Why I do the CrossFit Open


I’m a little sore right now after doing the 17.1 workout for the CrossFit Open today.  It combined dumbbell snatches and burpee box jump-overs and right now I can definitely feel it in the muscles of my lower back.  I was even careful with my form, but I suppose that many reps was bound to do it.  Honestly, though, it’s really not bad.  I’m just bitchin’ and moaning here.

While I was warming up, though, I had a moment to make a choice. Do I do the workout as prescribed (with a 50lb dumbbell/24″ box) or scaled (35lb dumbbell/20″ box)?  The 50lb dumbbell would probably feel really heavy to me and the guy in front of me picking one up uttered an “Oh Jesus” on his way back to his wood box. I’m not the strongest guy in the box by a long shot so I said to myself there’s no shame in going scaled–which is 100% true.

However, afterward I thought about the workout and then wished I had gone with the prescribed weight.  I don’t participate in the Open to take the easy way out.  And the workout would not have been impossible.  Other workouts are beyond my skill level or way beyond the weight I can handle so it makes good sense to scale them.  But that wasn’t 17.1.

I may sound like I’m being unreasonably hard on myself, but I promise there’s more to this than a simple dumbbell choice.

It’s about the challenge

The reason I do CrossFit at all is because I want to deeply challenge myself.  Until a few years ago I didn’t realize how little grit I had.  It was easy to give up when things got tough.  It was easy not to start because I knew the road would be long. I didn’t do the hard things in life because it was way easier to avoid them.  The problem with all that, though, is that those choices make life boring, hollow and very lonely.

There’s a longer story here (which I need to write about soon) but it boils down to the fact that pushing myself to do hard things makes me a better person. Tackling a big project means more if it’s a project that might fail in the end. If it is a more sure thing then it has less value. And most of these things aren’t related to fitness, but our fitness ties together with all that we do in life. Our health is connected to all we do.

So I do the CrossFit Open because it’s a big challenge that ultimately makes me a better person.  Next time I’m looking at 17.1, I’m going to go with the 50lb dumbbell.

  • Donna Marcum

    Getting to the gym at 5 a.m. almost everyday for the last few years speaks to your stamina, commitment, resiliency ….and apparent ability to live on very little sleep.