The first thing that we need to say is well done to everyone who has just completed their first, second or maybe even fourth CrossFit Open.  Whether you were an Open virgin or a seasoned campaigner we hope you had a good time and learned something about your current location on the CrossFit journey.  Looking at things through a coach’s eye it was hugely impressive to see people rise to the challenge and flourish as a result.

In keeping with the ethos that this is a members' Box we’ve asked what a few of you thought of the experience so we can look to improve it for next year.  We consulted a few athletes who entered the competition and also a few who chose not to enter but completed the workouts.

The overwhelming response, whether enrolled for the Open or just doing the workouts, was one of being impressed by the level of support provided to the athletes by the membership of the gym.  It is this community spirit and comradeship that makes CrossFit stand out from other conditioning programmes and something that we, at CrossFit Harrogate, demonstrate constantly.  Taking part in The Open can be an emotional rollercoaster and it’s the community of support whether judging or just cheering that makes it such a rewarding experience.  If you joined in The Open at CrossFit Harrogate by offering to judge or added your vocal support to a fellow athlete, then we salute you.  Your contribution made a difference, be proud of that.

Many of you have been inspired by taking part and want to use the coming year to work on some weaknesses and come back stronger with a wider repertoire of movements next year.  This is one of the great things about The Open and as coaches we are here to support you in your quest.  Patience is key.  Have a chat with Ryan or one of the other coaches and look to add some progressions into your warm ups or open gym time.  We’ve just introduced some additional sessions at the weekends that will hopefully enable you to work on the skills that currently elude you or to build the strength that will enhance your performance. This extra practice could improve your rep count or maybe even allow you to tackle an Rx workout where previously you might have scaled.

A few of you struggled to attend the sessions when The Open was programmed and also mentioned that there wasn’t a huge amount of time to get the workouts down before the scores needed to be submitted.  The amount of time between announcement & deadline is dictated by CrossFit HQ and so is out of our control.  We have noted the observations about being able to do the WOD’s on Monday and we’ll look to try to accommodate that next year.

The other common thread from the responses was that people were both (quite rightly) impressed by others' and proud of their own achievements.  Every single person who we asked said that they had learned something about themselves, both mentally & physically, from the experience and want to take on the challenge again as a result. 

So what now?  

Now that the (chalk) dust has settled it's time to look forward to 2017’s CrossFit Open.  Most of us are primarily here to make improvements to health, fitness and to enjoy the community side of the Box.  Nothing wrong with that at all.  There is a competitive side to CrossFit though, even if it’s only competing with yourself.  Everyone has a sense of needing to move on but knowing how to, can be difficult.  Think about setting a couple of goals for the next few months, work on them consistently and then reassess what to move to next. 

Maintain your Standards

For many of you The Open will have been your first experience of having your movement judged and of judging the movement of others.  There is no doubt that this can be a little intimidating but it is something to be embraced.  As coaches we try to stress as often as we can the importance of achieving the full range of motion for a movement and during The Open we hope you can see why we do so.

Don’t allow yourself to slip back into the bad habit of shortcutting a movement to allow more reps or to move a heavier weight.  In The Open your judge would have called the dreaded ‘no rep’ and you should hold yourself to that same standard.  ‘No repping’ yourself during a WOD and performing another rep during a workout will, in the long run, serve you well.  It strengthens your technique, reinforces your integrity and impresses the hell out of the coaching staff!

Address a weakness

Take a look at what you did and how you did.  What were the areas where you feel you need to improve?  These need to take some of your focus in the coming year.  Get strong.  This can best happen in the strength sections of the programming so take this side of the programming seriously, keep a log of your PB’s and work hard to improve on them.  Scale sensibly.  It's nice to Rx a WOD but it's far from the "be all and end all".  If the prescribed weight is 90% of your max then scaling is the way forward.  You’ll get so much more from the workout by performing a good number of full range, consistent movements. Recover well.  If some is good then more is better, right?  Not always.  Make sure to dial in your nutrition and get some quality sleep.  That’s where the real gains are made.

Think about Competing again

Competing is not everyone’s cup of tea, nor is it often an ambition for many of the members of CrossFit Harrogate.  That said, it can be a very rewarding experience and plant the seed for an increase in focus and for the setting of a new goal or goals.  There are loads of competitions in the calendar that cater for all abilities and team compositions (individual, pairs, team, mixed etc) so whatever you fancy it's very likely there will be an event that can work for you.  Many of them are listed on this website:

http://www.throwdowncalendar.com/ and Facebook is full of groups that arrange and advertise friendly events.

We’ll be supporting the Scale the Heights http://www.scaletheheights.co.uk/  event this year and we’ll look to include both the qualifying workouts and some of the movement standards into the future programming.  This is an accessible and fun competition with a chance for the majority of people to progress to later stages and compete against fellow CrossFitters in an inclusive and supportive environment.

We hope you enjoyed your experience of being involved in the CrossFit Open 2016.  We hope you had fun during the five weeks and can use it as a catalyst to push yourself forward to a challenging future.

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