5 Things The 2017 CrossFit Open Taught Me About Myself

April 3, 2017

2017 crossfit open

The CrossFit Games Open is the yearly competition which leads elite athletes into Regionals, with around half a million athletes worldwide signing up to join in. This includes teens, masters, teams, newbie CrossFitters, and those who have been doing it since day one. But they’re not all going to Regionals – there are only 50 spots per division. So why do we do it?

This was my second CrossFit Open, and I do it for the camaraderie with my fellow CrossFitters, but also to benchmark my progress. Last year I set the bar, and I was really keen to prove my progress over the last year during the workouts. Read on to hear about my five reflections on the past five weeks and how they compare to my 2016 attempt.

I’ve progressed more than I thought.

Firstly – and probably most importantly – my CrossFit has come on further in the past year than I imagined. I RXed the entire Open, got more toes-to-bar in one workout than I have done in total before, and even got 12 chest-to-bar pull-ups. I also gained 31 extra reps in the repeat workout – you can read about last year’s experience here – and finished the final workout, which was a gassy thruster workout both years, three minutes faster. I realise I have a long way to go, but it’s definitely a boost to see how far I’ve come.

I still need to work on my engine.

There again, I feel like this is forever going to be on my to-do list, as the harder you push yourself, the harder it feels. Burpees and wallballs still gas me out, but have I really gained no fitness on those in a year or did I simply push myself harder? I have no heart rate data from either 2016 or 2017 to judge whether my engine has improved. It’s time for me to start taking notes and making records on my heartrate and times during gassy WODs to find out whether or not my fitness is improving.

It mattered where I did the workouts.

At my level, I feel like it matters where I do workouts like this. I’m comfortable in my box – I know which bar on the rig I can grip the best, I know how our barbells feel, and I can easily find all equipment I need. I tried out doing 17.3 at CrossFit Thames and couldn’t get one chest-to-bar pull-up – not even close. I was ready to try doing the workout scaled just to get a score on the board, but back on my comfortable bar on the rig, managed to get two sets of chest-to-bar pull-ups and post an RX score.

This all may seem like a no-brainer, but this is an important learning as I start to take part in CrossFit competitions. I can’t decide that I can’t do pull-ups because it’s not my sort of bar – I need to be able to perform movements in a variety of conditions.

Judging is harder than it seems!

This year I took the CrossFit Judges’ Course so I could help the coaches out, and do I ever have a newfound respect for judging. Counting reps – and remembering where you’re up to! – is difficult enough, but add in telling your friends that they’ve done a no-rep during the depths of a dark workout makes it harder still.

I’m also more conscious of my standards after taking the course so when a judge no-reps me, I’m aware of what I need to do the next time, so it’s worth taking the course if you’re looking to compete

I now get that Open ‘feeling’.

From seeing my boxmates smash their workouts to getting my own PBs, I finally got that Open ‘feeling’ you see all over social media during the five weeks of the competition! Last year I expected way too much of myself and went in each week worked up, then felt disappointed afterwards when I didn’t do as well as I hoped. This time I chilled out and simply tried my best, and reaped the awards for doing so – not only the scores on the board, but my enjoyment and being able to enjoy others’ successes, too.

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Sarah fitness blog Manchester


Welcome to That Squat Bot! I'm Sarah, a Personal Trainer based in Manchester, UK.

I love strength and functional training, but I also love trying different types of movement and using my fitness outside of the gym. I'm vegan who loves avocados and vegetables as much as I love a great veggie burger. I'm also a massive Marvel nerd!

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