2016 CrossFit Open Review

Well the 2016 CrossFit Open is behind and its time to take a look back and dig into how the open went.

The Open Programming:
This is a great place to start.  The Rx programming of this Open was in my opinion the best overall Open programming to date. The scaled version still has a long way to go. I would love to see an intermediate category next year. For almost all our scaled athletes it was too easy. Week 1-4 were the highlight and I think like so many people I found 16.5 to be a real let down to end the open. Lets take a look at each week.

16.1: Once I got over the fact that this was going to be challenging as a gym owner to facilitate I loved this workout. Our first true long Open WOD that really tested if you have been putting in your rowing, running and interval work this season. This was a workout that absolutely punished people that weren’t confident in that part of their fitness.

16.2: This workout to be really was the showcase workout and the one that I think allowed the true individual regional competitor to shine. You obviously had to be strong but you also had to have good gymnastics and engine to get to showcase that strength. This was the best Open Strength test to hit the community to date.

16.3: Wasn’t that thrilled with this programming when it first got dropped but after going through it the first time (I did three times) and seeing a bunch of Lions do it my mind was changed. Really great test. Still am surprised how most peoples pull held throughout the 7 min even though it was a pull to pull workout. So many Lions got their first bar muscle up in a workout and it was a really fun one to watch. Incredible to see the ability of the elite athletes to keep that barbel unbroken with no rest time between exercises. You couldn’t be afraid to fail a muscle up if you wanted a good score. Just jump up and make it happen.

16.4: I’m pretty sure my hamstrings and glutes are still fired up from this workout. A perfect way to test the Kipping HSPU and your fitness had to be legit in order to make it their with enough time to be able to accumulate the reps you wanted. Those who properly broke up the HSPU did well. Those that pushed the sets a bit too much crashed and burned. This was really a tale of two workouts. The first part of the workout, the deads, the wallballs and the row should’ve been attacked like that was a regular everyday class workout. Working hard but not at competition pace. Part two was the HSPU where you needed to never struggle on a rep except your last one. That was the key to this bad boy. You had to be off the wall as soon as you thought you were gong to lose your push speed.

16.5: Let me be clear on this. As a test of will and fitness this is a great workout. Just didn’t think it should have been included in the 2016 Open. I’m convinced that Castro had a different workout planned and for whatever reason decided to change it to this wod. If you were designing the 5 weeks as a whole you would never feel the need to have over the bar burpees tested twice. If 16.5 was the workout you wanted to do then have a different exercise in 16.1 ( a box jump, SDHP, Front Squat etc..) I wasn’t surprised to see a redo on an exercise but I thought we would see a row or a CTB pull-up come up again. If we did 15.5 again the rowing in that workout is so different then in 16.4 and CTB pull-ups weren’t really tested that much in 16.1 or at least not tested nearly as thoroughly as they have been in previous Opens.

CrossFit Lions

In terms of my gym we couldn’t have been happier on how Team Lions did. Our goal going in was to be between 14-17th place at the end of the Open before the reshuffling occurs from all the individual athletes scores coming out of the Team competition. We finished in 15th place and full 13 points up on 16th.

As always our other major goal was to win the battle of the North Shore gyms. Last year was the first time we didn’t win the Open and we regained that title this year. Big shout out to CrossFit West Vancouver and CrossFit North Vancouver who finished 16th and 20th respectively. There is such a fun healthy rivalry between the “Old” North Shore gyms this time of year. Love being a part of that.

In terms of CrossFit Lions going to Portland for the West Super Regional we are still waiting to see if we have secured our spot. Coach John James did so well in the Open ( finished 26th overall) that he may get an invite to compete in the individual competition. If he goes individual that may mean we don’t have a Team in the Team comp in Portland….Either way Lions is assured to be represented this year in the West Regional and the “Team” will be there regardless. Either to cheer on Johny or to throw down with him. This was a great year of training for John and I’m really glad he may have the opportunity to decide which competition he wants to go in. We will know this week what the plan is. John also took the title of fittest man on the North Shore this year. Pretty fucking cool to be able to say that.

I want to thank all those competitors who signed up for the Open and put their life on hold for those 5 weeks. It pretty incredible to me how well we do every year competing against gyms that have 4 or 5 times the members that we do at Lions. There aren’t a lot of gyms in Western Canada that have a fitter per member roster than we do.

Congrats to Scott Tasaka for placing 14th worldwide in his category and in prime position again heading into the masters qualifiers. Scott also placed in the top 100 in Canada West and notched another black belt in his Ninja like training this season. Debs finished 34th in the world and just like last year is again is a great spot heading into the master qualifiers. We have a real shot again to have both those athletes competing in Carson and the CrossFit Games. This would be Debs third year in a row and Scotts second. Debbie is coming into the qualifier in a way better place than last year and I’m excited to see her perform at the level she is at now.

Annie finished in the top 200 worldwide in her category and has made the masters qualifier for the first time. So cool to see her finally bounced back from her concussion that kept her out last year and become the best version of herself to date. It was such a huge boost to the team this year as well to get Annie back.

A huge shout out to Steve for truly competing in his first Open this year. It was a up and down ride for Steve as he had some great workouts and some not so great ones but he came to battle each and every week. If any of you knew the kind of injuries that man has worked through this year and continues to deal with you would be amazed that he is still working out. Toughest fucker I know. He didn’t achieve his goal of top 200 but as his coach I feel like this was an important experience to go through and will spring board him for next seasons competition schedule.

Bill Park finished just outside the top 200 but made such huge strides this year. Congrats to his trainer Annie for getting him to work through his weaknesses. What a great guy to have around the gym and it was a pleasure to judge him when I had the opportunity this season.

As always Kathryn and Gill anchored our ladies team this year. Gill did as expected and killed it throughout the Open as she always does. I feel like that girl could take a year off and still throw down at an elite level. Kathryn on the other hand wasn’t 100 percent confident going into the year. She felt she wasn’t as fit as last year because of injuries earlier in the year and was worried on how things would go. She killed workout 1 and steam rolled through the rest. Really proud of her this year.

CHAMBO!!! by far Christi’s her best Open to date. So excited for her to get to showcase her skill set this year. Her engine is so strong and this year her strength and gymnastics took a big jump in the right direction. All this without her running mate Steph who is took this Open off.

Big ups to the man who is giving Owen a run for his money on the beard front, Mike aka “Monster Calves” Swanson. He finished in the top 200 this year which was his goal going in. A lot of hard work and dedication went into that score in his first true first year of CrossFit and awesome to see his hard work pay off.

Shayan….first off can we all just admire how fucking jacked Shy is right now. Good lord. What I was really impressed with the most was how his Open improved as the weeks went on. His best workout was the last one. I know he had a back injury which was really effecting the first couple of weeks but like a warrior he battled through that and turned it on when he needed to. As is coach his final placement doesn’t do justice to where his fitness is at but that doesn’t mean he didn’t have a great year of training.  He has attacked his weaknesses all year and I know that next year he is going to get to show the West what the fuck is up.

We all need to thank Tyler for getting his ass back into the gym and doing the Open for the benefit of the team this year. He hasn’t been CrossFitting nearly as much this past year but he still came in and factored into multiple workouts for the gym and was integral to our 15th position this year. Really hope to see that animal back in the gym more often this summer season.

This was also our first year having Jian part of Team Lions. He came into the Open with a pretty serious injury that really effected his training this past few months. He never complained about it once and fought like a champ all the way through. Again just like Tyler he was key to help the Team quality and I can’t wait for a healthy Jian to kill it next year. This years programming was right in his wheelhouse as well. A healthy Jian would have top 100 for sure. I expect that or better next year.

This was Karina’s first RX open and she did nothing to dissuade my view of her as a future Regional level individual athlete. Was really happy with how she performed in such a gymnastics heavy Open. This was an important step in her development and I know she is fired up to make that leap for next season.

Now to my boy Tom “Window” Turner. Our Welch import was such a great guy to battle with during this years Open. I know all the comp guys and gals are already missing him and his curly hair at the Den. I pray somehow he gets back to us for next season as I know he has the will, athleticism and most of all work ethic to take his CrossFit game to the next level. Fuck England and get back to Vancouver immediately. We will get you a job as a real estate agent and you can earn a quick 500k a year and still put in your 3 hours a day of training.


I haven’t mentioned lots of people here but its not from a lack of love and respect. Its simply that my fingers are sore from typing…I don’t train the computer muscles nearly enough. Love you all and am so proud of the whole family.

Personally my goal this year was to improve upon my 101 place in 2015. I did accomplish that with a 91st place finish in the West. Its a big bitter sweat cause the last workout I felt was below what I was capable of but I know what went wrong for me in 16.5 and will correct it for next year. That also keeps the fire burning to get jacked for summer….which is really the fucking point anyways.