be so much more self aware.
It may not be for everyone, but it was an experience that I will more than likely revisit next year - if for nothing else other than it was just good old fun and even better knowing that there are thousands of people out there grinding it out in the same way.