CrossFit Games

CrossFit Bison’s Recipe for Success as it Leads 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Open Registrations

January 31, 2023 by
Photo Credit: CrossFit Bison
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The 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Open begins on February 16 as community members take on the first of three workouts. There will be thousands of participants around the world, including the overwhelming majority of CrossFit Bison’s members. 

One big thing: Based in Midland Park, NJ, CrossFit Bison has around 305 members. This number includes the monthly members and others that may not pay for a full monthly membership. Two hundred and forty-two of them have signed up to take part in the CrossFit Open, representing 79.34 percent of the gym. 

Dave Syvertsen, CrossFit Bison co-owner and L2-Level head coach: “We grew from one member back in 2014, and it really organically grew. A lot of it was word of mouth. So the community grew because their friends and family were there. And just naturally you want to do what your friends and family do and join and be a part of that. And I think the biggest thing that it went from 30 people to 240 people was the fact that we have a very, ‘Let’s do this together’ type of approach to it.”

  • Those that participate in the Open will have multiple opportunities to complete the workouts. There will be a big event under the lights every Thursday after the workout is released. There will also be more than a dozen other classes entering the weekend. 
  • One interesting detail about CrossFit Bison is that there is not a split between competitive athletes and everyday CrossFitters. No one is on a pedestal. They all work out and embrace the “suffering” together while pursuing the same stimulus. This is especially true during the Open as the entire community bands together to support each other.

“I’ve been programming for the gym since day one,” added Syvertsen, “and I’ve always said, ‘The method and madness to our programming revolve around prepping people for the Open, whether they take that serious or not. Most don’t take the Open serious, but there is something about it that you can work towards.”

Why the push for the Open? There are some simple reasons. A prominent example is loyalty. As Syvertsen explained, CrossFit has changed his life, as well as those of countless others. He wants to help it live on well into the future as it continues to have a positive impact. 

  • The Open is a big part of the process, especially considering that it is a unique fitness competition involving thousands upon thousands of participants. 
  • The affiliate owners can show loyalty to CrossFit and the Open while the participants can show loyalty to their affiliates by representing them on an international leaderboard. 

One of the most important reasons is the “magic” behind the annual competition, he said. There are countless people that are nervous about signing up for the Open. They may have doubts about what they can do and the scores they will log. However, Syvertsen has seen some people achieve great things during the Open. 

15.1 and 15.1A are memorable examples at CrossFit Bison. 15.1 was a fast, nine-minute AMRAP featuring toes-to-bar, deadlifts, and snatches. 15.1A was a one-rep max clean and jerk with a six-minute time cap. The members of CrossFit Bison did this workout during the gym’s anniversary party/Open kickoff party, and they used the opportunity to deliver some standout performances. 

  • “I think we had 48 People do that workout – I don’t know why I remember – it was 48 people working out that night,” Syvertsen said. “We had 32 of them hit a PR on the clean and jerk. That is what sold the concept to them.”
  • “If you sign up for the Open, and you put yourself out there – everyone’s nervous in that environment – but if you put yourself out there, and you know that we’re behind you, you’re going to do things you never thought you could do with your body.”

A separate competition: The members of CrossFit Bison that participate in the Open get to take part in a friendly competition with each other while completing the workouts. They also get to compete virtually with people all around the world. 

  • The affiliate also has a separate competition, one that is in-house. The 12 coaches split up and form three teams – Pink, Black, and Blue. The affiliate members get assigned to these teams, and they can earn points for showing up, wearing the team colors, helping judge movements, and submitting their scores to the CrossFit leaderboard. 
  • “It kind of gets everyone into the competitive environment,” Syvertsen said. “But it really has nothing to do with your score. It’s about being involved and showing support.”
  • “The trash talk is 24/7 over the next two months. It’s almost to the point where it’s almost overboard, but it’s not quite. It’s all playful, and it’s all in good nature. …Whenever you put competitive people in the same room, there’s always potential for negative things to happen. But I do believe most people deep down understand that we need each other.”

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