CrossFit is Important for Older Athletes

This one’s going out to our older generations, but we all need to read it.  If you’re in your 60’s or 70’s, this is urgent news.  If you’re in your 40’s like me, this is maybe a rude awakening – you’re getting old, bro! – and also a call to action.

Imagine yourself way beyond what we would call our “athlete years”, in your 80’s.  What do you look like?  What do you feel like?  Are you going on cool vacations to Hawaii, or Iceland?  Are you sitting on the couch every day because you can’t get up and do anything else?  Are you looking forward to those years, or dreading them?

CrossFit started as a workout regimen for the Fittest on Earth, to become – Fittest-er?  Greg Glassman moved from training his local gymnastics squad to training the Santa Cruz police force to training Navy SEALs and it blew up from there.  It blew up for a reason – because it’s AWESOME.  But I realize as I type this that not everyone thinks it’s awesome for the same reasons that I think it is.  We have barbells and protein shakes and pull-up bars.  Most other gyms or fitness routines do not.  They have machines, and tight-fitting shorts, and saunas.  All very cool, mind you – but not the best overall plan if you want to become and stay fit into your 80’s, 90’s, and beyond!

Here are a couple of reasons why you should do CrossFit as you get older:

CrossFit makes you strong, and the opposite of strong is weak.
Going back to your earlier visualization of your older years.  What do you look like?  Are you strong?

We train with barbells and dumbbells and sandbags and all kinds of fun stuff because getting strong and staying strong is super important as we all get older.  It’s as simple as this – if you’re not strong, you’re weak.

CrossFit makes you functionally strong.
​​​​​​​I know lots of older people who go to the gym on a regular basis, but are not fit in the way that I would hope they would be.  Can they walk for 50 minutes on a treadmill?  Yes.  Can they pick up their 50-pound dog that needs to go to the vet?  Absolutely not.  At a CrossFit gym, we train endurance, like walking, rowing, biking.  But we also train other functional movements so that we can all stay functionally healthy.  Squats, presses, pulls.  Can you imagine not being able to do that stuff in your regular life?

Thanks for reading, and for passing this on to your friends and loved ones – let’s all get more fit and strong as we get older!!

Ryan

Just Try It

“Just try it, you might like it!”

Those of you who have parented small children know that phrase all too well.  We put something in front of our kids that we know tastes great, and we’re just trying to get them to try it one time because we know they will like it if they just let down their guard and give it a little taste.  One of my kids would, I think, actually like something but pretend that he didn’t just to stay entrenched in his position but that’s a different story.  He even did it with chocolate ice cream.

When we’re trying to convince our friends or family to try CrossFit it can be very similar to getting a child to try a new food.  We know that they will like it if they just stay open to the possibility that it could be tasty (food) / fun (CrossFit), and we know it’s even good for them.  What a win/win!  But they are distrustful and feel like somehow the wool is being pulled over their eyes and they’ll be tricked into doing something terrible.  So, what now?  We are on one side, knowing it’s great, and they are on the other, knowing it will be different and uncomfortable.

Who is going to win this battle?  Maybe the one that compromises their entrenched position a little bit.  “OK,” we’ll say – “maybe CrossFit is not for everyone and some people actually don’t like it.  But I like it a lot and I think you would too, because you’re really a really good runner and you played soccer in high school and CrossFit feels like you’re working out with a team again.”

I don’t know a lot about debate, but this model sounds rock-solid and I’ll call it the “I’ll admit I might be wrong and you might be right, but here’s another reason why I’m right that includes something personal about you.”  Boom.

Then, we just ask them to try it one time.  We’re not asking them to commit to the 5am class for a month.  We’re asking them to come to a Saturday class with us one time.  If they hate it, then they win the debate and it’s over.  But if they like it, we have done something great for them, and started them on a path toward greater fitness and health.

I didn’t mean for this to turn into a lesson on how to sell CrossFit to your friends, but I guess that’s where we are.  You all are in fact our greatest marketing and sales reps because of how hard you work in the gym and the results that people around you notice, and ask about it.  “What are you doing, living in the gym?” – No, just one hour a day of CrossFit.

So one last piece to remind you of.  If you get your buddy, or your mom or your dogsitter’s sister to come to the gym and then they sign up for a membership, YOU GET $80 OFF YOUR NEXT MONTH.  And… THEY GET $80 OFF THEIR FIRST MONTH.  No referral code to use or anything, just remind me that you referred them and I’ll make the financial magic happen.  If it sounds too good to be true, it’s not, it’s just our best strategy to get new members because you know them, you’re vouching for them, and they’re going to stick around because they know you and now they love it.

Next week we’ll discuss how to sell ketchup popsicles to a woman wearing white gloves, but for now we’ll keep it easy.  Tell your friends that you think would like CrossFit about us, get them to JUST TRY IT one time, and then help them (and you) save money on a membership.

Train hard, tell your friends,
Ryan

CrossFit is for Everyone because Scaling is for Everyone

“CrossFit is for everyone!”
— All CrossFit Kent Island members

If you are a CrossFit enthusiast, or even someone who has heard of CrossFit, you’ve undoubtedly heard the quote above.  If you practice CrossFit with us at CrossFit Kent Island, you undoubtedly BELIEVE this quote to be true.  And I think there is an important distinction there.  If you’ve heard it but think there could be a “but… not really” to cap off the message, then you need to step into the doors of CFKI to see what all the fuss is about.

I’d like to propose a continuation of the quote, “CrossFit is for Everyone, because Scaling is for Everyone.”

Right off the bat, some of you reading this might ask, “but what the heck is scaling?”  Good question.  Scaling, as it relates to a workout, is modifying the movements or the workout itself to make it best suited for individuals of varying fitness levels or physical abilities.  For example, if our workout of the day includes a 225-lb back squat, but an athlete that I am working with can squat 200-lbs one time, I am going to scale the workout for him by decreasing the barbell load.  In the same workout scenario, if I have an athlete who recently had knee surgery and is advised to temporarily not squat with resistance, I might either have her do unweighted squats, or change the movement entirely to an upper-body or core strength movement.

At CrossFit Kent Island, our coaches are firm believers and practitioners of the “CrossFit is for Everyone” mantra, and we practice it every day with members from 12-years old in our CrossFit Teens class, to 75-years old in our CrossFit Light class.  These specialty programs are designed to optimize fitness for younger and older athletes.  But what about our regular CrossFit classes, with workouts that are designed to optimize fitness for the fittest among us?  These classes are attended by CFKI members that look like they can breathe fire, as well as members who just started and are still learning the ropes.  So how do they all coexist?  Appropriate scaling, by world class coaches who love to work with members of all fitness levels and abilities, all shapes and sizes, all ages.

For a great example of this, come to our Saturday 9am class and workout with Coach Jess.  Jess thrives with the near-impossible task of taking a Hero workout (notoriously difficult, even for CrossFit), and making it accessible by scaling for each person so that we are all getting challenged appropriately.  I take the Saturday class whenever I can, because I know Jess can help me put aside my ego and scale the workout so that I stay safe and come out on the other end more fit.  I might throw her an eye roll and pretend to not like her suggestions pre-workout, but during the workout it always seems like the right fit and I am grateful to have her on our amazing team.
​​​​​​​I hope to see you all at the next Saturday class!

“CrossFit is for everyone!  Just scale the damn workout.”  — maybe that’s the best version.

Train hard, stay safe.

Ryan

Get Outside… and Read!

Last night we had our first CFKI Book Club meeting in about 6 months, and it was great to get back into it!  The Book Club was born as an accountability structure for me, to hold me to my goal of reading one book per month, BACK IN THE DAY in mid-2022.  What started as a personal “mental mountain” training goal turned into an awesome way to connect with CFKI members on subjects outside of the perfect kipping pull-up technique.  We talk about the book we just read, sure, but we also explore all the tangential conversations that inevitably happen on the book’s application to our lives, and society as a whole.  We basically solve the world’s problems, in one-hour chunks every month.  We recently took a break from Book Club for what was supposed to be the busy winter holiday season and it turned out to be 6 months – and look what happened in the world!!  Ex-presidents getting locked up, dead whales being pulled from the ocean, Bay Bridge traffic.  I apologize for the longer break, but we’re back on it now!

The other great thing about getting back into reading right now is it’s one more great activity to take outside!  I think at least half of my reading this past month was done sitting on my back patio with a hot cup of coffee or a cold beer, feeling the warmth of the sun instantly improve my mood as I dove further into the next plot twist of my book.  If you’re trying to read more, and trying to spend more time outside – both worthy pursuits – here are a few pointers:

  • Don’t read in a hot tub or submerged in any other body of water.  If not for my cat-like reflexes I might have had to purchase a second emergency copy of The Food Explorer on June 10th.
  • Don’t read while sitting in the stands at a baseball practice, unless you are certain you are out of harm’s way.  But if you don’t heed this advice, if someone yells “heads up!”, you can use your book to shield your head.
  • Go ahead and grab that bookmark to save your place.  The wind off the Chesapeake Bay and nosy dogs will conspire to aggressively turn the pages the moment you walk away.
  • If someone walks by and asks “whatcha readin’?”, they don’t want the whole synopsis and your opinion on the author’s intention and political lean.  They just want to know the title, if that.
  • Quitters never win, and winners never quit.  Except on books.  If you really don’t like it, and you’re a third of the way in, just drop that book and pick up another.  Show up to the Book Club meeting anyway and say that you hated it.  That’s a great conversation starter!!

Our next book, to be discussed in mid-July, is Breathe: The New Science of a Lost Art, by James Nestor.  It was given to me by my father-in-law, who has given it to just about everyone he knows.  I’m looking forward to making a little time each day in my schedule to get outside and get into it.  I hope you will too!

Ryan

2024 Hero Challenge Partner: Adaptive Athletics Foundation of Maryland

At CrossFit Kent Island, our core values are Hard Work, Growth, Service, and Fun.  We put Fun last not because it’s the least important, but just because it’s good to remember at the end of the day what we’re doing should be fun.  And it usually is!  Hard Work and Growth are a symbiotic pair – if we focus on one, we’re going to get the other, and vice versa.  Service doesn’t necessarily fit in with the other three upon first inspection, and maybe that’s why it’s the one value that we need to hyperfocus on from time to time, because it is just as important as any of the others.  Living on Kent Island, on a sunny day like today when we really can enjoy all the benefits life on the Chesapeake has to offer, it’s good to bring back into perspective how well we are living, and how much we have to offer to others that need our support.  We need to focus on helping our friends and neighbors, and I’m proud that our community does have this inclination toward Service.

For this year’s Hero Challenge, our partner organization that we will be giving all of our proceeds to is the Adaptive Athletics Foundation of Maryland.  The founder of this organization is our friend John-Edward Heath, who is an elite adaptive athlete in his own right, a champion of adaptive athletes across the globe, and has recently started this nonprofit to lobby our Maryland state government to create legislation supporting adaptive athletes in our home state.

On May 16, 2024, Governor Moore signed the So Everybody Can Move Act of Maryland into law.  This requires prosthetic companies in Maryland to provide a second prosthetic for movement.  Before this law was passed, insurance companies were only required to provide one medically necessary prosthetic, and a running leg was not seen as necessary.  With this legislation, which John-Edward was highly involved with creating and pushing through Maryland’s congress, individuals with prosthetic limbs are now covered to also use athletic prosthetics and continue their development as athletes.

John-Edward realized that the next step was to create space for adaptive athletes to train, and we are currently lacking in adaptive gym equipment and trainers.  So, the next step for Adaptive Athletics Foundation of Maryland is to turn 10 gyms in Maryland into adaptive training spaces by providing grants to gyms for these adaptive equipment packages, as well as certifying 10 coaches with the Adaptive Training Academy.

Adaptive Athletics Foundation of Maryland is the bridge between knowledge, education, and equipment to help turn Maryland into the first all adaptive state.

This closely aligns with our goal to serve the military and law enforcement communities with our annual Hero Challenge, as disabled veterans will be supported in their health and wellness by having adaptive equipment in gyms throughout the state of Maryland.  We are proud to support John and the Adaptive Athletics Foundation of Maryland, and look forward to raising as much money as we can with event registration and raffle ticket sales.

If you haven’t registered for the event yet, you can do so here, and raffle tickets will be on sale soon and also live at the event.  So far we have eight great raffle prize packages that we will be giving away, with a few more being finalized.

Let’s continue to model our core values of Hard Work, Growth, Service, and Fun, and provide support to a great and worthy organization!

Ryan

Two Reasons You Are Not Achieving Your Goal

#1. You don’t try hard enough.  No, that is definitely not the case for those of you reading this!  As a CrossFit community, if there is anything that we do really well, it is try REALLY hard in the gym to get the results we are looking for.  It’s the whole competition thing, working out with a team or a buddy who is doing the same workout, and not letting up on the gas until they do, leaving us all in a sweaty pile on the ground after the final round.

So, if we have a goal in mind, and we keep on seeing it just out of our grasp, what is torpedoing our efforts?

Here’s the real #1: You Didn’t Write It Down.  Just above, as I wrote “a goal in mind,” I meant that literally.  When we think we have decided on a goal, it is still just a nebulous idea in our mind.  Having a goal in mind is a terrific start, and you’re a lot further along than many people will go.  But something happens when you write it down.  It becomes real.  It becomes a commitment.  So, write down your goal, and be specific.  Rather than blasting a full page of your journal with “LOSE WEIGHT!!”, how about “I am going to weigh 185 lbs by July 1st when I’m going on vacation.”
The other great thing about writing it down is that it is something that you can look at each day.  I have my purpose and my current goal in a Notes file on my phone, and every morning during my Morning Practice I will take it out and read it.  Then I match up my goal with my daily schedule and plan.  Do they match up?  What am I going to do today to make progress toward achieving that goal?  Does anything on my daily plan look like it will take me further away from my goal?  If so, that’s getting crossed off the list.

Secondly, you might not be solid on WHY you want to achieve that goal, so when push comes to shove, you will fold.  Your deep-seeded reason for wanting to achieve your goal is a very personal thing, and other people might not even understand it if you told them.  It might not be something that other people consider extremely virtuous – maybe it is that you want to look good in a bathing suit this summer!  But don’t judge it, or let other people judge you.  If it is important to you, and it keeps you fired up about achieving your goal, then that is what you lean into when the training gets tough, or when a situation comes up that could derail you if you let it.  Your WHY should be the deciding factor in which road you take – away from your goal, or toward it.
My WHY during most challenging endurance events that I have completed has generally revolved around not ever wanting to feel the shame of coming home and telling my family that I quit.  That embarrassment would be so painful for me that it has pushed me beyond my physical limits in training and in the event, and led me to accomplish my goal.  To me, that was a very strong WHY.

We all have goals that we want to achieve, and the best ones are pretty freaking hard to accomplish!  That’s why we are in this hard physical training game.  To give yourself the absolute best chance to cross the finish line, take the necessary time to Write Down Your Goal, and know WHY you are going for it.  With those two steps checked off your list, you will be unstoppable.

Ryan

KISS

“Keep It Simple, Silly”

When we take on a new member at CrossFit Kent Island, one of the first things we want to know is “what is your goal?”  Keeping the KISS principle in mind, I like keeping it to one goal, hence the singular – it is easier then to focus.  The number one answer is “to lose weight,” which is great because that establishes a vision in your head of the future – I look like this, and I’d like to look like THIS.  Perfect, we like that goal.

In order to help you achieve it, we need one thing from you – consistency.  We need you to consistently come into the gym, do our workout of the day, and go home with a smile.

If I’m trying to help a new member come into the gym consistently, I need them to be focused and motivated.  On weight loss?  That’s a good start, but it’s realistically more of a long-term goal, as all of us who have been on that path know.  So how about a more short-term target to keep their sights on?  Keep It Simple, Ryan – give them one movement to improve on, where we can see measurable results, and soon.  But there are so many movements that we practice in CrossFit, where to start?

The pyramid of fitness and health that you experienced CrossFitters might have seen starts with Nutrition at the base (see below for more there…), and then has Conditioning stacked on that, Gymnastics after that, Weightlifting next, and then Sports or applied fitness.  I can’t very well say, “get better at Nutrition,” and send them home where I can’t see them anymore.  I will address that eventually, but for now I’m going to move up the pyramid a bit. Sports and Weightlifting are super cool and sexy, but also complex and nuanced and take time to master.  What I can more readily improve, and if I do I improve everything else, are Conditioning and Gymnastics or bodyweight strength movements.

With all of my new personal training clients, one of the first things that I do is an assessment workout called the “Baseline”.  It is very simple and quick, and very effective at ferreting out a good Conditioning or Gymnastics strength goal.  Here it is:

“Baseline”
For time:
Row 500M
40 Squats
30 Sit-ups
20 Push-ups
10 Pull-ups

Imagine doing that workout.  What movement would give you the most trouble?  Could you complete some of the movements without having to stop, but one of them would need a lot of breaks?  Are there any that you can’t do at all?  Would the 500M Row be a tough way to start the workout, getting you really winded?

After completing this workout, I will debrief with my client and highlight one movement that, if improved, could make that workout go a lot faster if we completed it in another month.  And there we go – we have a short-term mission that will lead to consistent work in the gym and the overall result we’re looking for, whether it was weight loss or building muscle or a faster 10K time.

Going back to Nutrition, the same KISS principle can be applied, and I think this is the most common advice I give people who want to take the plunge into a weight loss plan.  If you’re asking, “what should I eat?” the KISS principle would dictate that we focus on one thing.  If you lay out your current diet over the last week for me and I notice a significant lack of vegetables, there it is.  Eat more vegetables.  The cool trick here is that vegetables contain a lot of fiber, which makes you feel full because our human bellies do not digest it very efficiently.  And because we do not digest it efficiently, we don’t absorb many calories from vegetables.  So, eat more vegetables = feel more full from eating = absorb less calories = Keep It Simple.

If you’re already a vegetable-eating pro, then you’re probably all set.  Two more KISS tricks to get on the weight loss train, master these one at a time.  Don’t regularly drink alcohol.  Don’t regularly eat (or drink) sugar.

No need to overcomplicate things!  Keep It Simple, Silly, and focus on one small thing at a time.  You’ve got this!

Ryan

CrossFit Open – Real Talk

We currently have 23 CFKI members signed up for the CrossFit Open.  This is the actual online competition run by CrossFit each year, rather than our Intramural Open.  I love that we have 23 athletes stepping up to take the challenge!  But I think we should have more.  My goal with this blog post is to convince one more person to sign up today.

I get emails from people or comments at the gym of, “I feel like you were writing that blog directly to me.”  In general, that is not the case.  But if you are signed up for the Intramural Open and planning to do the three weekly workouts, but not signed up for the CrossFit Open, I am now writing directly to you.

If you are currently training with CrossFit, then you should enter into the CrossFit Open.  Part of what CrossFit is about is measuring our results so that we can see improvement.  This is the only fitness program that I know of that does this on a consistent basis.  We track our results every day in the gym, and it becomes that much more important if we do a CrossFit benchmark workout, like “Fran”.  These are named workouts that we repeat on a regular basis so that we can see if we are getting stronger, faster, more skillful.  The CrossFit Open is the ultimate expression of that “measure to improve” idea within CrossFit.  Every year we take on the challenge of The Open as a benchmark test.  Over the course of three workouts, we will test different aspects of our fitness and come up with an overall result.  You can see what percentile you are currently at compared to people that are in your age group, in your city or state, country, or the whole CrossFit world.

So once again, you should do the Open this year, no matter your experience level.  If you don’t, one year from now you will be very disappointed in yourself for not having data on where you were in your fitness journey in the spring of 2024.  Do it for 2025 you, and you’ll be able to see your growth year-over-year.
Guess what?  The workouts are going to be hard, but only because you’re going to push yourself to do your best.  Because guess what?  You’re a badass, and that’s why you decided to go all-in on your fitness game.

A common question:  Should I “Rx” the workouts or do the Scaled version?  Bottom line – in the Open, if you can do the workout as “Rx”, you should.  If you can do 1 rep and meet the Rx standard, do that.  If you scale the workout, you will be ranked on the Open leaderboard below everyone that did the workout as “Rx”.  Remember, this is not a regular training workout, this is a test.  Max out what you can do per the Rx standard, and then move on to the next training day where we will encourage you to scale the workout as needed to get the best outcome for that day.  If you can’t safely meet the Rx standard of the Open workout, then we will absolutely scale the workout and get the highest score possible that way.

Again, treat The Open like an annual test.  What did you do on a test when you were in high school?  You did your absolute best, tried your hardest to get the best grade possible.  The same applies to your effort in the Open.  On Friday, or whenever you “take the test”, you are going to give 100% effort and max out your result – fastest time possible, most reps possible, heaviest lift possible.  This is not a training day, this is not supposed to get you more fit.  This is a test of your fitness right now.

Follow this link to check out more about the 2024 CrossFit Open, and get yourself signed up!

Ryan

4 Reasons Why You Should Not Do the Intramural Open… DEBUNKED!!

In my travels around the gym this week getting people signed up for the Intramural Open, I have come across some pretty good reasons people have offered for not joining in this year.  But one of my first jobs when I was in high school was as a telemarketer, selling magazine subscriptions to people over the phone that they did not want or need.  Don’t do that job, by the way, it’s horrible!!  But I learned how to not take “no” for an answer, and that persistence paid off in my new role as Alicia’s Assistant-to-the-Regional-Manager of the CFKI Intramural Open.  I wanted to echo some of the conversations I’ve had with you all, and offer up some answers to these 4 classic Reasons You Should Not Do the Intramural Open!

  1. I’m pretty new to CrossFit, I’m probably not ready for The Open
    • First of all, welcome once again to CrossFit Kent Island!!  The CrossFit Open and our Intramural Open is one of the most fun times of the year around here.  That also means it’s one of the best times to get involved and get to know your fellow CFKI members.  Be on their team!  Support them and be supported by them.  Going through something together with a team – it could be difficult or even super fun – is a proven way to bond together.  This will be a great way to REALLY get started with your CrossFit Kent Island experience!
  2. I probably can’t do the Open workouts “as prescribed”
    • No sweat!  There will be clear standards for the “Rx” version of each workout, but also standards for a “Scaled” version and a “Foundations” version for those of us just getting started with CrossFit movements.  You will get the same credit for completing the workout in any version, and you can switch versions from week to week.
  3. The Open workouts are on Friday, but I can’t always get there on Friday for class
    • That’s OK!  Completing the Open workout on Friday is not required – you have from Thursday at 3pm when the workout is announced live (https://games.crossfit.com) until Monday at 8pm to get the workout done, and the CFKI coaches that are on your team will make sure they can be there for you and help you complete the workout when you’re available.
    • Completing the Open workout is also just one way that you can be a good teammate!  There will be other weekly challenges, anywhere from physical challenges like most calories rowed in a week, to fun challenges like posting funny CrossFit memes for all to enjoy.  The whole point of the Intramural Open is to take the sole focus off of the weekly workouts and make it more of a community building experience!
  4. I don’t like being on a team
    • Alright, Grumpy McGrumperson, time to get out of your comfort zone a little bit.  Don’t you enjoy working out in a group class, vs. by yourself in a gym every day?  Remember the joy of winning (and the sting but also lessons learned of losing) that came with being on that high school team that almost made it all the way to States, BACK IN THE DAY (said in a cool Jocko voice).  This will be just like that, except no asshole coaches in tight shorts… unless you’re into that.

So, can I put you down for a 5-year subscription to Golf Digest?  Or maybe just start at a 2-year plan?

Ryan

The 2024 CrossFit Open

The CrossFit Open is near.

According to the CrossFit Games website:

Anyone, regardless of fitness level, is invited to join the largest participatory sporting event on Earth, where all members of the CrossFit community will have an opportunity to participate in the competition season.
Participants will complete three workouts across three weeks at their affiliates or home gyms. The workouts are released on the CrossFit Games website on Thursdays at 12 p.m. (noon) Pacific Time, and you have until Monday at 5 p.m. PT to do the workout and submit your score online. At the end of each week, you can see where you stack up by affiliate, age, or worldwide by viewing the CrossFit Games Leaderboard

The Open
 brings the CrossFit community together to pursue something that would not hold the same meaning or possibilities if we were just working out on our own. It’s the time of year when we see many people achieve significant firsts: PR snatchesthrustersmuscle-ups, toes-to-bars, handstand push-ups, and double-unders, as a few examples. The Open will provide you with interesting data on your performance in the gym, which can guide you when setting goals for the following year.
So, if you’re not in it to win it, the Open is a way to check in on your fitness, hold yourself accountable, stay motivated for the upcoming year, accomplish personal goals, and celebrate with the community. 

We are now a month away from the start of the Open, which will feature three weekly workouts to test our overall fitness beginning with the first workout which will be announced on February 29th.  Per the blurb above, there are three weeks where everyone is competing, and then there are further tests in the following weeks for the top 25% of CrossFitters in the Open who will qualify for Quarterfinals.
The time is now to focus your training plan on preparing for the Open.  This starts with workout selection and overall volume of training.  What we can expect in the Open is a combination of short, super-intense workouts featuring tests of strength and skill, and longer (20 mins) grueling workouts that require mental toughness to keep going.  But one thing we will not see is multiple workouts in one session.
If you have a goal to do well in the Open, your training volume should now be focused.  If you’re in the practice of doing multiple workouts per day, consider just one workout per day now, and focus on maximizing your effort and results in that workout.  Additional training time should be focused on practicing weak gymnastics movements and improving your mobility.  Doing multiple workouts per day will not allow you to maximize your intensity on each individual session and also will inhibit your recovery between training days.  You will enter into the first workout of the Open depleted, not at your peak.  Take the time now to dial back the amount of training that you are doing, and focus more on the quality of execution.

Speaking of quality, the other thing about the Open is that as fun as it is — and it awesome that everyone can participate no matter their experience within the sport — there are real, enforced standards.  That’s how we can use the Open as a feeder into the CrossFit Games!  What this means as far as the athlete’s experience in the Open is that rather than a coach letting you know you’re not getting your chin over the bar during your set of pull-ups, and suggesting some ways to improve, it will be more like a judge (a coach or another CFKI member) telling you that that rep did not count, you have to do it over.  If you are someone that has a hard time always meeting the movement standards, but you can do it sometimes, the time is now to meet the standard in your training 100% of the time.  Ask someone to watch you and call you out on your wallballs – “Am I squatting all the way below parallel?”  Fix your movement patterns now (and your mindset that close is good enough), so that the Open doesn’t turn into a hard-to-swallow pill that your perceived fitness level and your actual fitness level are not the same thing.
And once again, the Open is for everyone!  If there are movements that you cannot complete “as prescribed”, just like in a regular training day in the gym, there are scaled standards that everyone can do.  They might not be easy, as we all know a scaled workout is still a tough test to get through, but you will step up to the challenge.
There are also different standards on many workouts for masters athletes (35+), teens, and adaptive athletes.

If you can’t tell, I’m super pumped about the upcoming CrossFit Open and can’t wait for the excitement of the workout announcements live each week on Thursdays, the thrill of competing in this annual test, and especially for the new personal records that the adrenaline of competition often brings out.  We’ve seen many first pull-ups, first handstand push-ups, and muscle-ups come out of these springtime weeks every year!

You can learn more about how the Open works and whether or not it’s for you (hint: it is) at the CrossFit Open site here!

Ryan