So, let’s be real, the 2018 CrossFit Open didn’t hold anything back.  The workouts challenged many aspects of fitness including gymnastics, max lifts, and aerobic and anaerobic endurance.  As the labeled gymnast in the gym, I came into Friday night lights with support and encouragement stating I would kill each work out.  I knew this would not be the case.  I see myself as a well-rounded athlete; however, I have many areas to improve in.  Following 18.3, I went home and cried.  The double unders got the best of me, and I was unable to get to the bar muscle ups.  After my melt down, I did some reflecting of my life and CrossFit.

What is the open?

The open is designed for a few reasons.  The first being to celebrate the CrossFit community. The second is to compete to qualify for regionals and the CrossFit games.  Five workouts, in five weeks with multiple attempts to submit those final scores on Monday night.  For the majority of us, it is about showcasing our community.  Our gym hosted “Friday Night Lights,” where individuals would complete each work out with the support of teammates and family

How the open impacted me

My first time competing in the open was when I started CrossFit back in 2016.  But I had no expectations, and barely remember it, other than my terrible double unders.  Entering the 2018 open, I was excited to be tested on my skills.  Yet, each week I was disappointing myself and I was struggling mentally, making that excitement disappear, and I felt like I let myself down. I needed to rethink my mindset.  I will not stand for feeling disappointed in my performances each week.  So I did some reflecting…

Figuring out my why…

Why do I train?  Because I love being strong and active!  Why CrossFit? Because I love the variety, the gymnastics, the intensity, and the community I get to share each sweaty session with.  I love teaching and seeing my fellow CrossFitter’s improve and learn new skills.  I’ve always been an athlete and CrossFit is the perfect balance of sport and fitness, hence why it is known as the “Sport of Fitness.”  I have no desire to go to the games, which is why the “disappointment” I felt after some of the workouts should not have made me that sad.  The time I put into my own training placed me in the top 300 in Western Canada and I am so proud of that.  I didn’t repeat any of the workouts; so my scores were a true representation in competition.

Crossfit Rings

Achieving my own standards…

As most women know, there are these ridiculous standards that are produced on magazine covers and online on what we should look like.  Be muscular or toned, but not too bulky.  Be skinny, but not too skinny.  With these standards, I find it quite easy to judge my own body type, and even my abilities.  And now that there are professional CrossFit athletes, that places another standard for us.  Our gym posts daily class results and you can’t help but compare your own numbers with another person.  I’ll find myself wanting to be like someone, and have what they have, or accomplish what they accomplished.  But this is not possible.  My own standards need to be set in order to measure my success.  This can only be done with setting realistic goals, and then putting in the work to achieve those goals.  Only then, will I achieve my own standards and feel proud of my accomplishment.

It is in my control…

There is no greater feeling than achieving something you never thought possible.  And in CrossFit, you often feel the impossible (another reason why I love it).  In the end, I am the one in control of how much work I put in and how far I will take it.  I can’t control how others perform or the workout that will be released.  There is no value in obsessing over the little details, like getting more reps or completing the work out faster.  I will focus on the process it takes to reach my goals in training and in each work out.

Acknowledging my successes…

Not so long ago I couldn’t even do double unders and now I can consistently string them together.  That is a success!  And in this year’s open, I completed 339.  Another success!  When I sit back and compare my results with my standard, I can see my transformation and improvement over the last few years.  These successes and values are now written in my journal, which helps keep me focused and motivated.

For gymnastics, support is everything! Support from your teammates and coaches, and support for yourself.  In the end, your mind will give you the confidence your body needs to complete a skill.  Physically, you need to have strength to support your body both on your feet and hands.

This sport has changed my life.  Through the ups and down, I will always challenge myself to be better both mentally and physically.  The reality is, high intensity training will not be easy.  So we need tools to help us succeed.  Mental training is one of those tools.  Whether it’s writing in a journal or meditating, we should all find time for it.  In my list of goals, this is number one.


By: Stacey Head