“If you aren't fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.”- Vince Lombardi
CrossFit Bison’s Recipe for Success as it Leads 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Open Registrations
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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The Open is here: The 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Open is now 16 days away and counting, and we will have you covered for everything from the workouts to analysis and a complete breakdown of the start of the new season.
Tix update: The Open will kick off overseas with 23.1 in Madrid, Spain and tickets for the event are now available online. 🇪🇸
Next career?: Iceland’s Bjorgvin K. Gudmundsson, or BKG as he is commonly known, tried his hand this past weekend at broadcasting during the RIG CrossFit Competition on Icelandic National TV.
Well played: Men’s Health UK released a list of the 23 best places to train and WIT CrossFit in London came out on top.
Local love: Great piece about how more than 150 athletes from eight CrossFit gyms across West Virginia joined the “I Don’t Have Much Quit In Me” workout fundraiser to benefit ALS patients.
Burnt Out Thinking About Running the Open at Your Gym? Why not Monetize?
The Open is coming and you’re feeling tired already, anticipating the exhaustion you’ll feel after hosting workouts and post-workout socials on Friday nights in the upcoming weeks.
It’s not just about the Friday night event itself, though. That’s the easy part. It’s about answering all the text messages and the hours of administrative work—from registration to inputting data and keeping track of scores—organizing the Intramural Open you’re running.
Sure, the Open brings a great vibe to your community and maybe helps a little with client retention—I mean, who quits the month after they get their first pull-up or muscle-up during the Open?—but you’re starting to wonder if it’s worth all the volunteer hours you put in each Open season.
This is exactly why Mike LeJeune has found a way to earn $5,000 in revenue each time he runs the Open, and has created a time-saving app to make running the Intramural Open at his gym considerably less time-consuming.
The biggest news is arguably the fact that 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Open registrants will now be able to see how many people from their region will make it to Quarterfinals.
Remind me: In previous years CrossFit has stated that the top 10% of individuals and top 25% of teams move on to Quarterfinals.
The revamped website now has raw numbers for each region’s Quarterfinal that will be updated as Open registration grows over the next few weeks. For example, right now 2508 men and 1704 women from Europe will advance to Quarters, while 331 men and 347 women will advance from Oceania.
According to the CrossFit website, “The final cutline (for Quarters) will be set as of the close of the Open on March 6, 2023.”
Another significant change is that CrossFit will only announce “one or two workouts” per day for three days, as opposed to releasing all Quarterfinal workouts at once as in years past. Athletes will have the following 24 hours to perform those one to two workouts before submitting their scores by the deadline.
This matters because, for the past two seasons, athletes could “game” Quarterfinals by choosing which workouts to do, in which order, as long as they submitted them in the correct order and by the correct deadlines.
The second piece of intel is the schedule for the 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Games, which will take place August 1-6 in Madison, WI.
Things will kick off March 7 with pre-sale codes being released, and then on March 20 tickets will be available to the general public.
The Games itself will start with the Age Group divisions on Aug. 1 at 8 AM CT at the Alliant Energy Center, running through to Aug. 3. The Adaptive division will also run during this time slot.
The big dogs (the individuals) will kick off Aug. 3 at 8 AM CT, ending Aug. 6, and the team division will start Aug. 4 and run through to Aug. 6 as well.
One big thing: CrossFit HQ representatives have stated on numerous occasions that they are looking to create some consistency with the season structure and the biggest announcement – in which CrossFit will be taking over the Semifinals, in a quasi-return to the regional structure – does seem to indicate that things could start to become uniform every year, however time will tell.
Madrid Championship Sells Out in Record Time as Additional Spots Added
The 2023 NOBULL CrossFit Open is still about two weeks away, but athletes are wasting no time preparing for the off-season thereafter. The Madrid Championship, a product of Loud And Live, opened for registration Jan. 19 and spots sold out within a couple of hours despite being several months in advance, according to Dylan Malitsky, Vice President of the organization.
Taking place in Madrid, Spain this Sept. 7-10, the already popular competition is growing to unparalleled participation. Due to the demand, the event is adding additional spots for athletes which are also expected to go quickly. If interested, you can sign-up here.
“We are adding 400 spots; from 2,400 to 2,800 — becoming, apparently, the biggest CrossFit official in-person event on earth,” said event director Alfonso Chamorro.
In turn, the schedule has been expanded to four days (from three) to allow for more varied tests of fitness given the amount of athletes to get through various time domain workouts.
There are 24 divisions now available with division standards coming soon. On the team side, Elite (FFMM), and (FMMM): RX, Advance+, Intermediate, Master Intermediate, Scaled+, Beginners AND Masters Scaled. For individuals: Elite and Age Group (35+, 40+, 45+, 45+, 50+ and Teen 16-17).
“Also, we will have room for more actications with brands and a bigger opportunity for everyone to get along and enjoy ‘community sol y kilos’ (community, sun and kilos),” Chamorro added. “Last but not least, this year the (prize) purse size will be increased according to partnership agreements, IOQ inscriptions and ticket sales, with the goal to reach the highest jackpot ever for Madrid.”
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Training Platform Atom Teams up with CrossFit Games OG Marcus Filly
The popular at-home fitness and programming platform Atom has evolved quickly since its release in 2021, most recently adding three-time CrossFit Games athlete Marcus Filly’s Functional Bodybuilding training to their list of offerings.
How they got here: In 2021, RPM Training Co.—known for their state-of-the art at-home gyms—released Atom, a training platform that allows athletes to configure workouts to meet their needs, or join in on virtual classes led by former Games athlete Pat Barber, and ultimately be a part of their growing worldwide community.
Most recently, because the Atom platform has grown so fast, RPM Training Co. decoupled Atom from their brand, so now Atom is a stand-alone digital fitness platform, its goal being to fill the void in the market between generalized training platforms with little to no customization for a coach, and the expensive and risky endeavor of trying to build your own app.
In this sense, Atom is becoming a place that supports coaches, where a handful of selected top-level coaches, such as Filly, can host their various world-class training programs, from functional fitness, to weightlifting, powerlifting, yoga, endurance, or other sport specific training.
“Instead of hosting a thousand creators on a platform with limited ability to support them individually, and lots of overlap between programs, Atom will host just a handful of programs with minimal overlap and provide world-class service,” explained Josh Rogers of RPM Training Co., adding that they’re hoping to add three to five more coaches this year to round out their Atom roster.
What Filly is saying: For Filly, the owner of the Functional Bodybuilding brand (FFB), partnering with Atom was a no-brainer. Not only did it provide him the software solution he had been looking for, but it makes marketing and delivering his program more accessible and easier for his customers to understand.
“This partnership is a key step to improving how we deliver FBB and how accessible it is to our customers. We feel strongly that this partnership is going to give us the opportunity to innovate new features and approaches to delivering this program in a seamless way to the people who stand to benefit the most from it,” Filly said.
He added: “Atom as a company is open-minded and they have the resources and people on their team to be agile, allowing us to truly create a one of kind experience for FBB, and to evolve for years to come…The potential we see in this partnership long term is what really made us move forward.”
About FBB: Filly’s FBB program is designed to bridge the gap between functional training and bodybuilding, which have “historically been two communities that are at odds with one another,” he explained.
“The CrossFitters used to rag on bicep curls and the bodybuilders love to say how pointless burpees are. But more and more, we see people drawn to both camps and we offer a place where you can thoughtfully incorporate both,” FIlly said.
A second goal of his program is to help his customers see, both the performance and body composition results they want.
“So often we hear that people are frustrated that their bodies don’t look like they work out even though they train three to five times per week, and when they do, it is quite hard. Performance and effort in the gym are hard, but when they are not aligned with a thoughtful training program, and a meaningful conversation about nutrition, then people can burn out with uncontrolled intensity and have a hard time making smart choices around their diet,” Filly said.
That’s where his program comes in. “If you are you are not seeing the body changes you had hoped for and it feels like your hard work in the gym doesn’t match what you see in the mirror, and that bothers you, then you’ve got a lot to gain from exploring FBB,” he said, adding that a second group his program caters to are more experience CrossFit athletes who are “burnt out from the high intensity chase” and want to try something new for a while.
And to those who do decide to embark on his FBB program, Filly said the most important thing is to pay more attention to quality over quantity.
“If you move with great technique and you constantly are working to improve how you move then you will stay in the game longer and more consistently since your body will be resilient and less prone to injury. With more consistency, you will arrive at your goals much faster and for much longer. Honor the concept that bringing 85% effort for 100 days is much better than bringing 100% for 30 days,” he said.
Filly added: “Stick to the plan as it is laid out and don’t try to do more and add too much outside work.”
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