Getting back into the game... but not the Games. Photo by Riley Karroll, CrossFit 604.

Getting back into the game… but not the Games.
Photo by Jason Darr, CrossFit 604.

The Reebok CrossFit Games Open kicked off last Wednesday. For those who are unfamiliar with the Games, the Open is the first of three levels of competition. It consists of five workouts over the course of five weeks.

Anybody worldwide — from novice to serious competitor — can participate in the Open. Workouts can be done at an approved gym or submitted by video for online judging. The top Open athletes from each region go on to compete at Regionals, a weekend-long live competition from which the 50 male and 50 female Games competitors are selected.

This is the third year that the CrossFit Games has started with an Open competition instead of Regionals. This year in particular, there has been a push for every athlete at every CrossFit gym to compete, regardless of skill level.

There are a lot of really good reasons to participate in the Open, even if you don’t stand a chance of making it to Regionals, but that’s not what this blog post is about.

It’s about the fact that roughly 100 people at my gym have signed up, and I’m not among them.

If you’d asked me two seasons ago, when I was four months pregnant, I’d have told you that I would definitely be competing in 2013; more specifically, trying to secure a spot at Regionals. But here I am, now almost 19 months post-partum, and I have no desire to do so.

I’m not sure if it’s because I’m only a few months back into CrossFit after a long hiatus, and perceive myself to be barely half the athlete I used to be, or if motherhood has caused me to lose my competitive spirit. The gym is a totally different place for me now. Not better or worse; just different.

When I was pregnant, even in my final trimester, nothing delighted me more than topping the gym’s leader board. Now, I don’t even look at it. I just do the best I can, and I compete only with myself — my new self, that is; not my pre-baby self. I enjoy my CrossFit classes and I feel beaten up and sore great after a workout. That is enough for me right now.

Sure, I still use my previous achievements as a gauge to help me set my long-term fitness goals, but I try very hard not to compare my current performance with the past. While I believe that it is physically possible for me to regain my pre-baby fitness level, I don’t think it’s a realistic expectation at this point in time. I have a family now, and I’m in the final stages of preparation to launch my new business (April 1st!). Time is at a premium. I get to the gym two days a week (on the days that Oliver is in daycare) and I’m aiming to add a third as soon as possible. I used to do CrossFit four or five times a week, plus one or two recreational fitness activities.

I don’t want to participate in the Open when I can’t give it my all. I want to be strong, fit and healthy, but I no longer have the drive to be the strongest, the fittest and the healthiest.

Maybe I’ll feel differently about it next year.

Are you participating in the CrossFit Open this year? Why or why not?


  1. Not competing either. Last year when I was 8 months pregnant and about to participate in the Columbia Tower stair climb here in Seattle I swore I would compete this year. The main reason I am not is due to a healing bicep injury. If I were competing I would not be in the type of shape I wanted to be by this time post baby. I still have weight to lose and getting to the gym is not easy. I aim for 4 days a week but almost never manage that. I work 40+ hours a week and take care of our 10 month old. All I can say is maybe next year!

  2. nope.
    because I’m doing the open wods anyways, and I can see how I rank, without needing to sign up. I’m efficient like that 😉

    • You are also smarter than everyone else because you are torturing yourself for five weeks without having paid $20 for the privilege of doing so :D.

  3. I know what you mean. I conceived at the same time as last year’s regionals and had to give up my place with the team (qualified to go). I was disappointed but I know I cannot risk the stress t such early stages of my pregnancy. When I was in my 2nd trimester (I was crossfitting for 2years prior to pregnancy), I felt strong enough to crossfit again and found my competitive spirit unabated, even managing some PRs along the way. I was sure I’d hit hard again after I’ve given birth. Now it’s the Open again and my little girl is 10weeks’ old. I tried a couple of WODs when she was a mth old but soon realised bringing her along to the WODs overtired her. I don’t have daycare or other caregiver to help, and breastfeed, so she has to go wherever I am. So I decided to stop for the time being and wait till she’s older. Needless to say, I didn’t join the Open either. She is my focus now, her growth and development. I do what I can at home now to maintain a decent level of fitness. I look forward to crossfitting again and hitting hard. But only when it is okay for her too.

    • I don’t blame you for giving up your spot on the team. I think the pressure of training for a competition would make it extremely difficult to listen to your body during that crucial time.

      I was shocked at how hard it was (still is!) to get out of the house and go to the gym. Oliver was a 14 times a day breastfeeder for the first six months of his life, which basically made it impossible (in my mind) to go anywhere without him. I guess our priorities shift when we become moms :).

  4. I recently competed in an event among 5 boxes in my area. I got on the “Varsity” squad by default (someone else had to drop out), and with all the pressure, practice, and weights heavier than I’m used to, it stopped being fun.

    I love Crossfit and hope to do it forever, but like you, I’m at a point in my life where I just want to be fit and have that snippet of time for myself, not for my son or my coach or the girl next to me whose whipping my butt.

    So I’m not doing the open either. I’ll WOD three times a week like usual and be happy with that.

  5. I know this is stupid, but I’m also not competing in the Open, not because I don’t want to but because I’m frustrated that I’m not further along strenth wise than I am. If I compete all I’m going to do is compare myself to other people at my box.
    I’ve actually been really lucky as far as working out is concerned: I’m training for a 160 mile bike race and have to ride 4 times per week for that and then I’m able to CF 3 times per week (I do one two-a-day). I went back to CF when V was 4 months old and worked out regularly from the time she was a newborn on, but still….why can’t I get that blasted 75 lb snatch up over my head more than once?! (and dude, it is ugly when I do get up over my head). Maybe what’s keeping me from getting any stronger is my frustration with myself. Hmmmm…

  6. Participating. Only to truly push myself. I don’t care how I rank, I just love competition, and I’d like to see how I improve in a year from now at the next Open. I work my hardest during a competition, and with this being my first Open, I am thrilled at how 13.1 went, and really surprised myself. I am also not married, not a mom, and don’t mind spending hours at my crossfit gym.

  7. Not participating because I’m 9 months pregnant, due any day! I am dying to get my body back though. 🙂 I competed in 2011 and qualified with my team, then had a neck injury that sidelined me for a year. I reluctantly sat out last year, I didn’t even go watch 😦 I found out I was pregnant in July last year and was determined to Crossfit as long as possible. Morning sickness had other ideas, it is still hanging around at 9 months! This year I took the judges course and I’m a back up judge for my box. I went and cheered on those competing last week and plan to do the same this week too.
    It will be interesting to see how I feel about competing next year. I have all these lofty goals about getting back into my pre-pregnancy, pre-injury state once I’ve recovered and our baby is able to either come with me or stay with Dad so i can workout again. I’ve been lounging around for the last 4 months wishing I could do more and missing my workouts and running (reminding myself its for such a great reason though!). I’d been CrossFitting for 5 years and this is the longest stretch I’ve gone without a workout.
    I’m just going with the flow for now, but I sure do miss it!

  8. I am 13 months post-partum and participating in the Games for the first time ever. Although I’ve been Crossfitting for five years, I’m not a top athlete at my gym, am only able to make it 2-3 times per week, and rarely even do workouts RX’d… but I thought this would be an excellent excuse to push myself a little and see what happens. 🙂

  9. My boy is 12 months, and a year ago I would have thought I’d be participating for sure, but I’m not either. My main reason is that I don’t know if I can make all the Open WOD days at my gym. I don’t make it in a lot, usually 3x a week. Plus I still do lots of scaling so I just didn’t see a need. I’m also about to switch back to my old gym where CF is offered on a limited schedule. I’ve been going to a much much bigger gym for a while in order to have more scheduling options with baby, but the much much bigger gym is also much much more expensive, and I just can’t justify the expense anymore.

  10. I love this post. I can see myself really relating to this post-pregnancy feeling in the world of my previous running PR’s that were achieved shortly before I got pregnant or my PR’s with all of my O-lifts. I am still going at it “hard” in my new terms of pregnancy at 24 weeks, but my competitive side has waned a bit, refocused on being a momma. I can see that carrying over to my post-partum self as well. Thanks for the post!

  11. Nope — never even considered it. I thrive on competition, but not this particular type of competition. Two people from my gym are participating and they are totally prepared for the workouts. Not to be controversial, but it seems a little bit irresponsible for Crossfit to push for everyone to compete. Unless someone has excellent form, knows when to dial it back and has a great coach/support system those WODs could be pretty dangerous (even for super fit people) in terms of their potential to cause injury. But back to the point … I totally get where you are coming from! I do not care where I am on the board anymore either. Oddly, I am slower and lift lighter weight than I did before I got pregnant, but now I feel much stronger and have a lot more muscle definition. So strange!

  12. I am 13 months post-partum and I decided to compete this year. I, like you, am a shadow of my former fitter self. I would never have made it to regionals even if I was as fit as I used to be. I just wanted to push myself this year to be more consistent. It has been really hard between work and the baby.

  13. I’m participating! I participated last year when my baby was a couple/three months old. I wanted to gauge my fitness levels and had planned to do the Open WODs again half way through the year to see if my fitness improved… well that never happened!!
    Now a year later, we have relocated, I have started a new job, started at a new box, and I joined the Open again. Having moved to another state, I think that my only outlet now is cross fit, so I have been trying to go a few times a week, when work and babysitting allow. I was just curious to see where I stack up again. I don’t expect to do well at all, hopefully better than last year when I gave up 3 minutes into the 18 minute workout, and then when I saw that there was 150 wall balls, called it a day after 1!
    Most of all, I am doing it to be part of the crossfit community again, which was something I missed during this past year of transition.

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