Having FUN during the CrossFit OPEN!!

Letting yourself have fun allows others to have fun with you!

So I signed up for this thing called CrossFit. I joined my local CrossFit gym because I needed a change of scenery, I needed a change in motivation, I needed a change in programing – I just needed a change. Everyone is talking about this thing called ‘The Open’ when I’m in class. What in the world is ‘The Open?’ As I get more and more involved into CrossFit, and my social media newsfeeds and homepages are filling up with professional CrossFit athletes and informational accounts abundant with cleans, snatches and recovery movements, I am still seeing all this stuff about ‘The Open!’ I guess I’ll sign up…what could I lose, right?

We all had the same beginning. All of us.

Does this sound a little like your experience when you first started CrossFit and heard about the Open? You and MANY others share the same story. You hear people speak of it with wonderment, fear, awesome energy, anxiety, passion, and reverence. But it is so much more than feelings. It means so much more. It is designed to be so much more.

The Open is a time of year for YOU to PROVE to yourself how hard you’ve worked, show yourself how far you’ve come and for YOU to ENJOY doing it. Unless you are the top 1% of male and female athletes engaging in a fitness fight to make it to the CrossFit Games, the Open is designed to be FUN! The other 99% of the CrossFit community should approach the Open with courageous optimism. I say this because Dave Castro, Ugh….Castro, designs these works as tests. Tests of will, strength and fortitude. Through these tests we all find the courage to keep moving forward and because we move forward, we find progress. But unlike a high school calculus exam, these tests should be FUN!

RXing the fun is a MUST!

CrossFit Gyms all over the world are putting intra-gym teams together, coordinating Friday Night Lights Showdowns, planning community (socially distanced of course) gatherings after the workouts, getting t-shirts made, making signs, hanging lights, wearing costumes etc….all in the spirit of having fun during the Open! It is a time where you get to watch your fellow gym athletes push themselves and hit PRs, RX a workout with a brand new skill, beat an old “best time” they had and enjoy in THEIR accomplishment….and of course, they get to do the same for you!

In my 8 years involved in CrossFit (This will be my 7th Open in 2021), I’ve learned a few lessons on what the Open is about and how the 99% of the CrossFit Community should approach it. These lessons have helped me love, enjoy and welcome the Open Season so much more!

Lesson 1: The Open is NOT for egos. When you walk into the Open workout thinking you are the best in the gym, the city, the region etc, it diminishes the purpose. Thinking you are there to show everyone what CrossFit is about makes you look kinda …. silly. You throw your headphones in your ears, blast Rage Against the Machine, sit alone in a corner, stretch in ways you haven’t stretched all year, you don’t smile, you are now sporting a headband you don’t normally wear and chalk from head to toe on a workout that has programed rowing, wall balls and double unders? Chalk, really? Don’t do this. It’s a workout. You have done hundreds of them this year. Be you…have fun, enjoy it. Enjoy the people around you. Be the same YOU everyone enjoys to be around. It’s just a workout. Positive vibes only!

Lesson 2: If you don’t PR, it’s not the end of the world. The Open is about progress. Dust yourself off and relish in the fact that you know what you need to work on. Whether it be strength, a skill, or conditioning… or all of it. lol. The Open will begin to form the goals you set for the coming year. That’s a GOOD THING! CrossFit is about always moving forward. Forward with progress, forward with pride, forward with hard work…always forward.

Lesson 3: Always cheer your “gym nemesis” on…always. You know there is someone you always go head to head with. You may laugh and joke around in class…cut up and even have a text thread together. But deep inside you would clean and jerk a Prius if that meant you would beat them in a workout. That kind of person is GREAT to keep you pushing hard and motivated. But cheer that guy/girl on…cheer them on as loudly as you can. When they do better, you do better. The CrossFit community is symbiotic. The community gives to you and you give to the community…and in that cycle, we ALL grow together. Cheer them on…always….but deep inside, push yourself to beat them…with a smile of course 🙂

Lesson 4: Don’t be afraid to fail. You can’t succeed unless you fail. You come to that part in the workout where you are now putting into practice the new skill you’ve learned. OWN IT! You deserve this. Don’t be afraid to fail on the clean, kick on the double unders or no rep the muscle up. Give it all you got…you owe it to the countless hours you have put in. Even if you get 1 rep of a new skill… THATS PROGRESS!!!! GREAT WORK! Welcome failure…failure is beautiful when it becomes success.

….and the last lesson…

Lesson 5: Don’t let the lessons the Open taught you go to waste. I can’t tell you how many years I said to myself, “I’ll never suck at { insert CrossFit movement here } again. Next Open I’ll be ready!” Then I work on that skill for a few weeks and then give up or move on to something else. The Open will expose a weakness, or many weaknesses. Embrace that. Use that as a starting point to get better. That’s why you’re here, right? That’s why you signed up, right? Even if you won’t outwardly admit it, you want to be better, you want to be stronger, you want to be fit, you want to be better conditioned. Use the lessons taught to you by the Great and Powerful Castro and GET BETTER! You owe it to your old self.

Final note: Don’t be afraid of the Open. Don’t be afraid to get beat. Don’t be afraid to fail. LOVE the Open because its your chance to learn about yourself, learn about the other athletes you sweat with every day, learn about your coaches, your community and your confidence.

The Open is designed to be fun! So go sign up at or for your gyms in-house competition. Do it and have a BLAST…. but remember, we ALLLL hate Dave Castro!

— Bill Mayo

Co-Owner of Butchertown CrossFit.


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