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Oxford CrossFit Gyms Join Global Competition

By Tucker Robbins
Journalism Student

On Oct. 10 workout enthusiasts in gyms across the globe will begin five weeks of fitness and endurance tests in what’s called the CrossFit Open.

Weights on a rack. Photo by Tucker Robbins.

CrossFit is characterized by high-intensity workouts balanced with nutrition advice. The CrossFit Open is a worldwide competition involving five workouts that are released over a period of five weeks. Anyone over the age of 14 can compete and be ranked globally in this event.

“For me, CrossFit is about observable and measurable progress and the Open provides just that. I am able to look back at previous Open standings and compare my current standings. It always gives me things I need to work on when it’s over but always lets me celebrate how far I’ve come,” said CrossFit coach Emma Gaines.

Nineteen-year-old Addison Bridges is a local CrossFit coach who has participated in three of these competitions.

“It’s a great bonding experience. A lot of gyms to do what they call a ‘Friday Night Lights,’ and a lot of people come to the gym on Friday night and they’ll run heats of the workout. So, you get to compete within your gym,” Bridges said.

Gaines and Bridges both coach at CrossFit Blue Shark in Oxford. The other local CrossFit gym is Oxford CrossFit.

The Open incorporates many of the most common CrossFit exercises. For some, that makes it the perfect chance to track their growth.

Bridges said she remembers tackling handstand walks last year, something she couldn’t do at all at the beginning of the Open.

“It really pushed me the most to do more and practice, and a month later I could do 400 feet of handstand walks,” she said. “It was really memorable for me because everyone was just standing around me like ‘You got this!’ and cheering me on.”

Beginning with the 2019 Games, the top 20 overall Open finishers in the world qualify directly to the CrossFit Games — an international competition co-sponsored by Reebok.

Emma Gaines doing snatches. Photo by Tucker Robbins.

Since chances of qualifying for the Games are slim, last year Blue Shark started an intramural Open as an in-house competition where the gym divides participants into teams to add not only a more realistic competitive edge but also an element of support.

“For me, it’s more fun to celebrate other people’s success,” Gaines said.

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