With the 2015 CrossFit Open around the corner and even more popular than ever with 209,585 registrants in 2014, 2015 is posed to be even more popular than last year, especially with the CrossFit Open made even more accessible with the introduction of the scaled division and the teen division.

I wouldn’t be surprised that with the near exponential growth of CrossFit, that the number of registrants doesn’t at least double last year’s number of registrants. This is keeping in mind that registering isn’t free. People are paying for the privilege to compete in the Open at $20 USD a pop.

While the popularity as CrossFit as a viable and sustainable fitness program no longer a question, it’s crossed the chasm and entered the mainstream consciousness along with real stakes on the line – bragging rights, reputation for yourself, your team and of course the cash-money CrossFit prize purse growing for 2015 makes it even more lucrative in hopes of the training and sacrifice to pay off.

With all that stuff aside, the question arises of whether to enter the prescribed (RX’d) Open or the scaled division.

First time and think you’re prepared? Think again.

While a scaled division didn’t exist last year, I opted to go to compete the open anyway due to gym mates going for it and I got caught up in the excitement. I thought it would be fun and was at least somewhat prepared.  Boy was I ever wrong.  I think there’s a fine line between going all out for a regular WOD at your gym, versus going all out for the CrossFit Open. It’s a subtle difference, but the mindset and approach is entirely different.

The subtle difference

In the gym, you’re allowed to hold back a bit with just enough gas in the tank to come back the next day.  But for competing in the Open, it isn’t you versus yourself, it’s you versus the world to see how you stack up worldwide.

The combination of hearing “3-2-1 GO!!!” along with watchful eyes of gym mates and encouragement to push as hard and fast as you can, it’s hard not to go for broke and throw form out of the window. Combined with all the training during the year had lead up to the moment from the first pull of the bar to hitting that first double under – the adrenaline rush is undeniable to compete on the same workouts as everyone else. Restraint is the last thing on our minds.

Choose wisely

Unless you’ve been competed in local competitions, you’ll never quite understand the mental fortitude that is a step above the WODs we do at our home gyms. Like preparing for anything else where the stakes are high, prepare for the worst and try your best.

While this isn’t to discourage you to go for the the RX’d (prescribed) division right off the bat, this is more of imploring you to truly assess your abilities and capacity to compete at such a high level. Unless you’re CrossFit Games material and crushing every single mainsite WOD with finesse and competence, I’d steer clear of that simply because of the high risk of injury especially when your fitness levels aren’t up to par.

With that said, buckle up, because it’s gonna be a fun and gruelling next 5 weeks!

If you haven’t signed up for the CrossFit Open yet – sign up on the Official CrossFit Games registration site and have your credit card handy for the $20 registration fee.

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