Tag Archives: The Open

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The Open

What is The CrossFit Open?

1.) The Open is the first stage of a world-wide fitness competition.  For those who see CrossFit as a sport, The Open is the first of three stages to prove you are the “Fittest on Earth”.  The Open is a five week competition open to anyone; each week one workout is released on Thursday night at 8PM.  Hundreds of thousands of people will perform this workout between Thursday and Monday at 8PM when scores must be submitted. For the top 20 men, women, and teams in each region, Regionals are the next stage.  After the Regionals weekend, the top athletes from each region continue on to the CrossFit Games. 

There is no hiding: it is the first opportunity you have during the CrossFit season to “Prove Your Fitness.” If you plan to go to Regionals, make sure you video every rep of every workout because this is now legit folks. You will also get a real sense of how good some of those top athletes are. You will actually be competing against the best in the world. Girls, you’ll be going up against Tia-Clair Toomey, Katrin Davidsdottir, and Camille. Men, you will go head-to-head with Matt Fraser, Rich Froning, and Ben Smith. I am now more appreciative of their greatness.

To register for the Open and see your scores up against the greatest in the world, as well as, fellow athletes at Crossfit Infiltrate go to: https://games.crossfit.com/open

2.) The Open is an opportunity to be vulnerable, face your fears, and compete at whatever level. Every Open workout has an RX and Scaled division, so wherever you are at on your CrossFit journey, the Open is accessible. I competed in my very first CrossFit Open in a country that did not have one single CrossFit Affiliate period. Yes, I had to travel 4 hours at certain points to find equipment just to do the workout, but it was accessible. It was and is certainly more accessible than any other sporting event out there. 

Just because I don’t plan on winning any foot races doesn’t mean I don’t sign up for the occasional race to run with a friend, push myself a bit, and enjoy the community that surrounds me. And so The Open is for many. It’s a great time to get together, push yourself just a little harder with a little more focus.

Ultimately we do CrossFit because we get something out of it. Though the “it” may vary from person to person, we all appreciate overcoming difficulty and coming out stronger on the other side. We persevere through the difficulty of the workout, and this is enhanced during an Open workout.

And though people will take these workouts at different levels of seriousness, we will, at least at some point, find ourselves at that vulnerable point where that destructive voice will pop into our head, the voice that says to give up, to take it easy, to give into the pain. But with that voice comes a choice, and we resolve to conquer. Many will set new PRs, whether it comes by hitting your first toe-to-bar or by scoring a top-100 score in the world, we all share in the victory as a team.

3.) The Open is a team event which galvanizes a community by creating and deepening real relationships. We suffer together and we share in victory together. We cheer one another on. We care about others. Something special happens when you suffer with someone (just ask my wife). Something real happens when you receive encouragement. Many of our limitations are self-imposed, and through genuine encouragement, we are able to break free of some of those limitations. You are capable of more than you believe, others see it, now go do it.

Of course you will be nervous, but as it has been said, courage is not the absence of fear, but the resolve to not be bound by it. I would often not sleep the night before I attempted an Open WOD, and in a weird way, I enjoyed the ride. It is a fun venture. Sure there may be a disappointment here or there, but overall, it is good. It will bring us together.

Stay tuned for more details about The Open! T-minus 10 Days!

-JPC

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Training, Plateaus, Nationals, and Maximizing Class Time

Training Broken Down below. It’s important to know that none of these are intrinsically better than the other. In fact, each can be very beneficial, but it’s more important that we be honest with ourselves about our motives and our goals because that lets other things fall into place more easily especially when trying to balance a modern life.

Exercising: Get your heart rate up and a sweat. Mostly random. Mostly for short term benefit (making you feel better that day). Absolutely nothing wrong with this. I love exercising with friends. Go for a run or go do something active!

Working Out: Planned exercise with general but not necessarily specific goals. “Being active” and “staying healthy” are main considerations. There is typically a good habit of exercise, but plateaus usually come quickly after your initial gains.

This is the secret to overcoming plateaus is understanding why you’re hitting it in the first place. We have to look at the data, and this involves taking a step back in order to understand what’s causing the limitations. If your form is incorrect, you will plateau yourself early. If your position is bad, plateaus come quickly. If diet isn’t focused, plateaus are around the corner. If life management and stress are an issue, plateaus will lurk. If you’re immobile, you’ll hit that wall quickly. Learning to understand how interrelated different parts of our life are affecting each other comes with practice. The truth is, a plateau could be caused by low level chronic dehydration, mobility limitations, faults of balance and coordination, diet, sleep, or any other number of factors.

Sometimes plateaus are perceived and not real. Feelings aren’t an accurate gauge of reality as I often say. Sometimes you’re getting better in certain areas, but maybe not in others and so don’t see the progress. This is where data comes into play. Body composition, benchmark workouts, and taking measurements can all give conclusive data. I have heard it said, “There is no true commitment to change without a willingness to get specific,” and that’s what it takes to overcome plateaus if you are in fact experiencing one.

Training: Has a specific goal such as losing weight or competing in an event. This is more encompassing and affects most if not all areas of your life. This is where you realize that nutrition and lifestyle are king and queen. You also discover that often times your efforts are best spent on things like flexibility and motor control practice (think monkey/bear/frogger) or what CrossFit inc would consider gymnastics in a general sense: moving your own body through space. Because you are resolved “to train” you leave your preconceived notions of what that looks like behind and commit to learning what it really is.

The difference might be subtle in explanation, but the in the mindset and execution, it is everything. Seeing food as fuel and “diet” as “nutrition” changes everything. Nobody does it perfectly of course, but we can begin changing how we look at food.

Nutrition cannot be overemphasized and body composition will become a main focus. An IronMan athlete and an Olympic weightlifter will not be seeking to achieve the same body composition.

Training is what helps focus your workouts. Workouts are the individual sessions, but they are coordinated into a larger plan. This approach allows you not to get too hung up on any one bad day knowing that it’s part of larger picture of progress. It also helps you learn to “autoregulate.” This is a term that allows a person to up or lower their intensity based on their own particular need for that day in order to maintain a consistent habit of training. It does no good to get blowed up back and then not able to train for a week. Know your limits, push yourself, but be smart. Blowed up back is good don’t get me wrong, but not to the point where you cannot continue to train.

GRIFFIN JUST QUALIFIED FOR NATIONALS!

Olympic weightlifting! What a privilege you guys have to learn from a guy like this who is not only a great athlete, but also committed to learning and the fundamentals.  I get to see what you guys don’t. Sometimes it seems like he spends more time with 5 pound weights that he does with the barbell. He’s constantly working on form and position and is another example of great athletes focusing on the fundamentals. Stretching isn’t sexy, but you know what is?

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And you don’t get that without stretching folks.

Training to compete: Now that your training and nutrition is dialed in no questions asked, you begin dedicating more time to train and train the skills involved with your specific sport. Not only do you train thrusters and rope climbs, but you slow it down, practice the transitions, practice the movements so you can assess the best rep schemes etc.  At the local level, and “just for fun” competitions are a little different as you don’t adjust your training too too much for the competition. These types of competition will not dictate large scale strength cycles. But if you’re training to compete, supplementation can then become key, but only after the diet is dialed in. A lot of time is dedicated to the “skill” of the sport.

Competing: The actual act of competing at any level. “The day of…” This is where mental preparation and the stat called “clutch” comes into play. On the day(s) of competition, things like event-specific nutrition, meditation, pre-game ritual (See Stephen Curry in video below), mental and physical preparation of any sort, timing, focus, planning, mindset, and confidence plays a larger role than just about anything else. This attention to detail is what got our team to The CrossFit Games. The team we come from behind to beat below  is Sam Dancer’s Team Conjugate who would go on to take second in the world that year. Now, I’m self aware enough to know that their athletes are better athletes on paper in just about every sense of the word, but we beat them. Here he is the year we competed against him in California. He beat my deadlift.

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But what we lacked in the physical, we made up for in the mental game and preparation. I guarantee we spent much more time and energy on our game plan and on the preparation for the workout (not training like lifting weights) by doing things like practicing the  steadying of the rope, practicing the fastest descents, and practicing thruster transitions. We trained technique over and over. You’ll see Sam lift his 135# thrusters with one finger faster than I can do it with a PVC. Our rope climb sessions looked like the beginner sessions that I coach at Infiltrate. You should have seen how slowly we broke down every movement. Step one, two, three. Over and over. At 1:04:08 the announcer gets it right when he talks about “Smoothness”.

Notice our transition on thrusters and rope climbs. This is not about strength or speed but of strategy and technique, and it’s what can overcome some physical phenom like Sam Dancer and company. Their other dudes were jacked too BTW. 1:08:20 we are checking rep schemes written on my arm and also after the event. Combat rolls will also come into play!

At 1:05:05 you can see me “shaking it out” as part of my mental preparation (neon green, pink, and sky blue shorts with black shirt), and mental preparation can’t be overstated. I’m sure I get odd looks at some of my “shaking it out” but it for me brings me into focus and into connection with my body. What you notice about athletes, is that each person has their unique way of preparing for competition. Stephen Curry for example is known for this. There is a lot to learn listening to guys like this

Every year the open comes around, I am reminded of my own CrossFit Open, Regional, and Games experiences. Everyone on our team shown above juice fasted for at least 3 full days leading up the week before The Open. It gave us the last chance to rest, recover, and let the body get rid of any last unwanted contagions before the rollercoaster ride began. As mentioned, I’ll be making my own Kombucha to use in a fast. I have huge fermentation chambers in my basement brewery so who knows, maybe I’ll make a big batch if it works out.

I know you might not be training to compete, but if your goal is to live a healthier, pain-free life or whatever it is, the truth remains! Most of what you will do to improve has to do with the details of everyday life which is part of your lifestyle. And your lifestyle is a reflection of your values and beliefs. We spend a lot of time trying to change the manifestations of our beliefs, but if the beliefs still remain, the problem will  probably manifest in another way. Yes, you can change your believes, but it is much more complicated than making a new habit though new habits will play a role in the changing of belief. This is what I mean when I talk about being aware and sure of why you’re doing what you’re doing in the gym.

During the hour we have together, I want you to get out as much as you can. As you develop in your journey as an athlete, you’ll realize the great depth there is in human movement. We realize that often less is more in a real sense. Because in doing less, I practice more, I stretch more, I focus more. And then, in doing less, I do it better, and so find myself having done more. Doing movement more slowly, more controlled, and with greater focus is more beneficial than trying to “do more” during the hour. Don’t rush through your set of 10 warm up air squats, use that as a time to focus. If you’re always focused on what you’re going to do, or what you’re not going to do later, you’re missing what you can in that moment. This was one of the main points of our CrossFit L2 instruction when I got to spend a lot of time talking with Rich Froning and James Hobart about fighting the tendency of people always wanting to “do more” since they brought it up as a common complaint gym owners would face. Some of the best athletes in the world, and James, one of the best athletes and coaches in the world say that it really just comes down to education and leading by example. If you notice above, the “do more” doesn’t come into play until nutrition, body composition, recover, and flexibility are dialed in. Doing more without proper movement, nutrition, and recovery (lifestyle) will always lead to injury; we see it over and over. So part of chaining our belief that more is better is to experience the less is more. We try to lead by example.

I recently made a goal to get better at jiu-jitsu. Flexibility was my main hinderance, and so that is where I have dedicated my own time. I invested in a Focused Flexibility program and have followed it with great results.

If there’s only a 10 minute workout programmed, that means you have 50 minutes to prepare both physically and mentally for the movements coming ahead. Here are some tips to maximize your time:

  • Pick the coach’s brain for movement efficiency tips. Many times, if you have a question, someone else will, and even if they don’t it’s unlikely that everyone has mastered the movement in that area. Efficiency tips give you a better score and keep you healthy.
  • Make your warm ups harder on yourself by increasing contraction, slowing and controlling movement, and focusing on proper breathing.
  • You can use the great resources in the gym  to address personal mobility issues. The book Supple Leopard is absolutely amazing and will help you work out aches and pains.
  • We are more impressed with relative intensity than we are with volume. If it’s not a lot to do in class

“In this 2005 open letter to CrossFit trainers, Coach Greg Glassman discusses the importance of virtuosity, defined in gymnastics as “performing the common uncommonly well.”

Unlike risk and originality, virtuosity is elusive, supremely elusive. It is, however, readily recognized by audience as well as coach and athlete. There is a compelling tendency among novices developing any skill or art, whether learning to play the violin, write poetry, or compete in gymnastics, to quickly move past the fundamentals and on to more elaborate, more sophisticated movements, skills, or techniques.

What will inevitably doom a physical training program and dilute a coach’s efficacy is a lack of commitment to fundamentals. Rarely now do we see prescribed the short, intense couplets or triplets that epitomize CrossFit programming. Rarely do trainers really nitpick the mechanics of fundamental movements.

I understand how this occurs. It is natural to want to teach people advanced and fancy movements. The urge to quickly move away from the basics and toward advanced movements arises out of the natural desire to entertain your client and impress him with your skills and knowledge. But make no mistake: it is a sucker’s move. Teaching a snatch where there is not yet an overhead squat, teaching an overhead squat where there is not yet an air squat, is a colossal mistake. This rush to advancement increases the chance of injury, delays advancement and progress, and blunts the client’s rate of return on his efforts. In short, it retards his fitness.”

-From one of the very first articles in The CrossFit Journal

Remember, we will be ordering T shirts soon! Let us know on the whiteboard or email hello@crossfitinfiltrate.com with sizes. We do have men and women’s sizes, and they do run typically small. I barely fit into a Men’s Medium.

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If you want to know more about The Open, check out yesterday’s post.

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The Open!

The art for the Open Shirts is done! Preorder underway! Make sure to check out the previous post about our Sugar Detox winners! There is a preorder sheet in the gym. You can also post to comments on this post and I will add it myself. We will have men and women’s sizes, and remember, our sizes run on the smaller side. M barely fits me: JC.

Here’s something I wrote a couple of years ago:

What is The CrossFit Open?

1) The Open is the first stage of a world-wide fitness competition that is accessible to almost anyone almost anywhere. I competed in the very first CrossFit Open in a country that did not even have one single CrossFit Affiliate. Yes, I had to travel 4 hours at certain points to find equipment just to do the workout, but it was accessible. It was and is certainly more accessible than any other sporting event out there. For those who see CrossFit mainly as a sport, this is stage one of three. If you’re serious about competing, you train all year, arranging your weight training: meso-cycles, meta-cycles, and metabolic conditioning to peak at just the right time. The Open has traditionally been known to be “fast and light” without much of the heavyweight or more complex movements.

For the Open to be more accessible, it has been relegated to a handful of CrossFit basics. There are no huge surprises, you can expect burpees, pull ups, and thrusters. I mean, if last year’s HUGE SURPRISE was that they added rowing, that tells you something. Many complain that The Open does not fairly represent The Regionals or The Games. I have no issue with this statement. The best of the best have consistently done well across the board in all three venues. Sure, there are many out there who would do relatively better at Regionals than in The Open, but if you can’t make it past The Open, there is no need in my book to play the hypothetical “what if” game. The Open, The Regionals, and The Games all have a different feel and style.

There is no hiding, it is the first opportunity you have of the CrossFit season to “Prove Your Fitness.” If you plan to go to Regionals, make sure you video every rep of every workout because this is now legit folks. You will also get a real sense of how good some of those top athletes are. You will actually be competing against the best in the world. Girls, you’ll be going up against Sam Briggs, Annie Thorisdottir, and Camille. Men, you will go head-to-head with Danny Broflex, Rich Froning, and Jason Khalipa. I still haven’t hit a 180 in darts (not even in practice), and the pros hit them all the time. I am now more appreciative of their greatness.

2) The Open is an opportunity to be vulnerable, face your fears, and compete at whatever level. It was difficult for me to encourage people to sign up for The Open last year because I foresaw a few of the workouts being very discouraging to new-comers or those unable to do movements such as toes-to-bar or overhead squats to standard. This year is different because of the ability to scale the workouts if needed.

Just because I don’t plan on winning any foot races doesn’t mean I don’t sign up for the occasional race to run with a friend, push myself a bit, and enjoy a beer afterward with a sense of accomplishment. And so The Open is for many. It’s a great time to get together, push ourselves just a little harder with a little more focus.

Ultimately we do CrossFit because we get something out of it though the “it” varies from person to person. One thing I think we all share is that we enjoy doing and completing things that are inherently difficult. We persevere through the difficulty of the workout, and this is enhanced during an Open workout. The week will be programmed so that you are the readiest you can be for your workout. We will have a workout specific warm-up and mobility session, and we will not tire ourselves out with a strength portion so that we can have every advantage.

And though people will take these workouts at different levels of seriousness, we will, at least at some point, find ourselves at that vulnerable point where that destructive voice will pop into our head, the voice that says to give up, to take it easy, to give into the pain. But with that voice comes a choice, and we resolve to conquer. Many will set new PRs, whether it comes by hitting your first toe-to-bar or by scoring a top-100 score in the world, we all share in the victory as a team.

3) The Open is a team event which galvanizes a community by creating and deepening real relationships. We suffer together and we share in victory together. We cheer one another on. We care about others. Something special happens when you suffer with someone (just ask my wife). Something real happens when you receive encouragement. Many of our limitations are self-imposed, and through genuine encouragement, we are able to break free of some of those limitations. You are capable of more than you believe, others see it, now go do it.

Of course you will be nervous, but as it has been said, courage is not the absence of fear, but the resolve to not be bound by it. I would often not sleep the night before I attempted an Open WOD, and in a weird way, I enjoyed the ride. It is a fun venture. Sure there may be a disappointment here or there, but overall, it is good. We will have a good time on Friday nights as we get together and then celebrate afterward. It will bring us together.

Our community is young, but I am encouraged by the relationships I see building. As we grow, we will look back at this first Infiltrate season with many fond memories. Feel free to share thoughts or memories below!

Written by Jared Cantrell

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