The CrossFit Open: Why We’re In

by Carina Morgan
The CrossFit Open: Why We’re In

The CrossFit Open is in full swing, and if you’re an active member at a local CrossFit box, chances are you’re gearing up for 19.3 this weekend.

With last summer’s big announcement that changed the structure of The Open, there seems to be less hype around the annual throw down – which was to be expected. With the restructure, Glassman had hoped to not only pull back financial investment in The Games (it’s become increasingly more expensive to host the annual championship as it grew exponentially), but also put less emphasis on it, as he felt it didn’t reflect CrossFit’s core mission.

“…. [M]aybe 300 – 500 affiliates [have] sent an athlete to the CrossFit Games. But 1,500 or more who’ve shaved 100 pounds off a member”, Glassman said. “The miracle at the box is the health​ … ​[t]he plan is to restructure the company, de-emphasize the Gam​es, ​change the very structure of the Games to something that’s more sustainable…”.

So, while some competitive athletes may have lost their path to The Games through the restructure, for most of us, The Open remains an annual self check-in to test our mental and physical capability and have some fun along the way.

Some of the Territory crew is working hard to complete the workouts and test themselves from where they landed last year. They shared their personal take on why they’re participating in The Open and what it means to them to be competing:

Jen, Content and Communications Director

“I’m doing The Open as a reminder that I can do hard things. It’s a chance for me to focus on and improve my mental game, as I’ve come to learn it’s my mind that gets in my way far more often than my body does. For me, The Open means less about how my performance compared to the rest of the world’s and more about the personal improvement from the year prior, while acting as a forcing mechanism to tell the parts of my brain that are scared, intimidated, and confidence-starved, to shut the hell up and get out of the way.”

Tara, Head of Marketing

“The community piece of CrossFit is a big part of what keeps me coming back and The Open really highlights the best parts of working out as a team. I love that I can compare experiences with friends across the country and it is also a reason to push just a little harder than I normally would. I will say that the added pressure and hype can stress me out a little, but after the workout is over I’m always glad I did it.”

Andy, DC Community Builder

“I do The Open for two main reasons. First, as a pedestrian CrossFit athlete, I love the fact that I literally have no idea what’s coming. It’s the unknown that excites me. I’ll see the WOD on Thursday and there’s more than a 50% chance I’m going to say “oh, hell no” at first glance. Then on Friday, I roll my carcass out of bed, freak out about strategy until I get to the gym in the afternoon, and see about a dozen other friends equally ‘nervicited’ (equal parts nervous and excited) to do something hard.

Second, as a coach for the past 6 years, I love The Open because you see the embodiment of perseverance each week. People pushing their comfort zones, 6 full minutes of muscle up attempts in hopes of getting their first, or to string together some toes to bar, or to whip themselves in the shins throwing double under after double under. Then, it clicks. Or maybe it doesn’t. But they tried, and they held the standard. And when it’s done – we pick them up, give them a hug and celebrate the achievement of someone else. And that’s pure magic.”

Sarah, SF Culinary Manager

“Two weeks into Open 2019, I’m conscious of the monumental contrast between last year, Open 2018, when I was weeks away from delivering our baby girl, and the year before, Open 2017, where I managed to earn the last Individual spot to the California Regional (my sixth trip) and ended up finishing 13th despite there not being a barbell in sight. This year, I’m doing The Open to go back to the simple joy of having fun with my CrossFit fam. I hope to exercise semi-competitively, to pace myself appropriately, to push myself a little harder than I normally do, and to see whether in any small way, I’ve still “got it”.  I plan to join in a little friendly banter, try not to get double lapped by my training partners, and to shoot a text or two about how many water breaks I took across the country to my friends who’ve moved away. And when I put it that way, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

Philippe, Head of Digital Growth

“I really like the community aspect of The Open. To me, it’s fun to do the workout and be able to talk about it with my friends, commiserate, talk strategy. You just don’t get that outside of CrossFit and it’s super dialed up during The Open. Makes it fun. Painful, but fun.”


Danielle, DMV Culinary Manager

“I love the feeling of being on a team. I was a three season athlete in high school and college, and have sorely missed that feeling of having teammates, competing for something together, using one another as motivation. Participating in The Open with the friends I’ve made at my gym feels like the closest thing to competing with a team!”

Carina (yours truly), DFW Culinary Manager

“This year is a little bit different for me. In the past, I’ve always put a ton of pressure on myself to compete in The Open to do better than the year before and show my improvement. Last year was for sure my peak, and in the last 12 months my priorities have drastically shifted. I know I won’t score as high on the leaderboard or beat my scores/percentiles from last year. I’m participating in The Open this year to show myself that doing my best where I am currently at is more than enough, even if that’s not my all-time peak. I want to prove to myself that I can still show up for myself, even when I know I’m not the athlete I used to be. And I think that’s really powerful.”

As you can see, the Territory crew has some really motivating and inspiring reasons to participate in The Open. If you’re also participating, some key takeaways from our team to keep in mind:

  1. Do The Open for YOU. The only person that matters is you, and you’re only really competing against yourself.
  2. Remember how far you’ve come. It is so easy to get caught up in the current skill you’re struggling with, or wish you did a little bit better in a workout. I love to have athletes think back to a few years ago, or when they started. What were they struggling with then, that’s now a breeze? It’s easy to forget all that you’ve accomplished when you’re focused on what you haven’t. It’s a great practice to bring yourself back to the beginning sometimes.
  3. You can do hard things. You can do SO much more than you think you can, and The Open can help prove that to yourself.
  4. Embrace the unknown. Just like you never know what workout is coming out next week, you never know what life will throw your way. Embrace it, roll with it, and give your best effort, whatever it looks like in that movement.
  5. Your community is everything. They’re supporting you, cheering for you, and want the best for you.

Why are you participating in The Open? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear what motivates you!

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