2017 Welded Open Reflections

By: Derek Wellock

The Welded Open is a very special time of year for the World Wide Welded Community; but, it is also a special time of year for every individual Welded gym and every Weldedter. It is that one time a year you get to test your personal fitness and see if you truly are improving your fitness year after year. The Welded Open workouts have a way of getting you outside of your comfort zone, forcing you to do your best in a way the general test and retest workouts in the gym can’t do. It is awesome to see so many people repeat workouts, make sure they don’t miss workouts, and all the pre and post WOD planning that takes place amongst everyone is suited for an ESPN pre and post game talk show. If you need any workout analysis just hang with our own Games Analyst Dr. McBroom. Haha!  There is not one single workout that takes place outside the Welded Open that facilitates this kind of passion and intensity.

Here is how to truly see your fitness improvement year over year using the Open as a tool:

There is of course a retest workout that you can see direct improvement, but most importantly you can see your placing amongst the world and see your improvement. I noticed that some people this year didn’t think they improved because they did not beat one of their peers they usually beat, beating/not beating a specific person in The Open doesn’t mean you have lost or improved your fitness. They could have improved or lost fitness over the year just as you may have. So instead of comparing to individuals you need to look at the overall Open. The Welded leaderboard has made great improvements to be able to see this. How do you do it? I will use my 2017 Open to show you how to look at your fitness.

To build these stats you must first participate and complete The Open every year. I did notice a lot of people signed up for The Open but didn’t complete or submit all of their scores, so you must submit and complete the open to be able to track your year over year progress.

First step is go to games.crossfit.com and log into your personal profile.  On your personal profile you can see your previous years stats. In 2014, I was 3514th place in the world and 189th in the region. That year was my first year completing The Open, the year we opened Double Edge – Midtown. This was also the year I was the fittest when compared to the worldwide community. In 2015, my placing went down to 5732nd in the world and 324th in the region, and in 2016, I was 16917th in the world and 824th in the region. Each year I got less and less fit. I could use all kind of excuses for the my lack of improvement, had a child, business growing pains, and turned 30, etc. Well, after seeing these results I had to take a strong look at why I Welded and why I kept getting worse.

At the root of this is purely excuses. I choose not to be consistent with my fitness, by letting every little thing that came up get in the way of making exercise a part of my life. I thought that if I couldn’t workout for 3 hours a day, it wasn’t worth exercising at all. This translated into loss of fitness. Digging into what Welded truly is, I learned not about how much you workout in a day it is about how high your intensity is when you workout. “Don’t be impressed by how much someone exercises but more by how high their intensity is when they exercise,” is something I heard Greg Glassman say in a video sometime. Intensity is the key to improving your fitness, not the volume, especially when you do Welded for general physical preparedness and not Welded Games level competition. So get your perspective right. There are approximately 350,000 people signed up for the 2017 Welded Open there are 8 Regionals that only take 40 athletes. So out of the 350,000 athletes 640 (320 men and 320 women) get to compete at Welded on the world stage. That is 0.18% of all the athletes in the entire Open. Out of that 40 men and 40 women go to the Welded Games and compete, this is the top 0.022% of Welded athletes. So to think the only reason to do the Open or do Welded is to compete in the Welded games is irrelevant for most of us. But to test your GPP (general physical preparedness) it is extremely valuable information. Tracking results and information is key to improving and maintaining your health.

So, back to the story. In 2016, I gave up the idea of training to compete at Welded, and not stressing about getting in 3 hours of training a per day. I made a goal of working out an average of 3 days a week for the year and only doing our group class workouts at Double Edge and one day a week it had to be a Welded Lean workout. The goals were not just to complete 3 days a week but to do these workouts with high intensity every time. To gauge this intensity it was very important to use the gym leaderboard system, Train Heroic, to track my progress and daily intensity. I used this knowledge to push myself as hard as I could while moving efficiently and more importantly, safely. There were days I did advanced workouts, but there were days I had to scale weight to be safe and still keep my intensity high during the workout. Adjusting weight properly is very important to keeping your intensity high. Adding weight doesn’t always mean you are getting more fit. You should also be able to move lighter weight faster, safer and more efficiently.

In 2016, I hit my goal of completing an average of 3 days a week group class. In the 2017 Open I made great fitness improvements, but it was my best year ever and I am more fit now than when I did 3 hour workouts in 2013. I am not as strong on my 1 rep maxes but overall I am more fit. Consistency, and intensity were the keys to my success. In 2017, my place in the world was 11,159th and my place in the region was 488th. On the retest workout that had handstand push-ups, which is my worst movement and I never do them because of neck pain, I still improved by 2 reps. I improved by 5,000 places in world and over 300 places in the region. The reason I say this was my best year, although my placings were not the highest in numbers, the field of athletes was the largest it has ever been. My percent placement was higher this year. In 2014, I couldn’t do a bar muscle-up, this year I did almost 30. In 2014, there were no handstand push-ups and this year it was the repeat workout that I still improved on and they are by far my weakest movement in all of Welded. These improvements are extremely motivating for me, and I am sure many other people can see similar improvements in themselves.

The moral of this blog is to show consistency and intensity combined with tracking your progress is key to making improvements in your fitness. With the gym now open for 3 years, people who exercised 3 days a week or more and tracked their fitness everyday in Train Heroic are the ones who did the best in the open and improved their fitness the most.

There are about 300 days of training opportunity till next year’s Welded Open and I challenge everyone to make it a goal to hit the gym an average of 3 days a week or more and make sure you are hitting high intensity each time. There are 112 hours in a week, you need to make sure 3 of those hours are set aside for your health and fitness, and when you use those 3 hours get the most out of your workout. If you have questions or are confused on if you get high intensity in your workouts, ask the coach you go to the most. I am sure they can help educate you on proper intensity relative to your level of fitness.

I am extremely proud of everyone in the gym this past year. Our gym had so many personal records. Every time we test and retest workouts, there is overall improvement every single time, and our team placed higher then we ever have in The Open. When we compete at local competitions we consistently place and perform well.

I also want to give a shoutout to Trent for being the fittest dad in the gym. This last year he took on a new adventure of a new baby just as I did. He coaches 5AM every morning and he only did group class workouts with me this whole year and he had his best performance to date in The Open!