I loved the open, but what next?

It’s 2.30 on a Monday afternoon, I’ve just finished coaching the morning classes and 4 hours of back to back PT so I’m doing what any other coach would be doing after that… writing an article/love letter to you all.

This letter is about skills in CrossFit, but really it’s about so much more than that.

We’ve just completed the Open for another year and I can honestly say it was surreal. There were so many important moments over the last 4 weeks that I wanted to speak to you about today. We’re all at different stages in our fitness journey’s. Some of us new to CrossFit and have just participated in their first Open, amazing! Some of us are in our 60’s and are participating in our 7th open after years of dedication to training. Others got to witness their own kids participating in the open for the first time, and some of us for the first time hit all of the workouts in the RX division, all truly special moments.

A personal favourite moment of mine was when Rob Densely’s famously said ‘For Fu*k sake” when he realised he had made it to the next and last 3 minute window of 22.2 lol.

We all did the open for different reasons and we all got something different coming out of the open. The underlying reason for us all to participate in the open is because we value being a part of a community of people that want to live a healthier and fitter lifestyle. So why do we go crazy when we someone does a muscle up for the first time? Or a double under or a Pb’d their snatch?

There is no skill or movement in CrossFit that having the ability to do means you will live any of a healthier life than someone without it. A double under doesn’t create any more physical adaptations to health or fitness than running, box jumps, single unders or cycling for example… Your health markers will always tell us what’s going on despite how many muscle ups you can do. It’s the same reason why MORE is not better because more might not give you better results, it might make them worse.

It’s about what completing a skill for the first time represents. 

Getting your first toes to bar in a workout is about the fact that in order to be in a position to do that, a person has had to dedicate hours of training towards it. They’ve had to write it down on a goals sheet and speak to a coach about it. They’ve made a plan to achieve it and they’ve sacrificed in other areas of their life in the pursuit of reaching that particular movement standard. It’s a message to us all that we can actually do most of the things we put our mind to as long as we communicate to others, seek help from someone who already has the thing we want, make a plan and stay consistent in our efforts. Goals aren’t this silly thing you need to have because coach said you need to have them. They are literally reasons for you to turn up each and every day, without them your fitness falls apart, I know this because after working in the fitness industry for 12 years the average time anyone spends with one gym is 7 months. No goals, no progress, no progress, no motivation, no motivation, no consistency, no consistency, no reason to continue paying for something you’re not using. 

We all need something to chase. For an 85 year old grandma it might be chasing walking up 3 stairs without assistance, for a 20 year old it could be 30 pull ups without stopping or for a busy mum of 3 it could be to become completely pain free or consistent with eating more veggies. All goals are important, no goal is more or less valuable than another and for 99% of us, we’ve stayed committed to CrossFit/Solv longer than any other fitness routine in our lives.  For many of us, we are fitter now than we were 1, 5, 10, and even 20 years ago.  For most of us, going to the gym has become something we want to do instead of something we have to do.

So congratulations on not just the open this year but for being part of the few who choose to continue to dedicate time, effort, energy and money into your health and fitness. I truly believe it’s the best use of our free time and worth every ounce of energy and cash we spend on it.

So what happens now?

Well, here’s a few facts;

Fact 1 – As humans we naturally seek novelty and growth.  The first year or two of CrossFit is intoxicating.  You’ve never done half the movements and while scary, it’s also exhilarating.  You never knew how awful 5 minutes of working out could feel, but somehow it’s awesome. You were never a group class person but all of the sudden you couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Inevitably, all of that becomes the new normal. It’s no longer new, it’s your routine. It’s still better than any other routine, but like anything else in life we do for years, it becomes routine indeed.

Fact 2 – Measurable success breeds motivation and it becomes a hell of a lot less frequent as the years pass. In the first 2 years of CrossFit, you look at a barbell and you PR.  Not just PR but PR by HUGE jumps. 10kgs on a snatch in 1 month. 20kgs on your deadlift the next.  Then the gains slow.  Suddenly it’s 2kgs on your clean in 6 months.  6kgs on your squat in a year.  Let’s be clear, improving at a decreasing rate happens to everyone in any fitness programme especially as their fitness and age increases.  BUT, it still sucks and can be demotivating!

Fact 3 – We can easily combat these issues by chasing our own version of success. Out of the 4 folks that got their first double unders in 22.3 I worked with 4 of them outside of class. I’m sure the tips I gave helped, but the main driver for their success was their commitment to the goal and journey. During that process what do you think their attendance looked like? Stellar.  Why? They had a goal.

Now that they hit their goal, how do you think they feel? Amazing.  

Are they motivated to find another one and continue to improve their fitness? Hell yeah.

But guess what, I also worked with 3 other people who have yet to get one.  Have they reached the goal yet? Nope. Has the pursuit of that goal fuelled their commitment to their health? Hell yeah. Is that a success in itself? Absolutely.

In other words my friends, find a meaningful, physical goal and go get it.  Maybe it’s a first pull-up or muscle up.  Perhaps it’s a bodyweight snatch.  I don’t know what it is for you but all I know is you need one.

It needs to matter.  

You need to chase it. 

You need to celebrate it when you reach it.

At the end of the open I’m going to send out a 2 question survey.  Question 1 will ask you to write down your own version of success, what’s your number 1 goal?  Question 2 will ask you to write down the biggest obstacle in your way.

Take some time this week to think about those 2 questions. Take the 5 minutes next week to fill it out.  Those 5 minutes could fuel your next 5 months.



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