I want to start by saying that I love the open and what it stands for. I love that people from all across the world, from world class athletes, to stay at home Mums, to middle aged men to retirees can complete the same WOD within a given time frame, in a supportive and all-inclusive environment.

The ‘2020 CrossFit open’ was my second time participating in the open. My first one (along with a lot of others at the box) was 7 months ago in Feb/March. And what a change I’ve noticed in that 7 months. I am a firm believer in taking positives from any given situation, but also taking ownership for something when I am not at my best, and finding ways to improve. I love a good learning opportunity, and this is my reflection on the open and what I took from it.

1. Don’t compare yourself to others.

With a leader board in play and having to log our scores every week, it’s only natural we will be comparing ourselves to others within our respective categories. It might be disheartening to learn that after 20.1 that you fell into the 35th percentile in your age group worldwide (true story – the burpees had me). This is exactly why I don’t pay much attention to the leader board – It’s a virtual Debbie Downer sometimes. It’s also hard to not compare yourself to others at your box who you might deem to be of a similar fitness level to you (not just in the open, but in everyday training also).

The thing we need to remember though, is that everybody is on their own journey, and no two journeys will be identical. Joe Blow’s journey will be different to mine. Mine will be different to someone else’s.

Look in the mirror – that’s your competition.

2. Be happy with your efforts and celebrate your successes.

Not every WOD is going to be in our wheelhouse. What one person perceives to be ‘a great WOD’ others may approach with apprehension and flat out fear. The way I look at a workout is simple; As long as I have put in what I consider to be 100% of my personal effort, I should be happy with the outcome. A good example of this was my 20.2 attempt.

If you break this WOD down, each round counted for 34 reps (4 DB Thrusters, 6 T2B and 24 double-unders). My overall score was 108 reps. this equates to being in my 4th round (4 thrusters and 2 T2B in) and there are 30 rounds on the scorecard… It would be easy to look at this and think to myself ‘wow, only 4 rounds… everyone else got into double figures with their rounds, what a run-of-the-mill effort.’ However, in an ordinary class, 20 T2B (albeit singles) would be a fantastic effort and celebrated. So I choose to look at my effort in the latter light. “It’s not what you look at that matters, It’s what you see” – Henry David Thoreau.

3. You are capable of more than you think.

Somehow we pull off more than we believe we are capable of during the open. It’s like we possess some sort of superhuman abilities in this 5 week block. PB’s with weights, newly acquired skills, more reps than previously achieved and just generally pushing ourselves beyond what we perceive our limits to be. The open has taught me that I am capable of more than I believe I am capable of… if I put in 100%. I’m sure this rang true for many others too.

“Your faith can move mountains, but your doubts can create them” – Anonymous.

4. Change doesn’t just happen, it’s a result of hard work.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like hard work” – Thomas Edison.

After having a good look inward, the open has highlighted to me that I have become complacent in my everyday training. I don’t believe I put in 100% every single time. Sometimes, I simply rock up and just go through the motions – which is entirely fine to do, we aren’t competing for games spots after all. But as a competitive person who craves progress, it feels like I am doing myself a disservice by being lacklustre.

Moving forward, I am taking the opportunity to put in 100% and be more meaningful in my practices. From the warm up, to the skills, to the WOD and post WOD stretching. Not because I feel pressured to, simply because I love doing what I do. If I didn’t love learning and pushing myself physically and mentally, I would have quit a long time ago. I will learn to love the grind, and learn to love the process. Yes, I will even scale back the weights in favor of nailing technique, and go back to basic body weight movements to help master more complex movements.

5. Jump out of your comfort zone once in a while.

You may just surprise yourself.

In all honesty, I was daunted as heck at the prospect of being a ‘team captain’. I even went home and had a little meltdown about it. “I’m not a leader – I’m a follower, I just do what I’m told!” “I can’t even organise myself, how am I going to be responsible for others?!” The internal monologue went into overdrive. It was catastrophizing at its finest.

I eventually sucked it up and got on with it. I decided to draw from past experiences and just put some basics out there… “Don’t forget to eat a solid lunch the day of the WOD, as working out on an empty stomach may not end up so well”. “Stay hydrated”. “Eat a small meal or snack 30-60 minutes prior to the WOD, simple carbs to help fuel your workout”. I posted a few other bits and pieces about mindset (indulging my own personal interests), and sharing my game plan with my team (just as a rough idea on one way of approaching the WOD). To my surprise, it turned out to be a really fun experience.

What really surprised me though (and my biggest lesson from the open), was how much I enjoyed helping my teammates through their WOD’s. Giving little tips to help proficiency and providing encouragement to others has been the absolute highlight of my open experience.

6. Embrace your community.

We cheer for each other, we celebrate others’ victories and help each other achieve beyond what we think we are capable of. This is particularly abundant in the open. But we also see this in the everyday WOD and also in our skill sessions. Where else can you get that? I believe that CrossFit (and particularly Daylesford CrossFit) is unique like that. And the open exemplifies it.

If you go into any’ run of the mill’ gym, you will see a group of people with similar goals, but they are mostly strangers, working out alongside each other. Nobody is there to cheer them on when they’re about to hit a PR, nobody to share their pain, and nobody to high five them or congratulate them at the end of a particularly grueling workout.

Our community is one to be embraced and appreciated.