So I’ve been doing CrossFit now for about 3 months and have gotten wrangled in to doing the CrossFit Open. The CrossFit Open is a 5 week competition in which contestants complete one workout each week. Workouts are released on Thursday evening and must be completed by Monday evening. Scores will be tallied and contestants will be ranked against thousands of other people across the world. If you do well enough in the Open you’ll get invited to Regionals and then from Regionals on to the CrossFit Games. I by no means will be coming anywhere close to ranking for Regionals. I’m doing The Open just for fun, the experience and to push myself.
The workout for week 1 is posted below:
20 min AMRAP
25ft Lunge Walk (95 lbs)*
8 Burpees Over Bar
25ft Lunge Walk (95 lbs)*
8 Chest to Bar pull ups
*Every 5 ft is 1 rep
This being the first time I’ve competed in the CrossFit Open, I did not know what to entirely expect from this workout. I’m still relatively new to CrossFit and have commonly made the mistake of underestimating workouts. On paper I find a lot of CrossFit workouts to appear relatively easy but I’m quickly wronged once the workout begins. The CrossFit Open workout 16.1 was no different. On paper the workout did not intimidate me at all and put me into a false sense of security of being able to crush 16.1.
Feeling confident I drove over to my Crossfit Box, opened the door and walked into the gym (CrossFit Sunalta), and I was shocked! The box was packed full of people. There were a ton of people squeezed along the edge of the box cheering on the contestants currently performing 16.1. It was awesome to see and feel the community vibe as the crowd cheered on the contestants. I just looked around and thought to myself “this is pretty damn cool”.
In fact the box was so packed it was even a little hard to find sufficient space to get a solid warm up in. I managed to get on a rower for about 5 min, followed by lunges, squats, pushups, pull ups, and of course foam rolling and stretching.
My brother would be judging my workout and had done 16.1 the day before (he got 192 reps, pretty damn good). Having already performed the workout my brother had a few pointers to throw my way. Such as letting go of the pull up bar as soon as your chest touches the bar on your final rep, get your chest off the ground as quick as possible on the burpees, and to step your feet to your hands for the burpee rather than jumping your feet to hands. Finally the biggest piece of advice he gave me was to remember to breathe throughout every movement but especially during the lunges. The goal in this workout is to keep moving for the full 20 minutes and you won’t be able to do that unless you remember to breath.e
Before I knew it I was selecting my lane and pull up bar and it was go time. Quickly before the workout started I did a few lunges with the 95 lbs and thought “uh oh…this is heavier than I remember”. But too late now for second guesses, so here goes nothing…
Off I went on my first set of overhead lunges and man was that tough. After one set of walking lunges I was already faced with the realization that 16.1 is going to be much harder than I had anticipated. The burpees were not much of a problem initially. Stepping my hands up to my feet was a great help, and allowed me to keep moving at a good pace. It was then back to the lunges and on to the chest to bar pull ups. On my first round I broke the chest to bar pull ups into two sets of 4, and on all subsequent rounds I did four sets of 2.
Upon completing the 8 chest to bar pull ups I was done round 1! I’m not totally sure but I think I completed my first round in about 2 minutes, which was way too fast and a pace that I would not be able to keep for the entire 20 minutes. With round 1 done there was nothing else to do but to head back to the bar bell for some more lunges. I took a few deep breaths, grabbed the bar and lunged away.
A key thing to note about the 25ft lunge walk, is that if you drop the weight or get penalized with a no rep during the walk you have to go back to the last 5 ft mark you crossed (i.e. you drop the weight at 23 ft, you have to restart at 20 ft). Therefore doing the lunge walk unbroken is important as it won’t add any additional lunges to the workout. In order to make sure I could do the lunge walk unbroken I made sure to always take a few seconds before I began the lunges to rest and take in a few deep breaths. In the later rounds the first 2-3 lunges were fine, but every step after that was a grind. I had my eye on the 25ft mark and would not stop under any circumstance till I got there. A few times on the last couple lunges I found myself holding my breath. I knew I was holding my breath because I could feel myself getting light headed along with a little queasiness. After experiencing that I made a mental point to really focus on breathing throughout the lunge walk.
During the last minutes of the workout I was incredibly exhausted. Maintaining a solid consistent pace was extremely difficult as my muscles were being pushed to their limits. This is where the burpees really took their toll. Being exhausted and trying to catch your breath while doing a burpee is damn near impossible (at least for me). Once my chest hit the ground I was so tempted to lay there and rest, but as my brother noted it was very hard to breathe with my chest on the ground. I needed to get off my chest as quick as possible, stand up and take a solid breath at the top of the burpee. My teeth were clinched and I was creating a puddle of sweat beneath me as I performed my final burpees and headed for my final lunge walk.
I picked up that bar and hammered my way across the floor, only to get to the other side and get called for a no rep on my final lunge across the 25 ft line (I guess my knee didn’t touch the ground on my final lunge). Back to the 20 ft line I went and I powered out two long lunges to cover the 5 ft distance. Time was running fast now, I only had a few seconds or maybe a minute left (not too sure it all happened so fast) in the workout. But anyway the workout was almost done! I hopped up on the pull up bar and thought to myself “I’m going to bang out 3 chest to bars”…nope not even close, only did 2. But with my brother yelling at me to get back on the bar I did 2 more and dropped. Again my brother yelling at me to get on that bar and finish off this round before time was up, I did 2 more and dropped. Took another short break and did my last 2 chest to bar pull ups. I looked at the clock and there were only 10 seconds left in the workout. I quickly headed over to the bar bell to see if I could get anymore lunges in the time remaining. I grabbed the bar and looked at the first 5 ft line and it looked like it was miles away. I was not getting the bar off the ground and lunging 5 ft in 10 seconds, not now…
So that was it. After 20 minutes of this workout I was completely thrashed. I’ve never been this exhausted after anything (not even the Spartan Ultra Beast!). My entire body was completely exhausted…and it felt absolutely amazing knowing how hard I pushed and what I was able to accomplish. I ended completing 6 full rounds of the workout for a total of 156 reps (300 ft of lunges [60 reps], 48 burpees, and 48 chest to bar pull ups).
Competitions truly bring out another side of me. Even though that gym was packed with people cheering the contestants on, I hardly even noticed. I had tunnel vision for the entire 20 minutes, I was in my own little world and nothing outside of that world was going to distract me. The only voice I heard throughout the workout was my brother’s telling me to keep moving and keep pushing which definitely had a huge impact on my score. If I did not have him yelling down my neck I think my score could have been significantly lower. So a big thank you to him, he’s also the one responsible for convincing me to sign up for the CrossFit Open…so thanks for that too.
I had an absolute blast with the 16.1 even though I was completely wrecked by the end of the 20 minutes. I am now anxiously waiting with excitement and a little bit of fear for the workouts to come in the coming weeks.
Bring on 16.2!…I’ll try not to under estimate this one.