The Crossfit Open The positive & negative effects within the box

First of all I would like to congratulate every person who entered the open and pushed themselves harder than before.

This is the 4th year Crossfit GFP have had members enter the open and the growth this year has been massive.
  • 2015 – 1 person (approx 2% of members)
  • 2016 – 4 people
  • 2017 – 19 people
  • 2018 – 40 people (approx 30% of members)

Essentially I see the open as a way of individuals to really test themselves against the world and make big improvements on fitness goals that as an individual you have been working on throughout the year.

This year we have seen PB’s everywhere, from cleans, to thrusters, from reps on Hand stand push ups and double under. We have seen people achieve their first pullups and muscle ups

This is fantastic and a massive achievement for those individuals but what about those who don’t like the competitive side of Crossfit and just want to ‘get a bit sweaty’ or those who did enter the open because they were told ‘anyone can do it’ but where even the scale was too challenging they ended up standing around for 20 minutes?

As a competitor in the open I love the anticipation of the WOD reveal, but was left a little disappointed when my ‘affiliate owner’ hat went on and I looked at the scaled – The open is meant to be all inclusive for all ages and abilities, but what about the overweight 45 year old female who can Overhead squat and skip but who can’t pullup? Their workout ended after 2 minutes in a 14 minute time cap! This same workout I scaled to see what it was like, and I have to say I really enjoyed it but it could have been a little harder – so I wonder if an option would be to have 3 options – RX and 2 scaled options??

I also know that every box will have some people who LOVE Crossfit, love the environment, love the camaraderie, love pushing themselves, but when it comes to the open, because they might not want to pay the open fee or because they quite simply don’t want to do the open this member can feel quite isolated which is completely the opposite to what Crossfit should be about.

I thought about rescheduling Open workouts out of our normal Crossfit times to benefit these members but this would be impossible for people who want to do the open and work normal office hours it would also come at a cost, as we would have to pay the coaches to coach these extra open sessions.

How about the Affiliate owners who have to make last minute plans for the open and quite often do not have the space or equipment for what is thrown on them at the last minute.

I know for my box, we have 2000sq feet to play with but hour long classes and WOD’s that are 20 minutes long but in some circumstances we need to fit 3 heats in because of space and equipment then it really does become a headache. If I purchased what we really needed for the open, I would have had to spend another £500+, yes we would use this equipment throughout the year if it was there, but it wouldn’t be essential.

Some of the workouts this year were fantastic and really pushed people to their limits, however to run these sessions in a box where you have multiple people working at one time was often a logistical nightmare, however this has improved from previous years!!

To buy a licence for Crossfit is a lot of money per year, I believe its well spent but then you have to pay to the judges course every year, not just the affiliate owner but coaches at the gym, you could easily spend another £100 and even then 5-6 coachers who have completed the online judges course is not enough people to judge 40-50.

We, in the end had members who had not seen the online course judge for some competing, and as much as they try to judge fairly, nobody wants to ‘no rep’ their friends so standards are not met which then unfortunately gives a massive inconstancy and therefor can you really compare your position against someone else?

I have spoken to other box owners and it seems to be the same throughout.

But lets go back to the positives, the buzz around the gym is amazing weather its Friday night or Monday morning, to see members giving it their all to better themselves, The encouragement from member to member supporting and offering words of wisdom to their new friends,  to hear members say ‘I can do this’,  to have the same members who were disappointed on a Friday night with their score, and to come back and smash it out again on a Monday evening and obliterating their previous score is always a privilege to see and something that I would never want to see disappear but to please everyone I think there are a few things Crossfit HQ can do to help:

  1. Send a pre-open list to Crossfit affiliate owners on what equipment will be used
  2. Have a 3rd scaled option to be more inclusive – Make option 2 harder but option 3 even easier then what is currently available
  3. Include X amount of judges spaces available as part of the affiliate fee
  4. Be a little more thoughtful with the Workout planning  – Plan for 10 people to be working in a small spaces rather than 2 people working in a specifically designed studio

And what can affiliate owners do for Crossfit and their members:

  1. Maintain high standards of judging
  2. Plan better for those who do not want to do the Open workouts
  3. During regular Crossfit classes Coaches could be more strict on movement standards as long as there is an explanation for ‘no-reps’ people will be (should be) Understanding and wanting to improve their movement standards.
  4. Over the next year gradually buy some incremental plates and the pattern seems to be 15kg & 22.5kg dumbbells
  5. Talk to member in advance about the benefits of the open, collect quotes and posts from members this year who have benefited from the open and use them next year as inspiration to other members.