First let me start by saying I won’t be doing the Open, February has always been a bad time of the year for me running a nutrition business and my wife is nursing an injury. That said, I am probably more excited than ever for the Crossfit Open. If you haven’t been following there have been major changes related to the CF open and how you qualify for the CF Games. For the rank and file that are just recreational participants we are mostly unaffected except for the fact that there will be TWO CF Opens this year, the one that starts tomorrow and the other will be in October. If you are a games athlete this truncated year is going to be topsy turvy and there is a lot we still don’t know about qualifying but what used to be regionals is now being handled by events around the world sanctioned by Crossfit. That’s the part I am excited about.
What do I expect from this years Open?
I expect it to be infinitely less “gangsta”, my prediction is that the Open will be less about qualifying for the CF Games and more about celebrating the community. So I suspect more people will be invited to the party. This does follow a trend from the past few years but if you have been following Crossfit on social media there has been a noticeable change. Gone are the super controversial posts that were mostly clickbait and while less engaging, the new posts seem to be working on habits to help people with their health concerns. I wrote an article on Crossfit Health initiative that I think is still pretty relevant, you can check that out here. While I wish the Crossfit Health movement was more inclusive one thing that Glassman can’t be accused of is not sticking to his guns. As I mentioned in the article I think what is now a mostly low carb initiative I suspect will in fact become more inclusive over time. This follows a similar trend to CF itself and it only makes sense, many people find low carb to be unsustainable and many more are having a lot of success with a moderate carb approach similar to what we teach.
So I am pretty excited to see EXACTLY how inclusive this years games will be and I suspect it will be a test for an even more inclusive October. What does this mean? I suspect it means less workouts meant to crush you and more workouts that MORE PEOPLE can do. This is a good thing. While intensity is great and it’s an important piece, Crossfit is losing ground to a lot fitness movements that are less “gangsta” and more geared towards the average person. While there has always been a lot of lip service to this idea, I think we are going to see indications with the programming in both Open’s.
Now to the fun stuff
I think my first regionals was seven years ago. I flew to San Francisco to see the Norcal Regional. It was super exciting and that year I also went to the Crossfit Games, one was like Woodstock and the other was like the Super Bowl of fitness. As I began doing nutrition for Crossfit Games athletes I would visit various regionals and each year they gradually lost their luster. It’s hard to fault the event organizers, one year I went to the East Regional and then two weeks later I saw the same people at Central. It had to be exhausting and what was once exciting felt like people were just going through the motions.
It was a completely different atmosphere at events like WodPalooza or the Granite Games, I think there were a few reasons for that. First, it wasn’t just elite people competing, I did the Granite Games a few years back and I was in the same athlete’s area with people like Sam Briggs and Annie Thorisdottir. I think the bigger thing though is that the events are run by local people, that is their only event they will be doing that year typically so the energy level is high. The Crossfit Games has no problem attracting the casual fan but at the Regionals the opposite was the case. That’s why the switch to include some of these local events that are sanctioned by Crossfit is a better move. I know as a sponsor there just wasn’t the same kind of opportunity at Regionals compared to something like the Granite Games. So I think that will be a plus.
I suspect most people that will be competing during the open this year aren’t aware of the major changes or even the history that is going away. For me though I think it will be a weird transition but in the end I think this is a good move for the Crossfit Community overall.