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What I Learned From the Reebok CrossFit Games

04/01/2015 05:47 EDT | Updated 06/01/2015 05:59 EDT
BERTRAND GUAY via Getty Images
TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY FRANCOISE CHAPTAL A woman lifts weight during a crossfit training in a gym in Paris on January 16, 2015. AFP PHOTO / BERTRAND GUAY (Photo credit should read BERTRAND GUAY/AFP/Getty Images)

I love CrossFit -- it's the only sport I know where the loudest cheers are for the last to finish. This week in the CrossFit calendar marks the end of the beginning -- another year of the Reebok CrossFit Games Open have officially come and gone.

According to Forbes, CrossFit has become "one of the fastest growing sports in America," and the quest to the Reebok CrossFit Games is truly a global celebration of fitness. The games are an annual event that begin with the Open; top athletes in various regions then embark upon the grueling, tiered progress to Regionals; and then they climax with the Games -- the world's ultimate test of fitness.

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The Open is a growing global movement (literally and figuratively) that provides the ultimate test of fitness capacity and skills. Anyone is welcome to participate in the prescribed five workouts that are completed over five weeks.

While the Open creates an amazing opportunity to grow stronger, have fun, test your physical limits, and celebrate new and longstanding friends in the CrossFit community, it also creates a space for learning and reflection. Some of the key lessons I learned from the Reebok CrossFit Open this year are:

Say your goals loudly + proudly: At the beginning of the Open, Reebok extended the invitation to declare your open goal (I declared mine here). I believe that there is something powerful about saying your dreams out loud. Broadcasting your goals is a great way to increase your accountability and support -- and it's a BIG first step towards making them a reality.

PR's (personal records) are the best ever: During the Open you often have the opportunity to pick up things that are heavier than you've ever lifted, or to do an exercise with greater frequency than ever before. Finding the courage to lace up your Nanos, challenge yourself, and exceed what you've accomplished in the past is exciting and rewarding!

Kinship is king: There is something magical about knowing that you are doing the same workout as people all over the world. Solidarity sweating breaks down geographical and language barriers -- it is an amazing way to empathize and relate to others.

If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try again: If you aren't happy with your score, you have an opportunity to re-do your workout and try again. Experience is a great teacher, and the best gains come when you test your limits and become better than you were yesterday.

Aim for fearFULL: Sometimes hearing Dave Castro (the Director of the Games) announce a workout can make you want to run hide in a box, instead of jump on it. When you feel afraid, don't shy away. Feel the fear -- and do it anyway because the greatest growth comes when you face your fears head on, and push past them.

Always work hard and try your best: When you work hard and try your best, over time it really does pay off -- with persistence and dedication you truly can achieve feats of strength and athleticism that once seemed impossible!

Great things don't come from working out in your comfort zone: Sometimes when we workout, we can get into a routine or fall short of what we are truly capable of. During the Open, all of the workouts are judged -- this means you are required to maintain movement standards and attain a high level of physical prowess.

Applause is awesome: The camaraderie in the CrossFit community is remarkable. There is nothing like having a group of people who support you, cheer for you, encourage you when you don't feel you have one more rep left in you, and scream at you to give it your all -- and reciprocally, there is nothing like cheering for others with the same fervour. Watching someone conquer an exercise that they were struggling with is rewarding and exciting.

Fitness is for everyone: This year was the most inclusive Open yet: this was the first year that a scaled workout option was included, and there are also various age divisions (such as masters and teenage). With age and ability no longer a barrier, there truly are opportunities for everyone to participate.

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