2015 CrossFit Open: Five Weeks & Five Years



2015 CrossFit Open: Five Weeks & Five Years

Another CrossFit Open comes to a close after five torturous weeks of physical tests and mental challenges. Naturally, thrusters and more thrusters ended the Open, coupled with rowing this time around to make the final week absolutely quadtastic.

With the end of the 2015 Open, CrossFit Amplify also celebrates its 5-year anniversary.

We opened in April of 2010 on the shoulders of big dreams. Well, modest aspirations. The goal? Stay open a year. And to make two things happen in the meantime: 1) each month's rent, and 2) a difference in each member's life.

Humble origins allowed us to focus on people and individual improvement, and the gym grew organically... mostly by word of mouth. One year came and went. Then two. Then three.

Here we are five years later, well-settled in a new facility with enough space and equipment to do workouts and hold competitions we would have only dreamed about in 2010.

Amplify had over 100 members register for the 2015 CrossFit Open to test their fitness through the five workouts of worldwide competition. That makes two years in a row surpassing this number, which ranks us among the highest participating gyms in the North Central Region.

Steady fitness development, growth in the community, and a consistently fun social atmosphere are all a mark of pride for us, achieved only by the class of individuals who enter the Amplify doors.

By no means do we have it perfectly figured out as a strength and conditioning facility, what amidst the giant masses of the fitness industry. But perhaps that's why this works, here at Amplify. We're in this together, mistakes and all, learning and striving to be fit, to grow as human beings, and to be better than yesterday.

Five years.

Mike, myself, and all of CrossFit Amplify could have only accomplished this with the immense help and involvement of many past contributors, our fellow trainers, and of course the Amp community itself.

Now lovingly titled the AmpFam, it has grown into an entity all its own-- one that can be felt immediately upon setting foot in our facility.

Particularly during Friday nights of the CrossFit Open, the feel of our second home is something that can't always be put into words; that sense of family is present in seeing everyone rally behind each other with energy and passion, not just to complete the workout of the week, but to bond in something larger than physical fitness.

As owners, the two of us have seen CrossFit grow from that where you knew almost every CrossFitter in the area by name to the current scenario of over 10,000 affiliates worldwide, with nearly 200 in the state of Illinois. Through a decade of peaking interest and through a recent surge of internet hatred, CrossFit is thriving.

Amplify has completed each year of the CrossFit Open since its addition to the competition season; we've seen "the sport of fitness" swell from its inception to the current live-streamed and televised event.

Each year, the new Open workouts are announced with much excitement, surprise, and even dismay. Nonetheless, we struggle through the same weekly workout that everyone in the world is completing and share in the growth of the CrossFit community at large.

This year was no different; the excitement of CrossFit Christmas comes on five Thursday nights in succession, one of which was nearby in downtown Chicago this year, with a solid AmpFam crew representing along the railings on the live feed.

And the workouts themselves?

The addition of a scaled division for 2015 gave hope that all movements would be manageable by everyone who registered. For the most part that became true, although there will always be our weaknesses, our goats, to work on.

To redo or not to redo. That is the question.

Unless you're on the cusp of qualifying for the regional, or you know, you just know that you can contribute to the team score as a competitive athlete, the rule of thumb for a CrossFit Open workout is "one and done."

In general, it's very difficult to replicate interest and intensity in the exact same WOD just days apart and still continue in a smart training regimen. Pull-up callus tears, anyone?

That said, repeating an Open workout can allow for improvement-- some benchmarks can take place with reps or time, and that first experience can give important feedback for the second attempt. This totally depends on the workout, of course. That cave can be a dark, dark place, full of grunt and sweat and drool.

Need a reminder? Just take a look at pictures of your pain face mid-workout. Striving for extra reps, or being stabbed with a sword? You make the call.

Either way, each season we have Amp athletes complete a skilled movement for the first time or PR a lift during an Open workout. This is something you won't see in the digits on a computer screen.

A submitted score will never show the emotional struggle or the small accomplishments or the uproar of a spontaneous cheering section at our gym's Friday Night Lights.

15.3 Amp

As far as regional qualification goes, Amplify has been fortunate enough to have representation for three years in a row now with individual female qualifier, and resident badass, Kristin Miller. Kristin finished 11th in the North Central Open this year. We all watched her cement that spot during 15.5 and put closure on another impressive five weeks.

In 2013, the Amplify team initially missed advancing to the North Central regional in the CrossFit Games by one spot.  At that time, top 30 teams moved on from the CrossFit Open. We were 31st.  That is, before all the declarations took place with the North Central individuals and teams. After all was said and done we did in fact qualify a team for the 2013 regional in addition to Kristin.

In 2014, the Amplify team missed the top 30 by just a few spots.

And now, in 2015, qualification has changed. Only the top 15 teams will go to the regional, this year meeting in Minneapolis and combining the North Central and the Central East in a "super regional," of sorts. Our team placement of 20th in the North Central a great feat, but no longer an automatic qualifier.

So the waiting game begins, and we soon see how our top rankings file in place as individuals across the region declare their desire to go team or not.

In the end, we have the 20th fittest team in the region, the 140th fittest team in the world, and by far more importantly, five years of growth, memories, and community.

So we put closure on another Open and welcome in the start of year six as CrossFit Amplify.

This has surpassed anything either Mike or myself could have imagined, while at the same time fits right in line with what we dreamed all along. And there are big things ahead too-- it's just a matter of what the future will bring.

Congrats to those of you who took on the 2015 Open, and welcome to those who will join in the carnage of 2016. Hey... we made it through all five weeks without burpees this year! Who would've thought?

Cheers to five weeks, to five years, and to the five alarm fire in our lungs from every CrossFit Open workout past, present, and future.

- Scott, 3.31.15

Amplify's 2015 CrossFit Open Leaderboard

The CrossFit Games


The CrossFit Games, to be exact. http://games.crossfit.com

The 2012 Games are July 13-15. And as they near each year, I get more excited than the last. But I also worry more and more, almost cringing in anticipation of what might we might see pop up in the workouts or skill segments. (Softball, anyone?)

See, there's a history here. Things weren't always as they are now. Most of you already know this. CrossFit has grown, arguably both for the better and for the worse. And in remembering the first Games and then really seeing it take off with the second and third annual competitions, I stay enthralled with what will happen each summer. Ever seen "Every Second Counts" or YouTube footage of The Ranch in Aromas? Great stuff. But each year I find myself desperately wanting CrossFit to stay true to its roots... basically, I'm worried about us jumping the shark. (Or is it too late?)

We are hitting the 6th year of competition. It's been an interesting last two years, with ESPN airing Games footage and Reebok picking up sponsorship, both plugging the sport of fitness. The terms "Fittest on Earth" and "World Record" come with an asterisk. Don't they? I mean, a snatch world record??  It has me wondering if it's too elitist to get a Prebok shirt.

Nonetheless, as much as we can laugh at the ridiculousness that can happen when any business or brand grows with success, I will be glued to the TV and computer as much as I can be this weekend (and as video updates get released in the weeks to follow). I'm a proud supporter of CrossFit, and will defend it through the ups and downs as long as it continues to make sense.

For instance:

2011 Excitement  http://games2011.crossfit.com/finals/workouts.html It was fantastic. Amidst the calls of selling out, last summer we saw incredible athletes doing incredibly grueling workouts. In my mind, easily the best thus far in terms of testing wide-ranging fitness components and time domains.

The 2012 Open  http://games.crossfit.com/content/open-workouts Remember? It was the "all-call" this spring for any and all athletes across the world to attempt to qualify. You and me, we were there. How'd you do? Despite the burpee fiasco of 12.1, the top athletes seemed to make it through. That's the goal.

2012 Regionals  http://games.crossfit.com/workouts/regionals-individual The Open of course led to the Regionals, where we saw some more amazing performances and finally have consistent workouts across all regions. There were issues: athletes in the final regionals had a significant, yet equal, advantage of practicing the workouts for longer. The range of motion standards needed a close eye. (Looking your way "Diane.") Even with this and world records* being shoved down our throats (read: littering our Facebook feed), the workouts/programming were LEGIT.

So who's gonna win? Will we see these two dethroned in a week's time? Will the big names shine, or will a relatively unknown champion be deemed the "Fittest on Earth?" Rich in 2012: http://youtu.be/u_RzyIJi8qc Annie in 2012: http://youtu.be/nNzdFy6m9kc


Some of the 2012 events have already been announced.

They look a little like last year combined with this year's Regionals. I'm not sure I understand the GHD Med Ball throw; this has already been beaten into the ground by critics, even in the short time since being announced. But I do have to say, this event may win the annual Reebok CrossFit Games "Shark Award." (The trophy has Greg Glassman on water skies, riding a Reebok branded sharkfin through the waves. He may or may not be holding a softball proudly overhead. Prototype TBA.)

My true hopes for the weekend: We see something new. We see something old. We see something heavy. We see both short & long time domains. We see another cool swim WOD, some technical skills, and rings, ropes, sleds. Maybe even some tires or stones? But we don't leave the basics. If it makes sense, I'm a supporter.

A lot of this is already set. Good. We can all watch it unfold here: http://games.crossfit.com/live-stream Now don't get tricky, Dave, and let's find the best athlete out there this year.

And for the record, I'll be rooting for Speal.

-Scott, 7.9.2012