This article is written by Barrett Danz as part of The Barbell Spin’s Contributor Network. To learn more about the Contributor Network, go here.


The open is coming you guys! OMG- the open! It’s one of the most magical, sparkly inspiring part of being a CrossFitter for the whole year. Eh-hem, ok sorry I got pretty excited there. In all seriousness, the Open is easily the biggest community event for CrossFit boxes worldwide of the year.

But because it’s is also the 1st step in a qualifying process for the mutants (Regional and Games athletes) I often run into the roadblock of convincing the everyday CrossFitter to sign up and participate. Sit back, strap in cuz’ i’m about to learn you a thing or two about why you (the average CrossFitter) should sign up for the Open that could only be fueled by self-loathing and a 6-pack of FitAid!

1. Community Brah!

At CrossFit Big Dane we have incorporated an ‘Intramural Open’ format. Shout out to Chris Cooper with Catalyst athletics for creating the idea. You can find the details by simply googling “intramural open crossfit’ at this point. But the main points are; 4 team captains are selected. The fun members (not performance focused) and those captains will then either draft or recruit other members for their team. It’s an amazing way to encourage both participation and community (great way to meet new people in the gym)! Boxes can adapt and add to the concept as they see fit.

We incorporated “themes” to our weeks. For example, themes like ‘Murica and 80 fitness on fleek were incorporated at our gym last year. Athletes dressed up in crazy costumes based around the theme. We also give away weekly prizes for things like best dressed and ‘most team spirit.’ The scoring system is all based around community NOT on performance. Our first year (non Intramural) we had 16 athletes sign up for the open, and I worked my butt off to recruit people. The next year (with the intramural format) we topped 50! If you’re a coach/gym owner- you HAVE to do this. If you’re an athlete- start pestering your coaches now!

2. The Ultimate Tracking Tool

As an affiliate owner I know how important it is for athletes to track their progress over time.  The Open is the ultimate progress tracking tool.  There has (historically) always been at least 1 workout that is repeated from year to year.  Athlete are always gunning to beat their old scores and always succeed.  Great way to increase internal motivation per the individual athlete.

3. Be a Part of the Bigger Picture

CrossFit has come so far in a relatively short time.  From a single gym in Santa Cruz to over 13,000 gyms Worldwide! You are a part of a grassroots movement in the development of health and fitness. As an early adopter you are ahead of the trend. Your scores will always be displayed on the CrossFit Games website for you to look back on when this thing takes over the world. Athletes are participating from all corners of the planet these days as well.  How cool is to to be able to see your name next to someone from Uganda to the United Kingdom!

4. You WILL Surprise Yourself

The big picture.  If you ask Dave Castro what the point of the Open really is, I bet you’ll get an answer along the lines of this one event that is able to challenge the individual’s preconceived notions of what is possible.  And not only to challenge those notions, but to conquer those notions.  This, at it’s core, is the most powerful tool that CrossFit gives us. To ability to believe in ourselves and to know that what some view as impossible is just a challenge to us!  

Each year we see and hear of MULTIPLE occasions of folks doing something extraordinary/ that they literally did not think they would ever be able to do.  For example, two years ago they put muscle ups at the beginning of 15.3.  The collective groan and whining swept across the entire CF community.  Within 48 hours, we heard of literally hundreds of occasions of people achieving their first ever muscle up!  This is what the open is all about people.  It happens every year and it’s amazing, be a part of it.  


Barrett Danz is the owner and founder of CrossFit Big Dane– located in downtown Madison, Wisconsin. He brings experience as a strength and conditioning and power lifting coach prior to starting CrossFit. He has been an athlete and an avid fitness fanatic his whole life and he truly enjoys helping others find new confidence through fitness.

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