I’ve been doing Crossfit for four years, why am I just now participating in the Open?

I stumbled upon Crossfit in 2018 when I was walking to my favorite neighborhood coffee shop in the Mission District of San Francisco. As I was walking, I saw a few people running (I know now it was their 400m warm-up jog) and others doing clean and jerks. I’ve always loved moving my body (I was a tennis player growing up), but in the Bay Area, I felt uncomfortable in many group fitness classes due to the lack of diversity in both ethnic background and body composition.

I took a chance and emailed the gym to attend a free first class. I attended my first class at a gym that used to be called Arena Ready and was hooked. I went to their 6 am classes religiously and Crossfit became a safe space for me. To this day, It is one of the only times I am not constantly thinking about how big my body is but instead focusing on the amazing things this body can do like squatting 233 pounds!!

I’ve never been a competitive person. I am really intrinsically motivated and the thought of my name being on a leaderboard against my peers really dissuaded me from participating in the Open officially. For those who don’t know, the Crossfit Open is a worldwide three-week Crossfit competition where athletes from all over the world do the same three workouts for the score. I was so self-conscious about having the lowest score or using the smallest dumbbell that I convinced myself it was not worth competing in this once-a-year event.

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to have been accepted to OutAthele (OA), where I gained an amazing community, queer athletes. In our OA WhatsApp group, we were all chatting about our experiences with the Crossfit Open and also encouraging anyone who has not competed before. I was reminded of how scalable Crossfit workouts are and all the different ways I could scale for my own needs and abilities. For example, I have a bad knee and knew I would have to scale any running or jumping movements and was fully encouraged to do so. On Saturday, Feb 26th, another OA member at my Crossfit gym and I decided to score each other’s very open! It was such a great experience not only supporting my friend and fellow OA but also supporting all the other members at my gym. When I was struggling with my wall walks, all I could hear were affirmations and support from those around me.

Not going to lie, 22.1 was incredibly difficult and I was sore for 2 days but I am so proud of myself for 1) doing something that is naturally out of my comfort zone and 2) being able to cheer on a fellow OA while doing it!