What is The CrossFit Games Open?

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” I love the Open. It’s pretty hard to encapsulate everything the Open is and explain it in such a way that makes sense to people who have never heard of CrossFit or those folks that are new to the community. So, if this explanation doesn’t quite hit home or make sense, then I encourage you to come in and see for yourself. 

The CrossFit Games is the ultimate competition to prove who is the fittest man, woman and gym. The final competition takes place in Madison, Wisconsin and the 40 men, women and gyms that compete must first qualify. The qualification process for this duel of fitness starts with the Open. 

The Open is the first aspect of competition that EVERYONE must participate in. It doesn’t matter if someone has made it to the Games every year or if someone is signing up for the first time. Everyone has to participate in the Open. The Open is the most egalitarian part of the competition. People are allowed to compete anywhere in the world. They can have their workouts validated at a registered affiliate or they can video tape themselves doing it in their garage if they have the equipment necessary for the workout. The Open consists of 5 workouts total. One workout is released every week for 5 weeks on Thursday evening. The entire CrossFit community signs up online and has until Monday to perform the workout and submit their score online. The scores are disseminated across 17 different regions around the world. The people who average a top 20 finish in each region qualify for the next competition phase known as the Regionals. 

Now, that you know the nuts and bolts of what the Open is, it’s time to find out just WHAT the Open really is. The Open is, in my opinion, the one way to test just exactly how fit you are compared to the rest of the world or your age group. We, as a country, are so concerned with health and being healthy, yet we have one of the worst mortality rates of any world power. We have more sick citizens than ever before but we also have more metrics for what health is except the one that matters. Fitness. If a car has bad breaks and you’re driving down the highway going 85 mph, you’re going to crash. But, let’s say you’re driving that same car and it’s still going 85 mph, except this time you crack open the speedometer and push the needle to 0 mph, is the car still going to crash? Absolutely. This example is very similar to how you should consider the importance of metrics like blood pressure, cholesterol, and resting heart rate. If these numbers are shown to be normal, but your fitness is non-existent, I would strongly consider them meaningless. These numbers are like the speedometer in the car with the bad breaks; they are simply a correlate for health. These metrics are not indicative of good health if your fitness is non-existent. What good does a good number on my cholesterol do me if I can’t deadlift my body weight or run a mile under 15 minutes? The convalescent homes are full of people who have perfect blood pressure and cholesterol numbers but I’m not about to let them drive me anywhere and God help me if I’m in danger and one of them has to exhibit some kind of physical capacity to save me. The Open can show you exactly how fit you are and you’re essentially competing alongside the LeBron James of fitness Mat Fraser and Tia Clair-Toomey. No other sport in the world allows recreational enthusiasts to compete with the professionals. The Open brings us all together and opens our eyes as to where we are truly deficient in our fitness. It puts us all on the same playing field and allows us to have something in common with people all over the world. I can travel to Ireland, look up a CrossFit gym and immediately have something to talk about and share in some commonalities. There is no other competition in the world that allows for such a phenomena to take place. The Open is here and “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.”