Food for Thought - Masters: Having an Open Mind During the Open

From Tabata Times.

As CrossFit Masters athletes, we hold the unique position of viewing the entire spectrum of what it means to be successful. For the most part, we have experienced the endless and sometimes relentless push to win that which is in alignment with the drive of young adulthood. We have grown our children and may be grandparents or even great grandparents at this point in our lives. We may be running successful businesses and/or serving positions of higher leadership, while some of us are heading towards retirement or already living that life.

It is safe to say Masters athletes are truly in a league of their own.

With this unique and in-depth outlook on life, we are more apt to have an open mind when it comes to intense and challenging situations. Enter the CrossFit Open 2016!

Keeping an open mind when it comes to this year’s Open is important for a multitude of reasons. First, we must understand the individual reasons WHY we embarked on this journey in the first place. Pushing through does not necessarily mean “buck it up, buttercup” — but rather looking within ourselves and deciding why we are even considering the undertaking. Most Masters athletes (just look at the numbers competing compared to non-masters) are either mildly seasoned CrossFitters transitioning from the traditional realm into the veteran’s group or are brand new to the system altogether.

From one of those two strict vantage points, they either understand the Open and all of its glory, or they are lookingsimply to give it a

go. The downfall for the latter group, however, is that most of them do not fully understand what it means to compete in the Open. They may have been mildly pressured to participate by their coaches, or they have a social need to be a part of the bigger picture.

For whatever reason launches them on this amazing journey of self-evaluation and bench-marking, it is important to remember the bodies of the Masters athletes are not the same as those of the young guns. They have more tweaks, pains and repetitive motion injuries than their predecessors and are still held to the same standards. For this reason, their successes are in their own class.

Look deep inside and evaluate WHY you are competing in the first place. If it isn’t because YOU desire to compete for yourself, save the registration and WOD on. If it is about yourself and not your buddy getting a better score than you, then congratulations, you are a true Masters athlete.

Second, it is critical for us to evaluate our own safety concerns and determine if going “balls to the wall” during the Open is right for us. I mean, look at all of the discussion forums relative to whether or not RX‘ing 16.1, 16.2 and 16.3is appropriate and for those who scaled — well, aren’t you losers, right?

If safety is an issue with any part of the RX’d movements, then scaling is 100% appropriate. If your RX’d score is low because you have a bum knee, ankle, hip etc., you did exactly what you could do for safety’s sake.

If we have safety concerns or know for a fact that we are unable to perform a movement to standard, then by all means scale that mofo. Boss the scaled like no one’s biz. Why? Because you are doing it for YOU…remember?

However, if you are concerned with the number of reps on the sheet, do remember that 1 rep at RX’d will always score higher than 300 reps scaled. Don’t cheat yourself by doing a scaled version when you are capable of doing the RX’d. Integrity and safety are key to being an elite athlete in any sport.

Conversely, don’t beat yourself up emotionally for keeping yourself safe.

Finally, once you complete your WOD to the best of your ability, keep an open mind about your final score. I have witnessed countless times in this Open alone and with 16.1 and 16.2 at minimum, dozens of men and women beating themselves up for getting “x” number of reps. This is ridiculous and an overt waste of energy.