What is the CrossFit Open?

Janice Ferguson
July 31, 2023
What is the CrossFit Open?

“I’m not ready for that. I need more time.”
“I’m just a cheerleader at this point.”
“I’m not a competitor like you and Josh.”
“I thought we had to travel all over and compete, like the coaches do.”
“Do you think I should/can do this?”

That’s just a sampling of the comments that have been coming out of the mouths of my fearless Bandits in the past few days.

Some seem to be ignoring what I have been saying over the past year:
We are getting ready for the Open.”
“You WILL sign up for the Open.”
“Have you signed up for the Open?”
“Do it. Or else.”
“The Open is for everyone.”

When I say “we” are getting ready for the Open, I don’t just mean Josh and myself. I mean ALL Bandits. I don’t care who you are, how old, or how long you’ve been doing CrossFit. It doesn’t matter to me if your goals don’t include being a competitive CrossFitter. When I say the Open is for everyone, I am talking to you. Yes, you. Can you feel my eyes piercing into your soul right now? Good.

Bandit CrossFit–a dream realized.
See the picture above?? That was back in 2012. Back when Coach Josh and I could only dream of having all of you. We badly wanted a team to be part of who we had been training with all year. We had to travel to other CrossFit affiliates, with only a select few in our area, that were legitimate CrossFit affiliates that could validate our individual scores. In fact, only one on the Coast, CrossFit Ocean Springs, was a bona fide CrossFit gym recognized by CrossFit HQ, and able to validate scores, at the time this picture was taken. We had traveled to Slidell for this workout, to be with our friends at CrossFit Crusade, now known as CrossFit Forged Steele. This picture is very important to me. It represents a lot that we have overcome in making Bandit CrossFit a reality. In this photo, I was doing the CrossFit Open Workout 12.4. If any of you did the Open last year, you will remember it as 13.3:
12 minute AMRAP of
150 wall balls 20/14
90 Double Unders
30 Ring Muscle Ups

You might notice this was taken before we had any weightlifting shoes. I like to laugh at that. Gasp!! How did I ever do wall balls without Oly shoes? I kid. I actually managed just fine in my Inov-8s. Something you can’t see? This was the day Coach Josh did his first ever muscle up. We were dreading this workout in the days leading up to it. Neither of us had muscle ups. But, the atmosphere was so positive at this gym, he was able to get a few before the WOD. However, his double unders were very hit-or-miss at this time. He had been doing CrossFit for less than six months, and there were a lot of things he struggled with. I remember him being really worried about the double unders in this workout, and thinking he may not get a chance to attempt any muscle ups at all. Thankfully, he managed to get through them just in time to get two muscle ups in the workout, for a score of 242. I, on the other hand, had no luck with the muscle ups this day–before, or during, the WOD. I actually had about two minutes left to try for one. I fought and fought. But, I failed. It wasn’t the first time. And it hasn’t been the last failure I’ve faced, either. The girl on the right? That’s Julie, a friend, and member of Forged Steele. This was her first day to get a muscle up, too. I remember being so excited to see her get it. Daniel, next to Julie, Josh’s and my training partner at the time, also got his first muscle up that day. And if I recall, he also got one in the workout. But, Julie wasn’t able to. There were many people at the gym that day who failed to even finish the 150 wall balls in the 12-minute time cap and others who finished the wall balls, but struggled to get any or even a handful of double unders. Despite all the “failure” around us, that didn’t bring the energy down one bit. There were all different levels of people doing the best they had to give that day, and not one Debbie Downer was in sight feeling sorry for him or herself for not being good enough to do something. I loved this day, and I am so thankful Coach Jeannie Dimitri got this picture. It helps me to re-live it each time I see it.

Now, you Bandits have what we never had when we started–a real CrossFit family. You have a team to belong to, and to be proud of. We are a group of people committed to our training, our gym, and our friends. Don’t you dare tell me that you aren’t going to participate. Why don’t you want to help our family prove the work we’ve been doing this past 9 months has paid off? This is bigger than me, or you, or Josh, or any one person in our gym. This is for our gym–all for one, and one for all. Our family. This is for bragging rights. So, when I say, you WILL sign up for the Open. I mean it.

Now that I’ve managed to threaten you AND lay a guilt trip on you at the same time, lets’ go into what the Open is all about. You need to know at least a little bit about what you’re signing up for. Let’s start with this video put together by the fine folks at CrossFit HQ.

Road to the Games
Did you see that part in the video? We are in the beginning of the 6-month long test/competition to find the Fittest on Earth. It starts with the Open. Folks qualify from the Open to compete at Regionals. And then they move from Regionals to the CrossFit Games. But, don’t let that deter you. This phase of the competition, the Open, was designed for everyone across the world, no matter their fitness level or CrossFit goals, to be able to participate.

You Can Do This
The CrossFit Open is a worldwide, online, competition that you can do ANYWHERE. It is five weeks long with one workout announced per week. No one knows what the workout will be until the Thursday that it is announced by CrossFit HQ. Then, we have until Monday to complete it and submit our scores. The competition is so inclusive that competitors can even do it at home, on vacation, or wherever, and submit a video to be “validated,” or approved, to get a score. If you belong to a CrossFit gym, you can do the workouts in your gym, during regular class times, or whenever a coach can watch you, and the affiliate manager will validate that you did the work. So, in our case, you don’t have to mess with videos. For now, we plan to do the workouts during Friday classes, and then again on Saturdays. If you have circumstances that call for you doing the WOD on Sunday and Monday, we can make arrangements for that as the situation arises. After completing the workout, you will post your score on the CrossFit Games site in your account, and I will validate it each week. Each week, your results will be displayed on the worldwide leaderboard, where you will be ranked, and not only that, but also contribute to the ranking of our gym. The rankings are worldwide and region wide. We belong to the South Central Region. That means we are competing as individuals and as a team against gyms all across Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. How do the team scores work? If you are in the top three men or women in our gym for that week’s workout, your score will help us rank our gym. This is why I said that we need all hands on deck in an earlier blog post “Bandit CrossFit–Regionals Worthy?”. (You read that post, right?) Each one of you have different strengths and weaknesses. Just because you can’t do 100 double unders, or run 400 meters in a minute, doesn’t mean that you can’t contribute in other ways to the team. For example, there are quite a few in the gym on the ladies side who are great with light weight cardio workouts. But, there are other ladies who can really show out when the load is increased. So, we will all be working together to get the best scores each week from whoever can contribute. It could be different people every week. But, to contribute, you have to register. (It costs $20.) You have to participate in all five weeks workouts–you can’t pick and choose what WODs you want to do.

No Travel Necessary
You do not have to travel anywhere to do this. You don’t have to do anything outside of your normal schedule, really. All of the workouts will be done on a weekly basis in the comfort of your home gym, Bandit CrossFit. You will be doing these workouts every week anyway as part of our gym programming. You may as well sign up.

But I Can’t___________ (fill in the blank)
It will be OK. Quit worrying about what you “can’t” do, and just focus on what you can. No one will judge you. If they do, you have my permission to throat punch them, if I don’t do it for you. In all seriousness, there may will be some things you will not be able to do. But, I don’t care. My very first time to participate was in 2011. There were SEVERAL things that I couldn’t do. But, I was very glad that I did it anyway. It really taught me a lot about myself and where my weaknesses really were and allowed me to compare myself to others across the state, region, country and world. Looking back, every year I have competed in it, I have gotten better. It is fun to redo the workouts and see how much better I am getting. Trust me when I tell you: YOU WILL REGRET IT IF YOU DON’T SIGN UP.

But, I’m not going to do as good as ____________ (fill in the blank)
This reminds me of why it is a terrible idea to give everyone a trophy in t-ball. We have become a society of people who can’t handle the truth. You don’t have to be perfect. There’s only one first place. You can’t always win or be better than, or as good as __________. And you would do yourself a great service if you would quit trying to compare yourself to what other people are doing.

I’m not ready to compete. I’m not on that level.
Guess what? You will NEVER be ready. There will always be something you wish you could do better. When you can do muscle ups, it won’t be good enough to do just one. You will want to do two at a time. When you can do two at a time, you will want to do five, and then 10. It will never end. You think Coach Josh is ready? You think I am ready? You have no idea how deep and wide the talent is in this competition. To be quite honest, and as much as I hate to admit it, I will be very lucky to make it to Regionals ever again. But, that isn’t stopping me from trying. So, just suck it up, and work with what you have. You may find out that you’re made up of a lot more than you give yourself credit for. Maybe I will, too. We will never know, though, until we put ourselves to the test.

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes:

And a final quote from me:

“Have you signed up for the Open yet? Do it. Or ELSE!” –Janice Marie Ferguson

Here’s the link to sign up: 2014 CrossFit Games

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