crossfit open

Running an Intramural CrossFit Open: How to Make it Fun

Running an intramural CrossFit Open at your gym should be low-stress and fun! Here are six ideas to have some fun with this year's Open.

Emily Beers
February 6, 2024
Running an Intramural CrossFit Open: How to Make it Fun
Running an intramural CrossFit Open at your gym should be low-stress and fun! Here are six ideas to have some fun with this year's Open.

A funny thing can happen each year as we near the start of the CrossFit Open. It’s designed to be a fun event aimed at testing athletes’ fitness levels. But occasionally, without the right outlook and preparation, it can turn into a stress-fest.

This added stress isn’t only applicable to you as the owner. Your coaches and gym community might feel it, too. For example, your higher-level athletes might spend an unnecessary amount of time refreshing the leaderboard each week. Your newer athletes might have anxiety from not knowing what to expect. And your coaches might be overwhelmed from taking the judges course and managing heats properly.

Running an intramural CrossFit Open
The Open should be a fun annual event to test athletes’ fitness, while connecting with other gym members.

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that this should be fun.

When you’re able to run a fun intramural CrossFit Open, stress is low and the sense of community is high. Plus, athletes should actually perform better from lower levels of stress. So we’ve put together a list of ways for you to run a successful - and fun! - event this year.

Six Tips to Having Fun with the CrossFit Open.

1. Establish Your Boundaries.

The right mindset is potentially the most important asset for both gym owners and athletes heading into the CrossFit Open.

For gym owners, it’s as simple as setting - and communicating - your boundaries ahead of time. For example, have you been susceptible to answering members’ questions at all hours in the past? Or having to show up on Sundays to judge athlete redos? If you communicate your personal rules in advance, your gym community will know what to expect.

It’s also important for you to help members create their own boundaries. Help newer athletes understand the how-tos and goals of the Open. Remind advanced athletes to refrain from obsessively checking the leaderboard. At the end of the day, your community will follow your lead when it comes to setting boundaries.

Pro Tip: Use automated workflows in PushPress Grow to save time while providing all the info your members need throughout the three weeks of the Open. Book a demo with our team today to find out more!

2. Make it a Team Event.

To preface this idea, note that some of your more competitive athletes may choose not to participate in a team competition during the Open. Those that are trying to advance to Quarterfinals and Semifinals may be more focused on performance, and that’s great! Encourage these athletes along the way, just as you would the rest of your community.

For everyone else, turning the CrossFit Open into a team event can bring even more fun to your gym. First, it can help to take the nerves away from individual performance. And second, it puts the focus on support and celebration of teammates.

Make the CrossFit Open a team event
Make the CrossFit Open a team event to encourage support and celebration in your gym community.

Setting up teams is simple. Each of your coaches can lead a team, then draw names from a hat to assign members to a coach. Teams can work together to choose a name and how they plan to contribute to each weeks’ theme, potluck, etc. Create a leaderboard so everyone can follow along, and you can even come up with fun prizes for the winning team.

3. Develop a Consistent Routine.

Routine can go a long way in reducing stress and having fun with the CrossFit Open. Just like establishing boundaries, setting a routine will help you relax and know what to expect.

Think about the way you manage your gym task list. Make a list of the things that need to get done over the course of the Open. Then set a day and time that you’ll complete each one. For example, spend 30 minutes per day validating scores between 3:00-3:30pm. And don’t forget to communicate this to your members!

This is also a great opportunity to encourage your members to create their own routines. From nutrition planning to rest and additional recovery sessions, help them to be prepared.

4. Remove Tasks from Your Plate.

For these three weeks, being able to focus solely on running a fun CrossFit Open is the goal. And the less you have on your to-do list, the closer you’ll get to achieving that goal. Therefore, plan ahead to remove as many tasks as you can from your plate. This could be through outsourcing, being proactive or simply delaying less-important tasks until afterward.

Perhaps your coaches can take the Judges Course so that you’re not in charge of validating scores. Or one of your social-butterfly members can be in charge of planning the potlucks. If you’re writing individual design programming for members, can you get it done well in advance of the first week?

5. Remember to Rest.

You know that member that you’re constantly having to remind about the importance of rest days? The CrossFit Open is one of those times where gym owners need that same reminder. Taking a break from all the Open-related tasks that take up brain space is a must. This is how you’ll decompress and avoid gym owner burnout.

Avoid gym owner burnout
Avoid the stress of additional tasks by planning ahead and outsourcing during the CrossFit Open.

As gym owners ourselves, the PushPress team understands that taking a break isn’t always easy. But in order to keep on keepin’ on for the long run, it’s important to make yourself step away. Even if it’s just a day away from your gym space. Get a massage, play some golf, take a cold plunge, get out in nature. Do whatever you need to do to let your body and mind reset.

6. Turn a Profit.

Finally, just a friendly reminder that the CrossFit Open doesn’t have to put you in the red when it comes to your time, energy and money. In fact, the opposite is true! Check out the first blog post in this series for ways you can actually make an intramural Open profitable.

In Summary: Reduce the Stress. Increase the Fun.

Just like most things in life, the more prepared you are, the less stressful they tend to be. CrossFit and the annual CrossFit Open are no different!

As a gym owner, start by establishing your boundaries. Add some fun by creating a team event and (just like you’d tell your athletes), develop a consistent routine. Remove as many tasks as possible from your plate during these three weeks. Set aside time to rest and don’t forget, you can also make this a profitable event.

Put these six steps in place to increase the fun and reduce the stress for the 2024 CrossFit Open!

Emily Beers

Emily Beers is a health, fitness and nutrition writer. She has also been coaching fitness at MadLab School of Fitness in Vancouver, B.C. since 2009.

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