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Your Open, Your Story: Chris Owens

It was a dark and cold night in February 2014. Chris Owens walked into 12 Labours CrossFit Annapolis not sure what to expect. Little did he know, he was taking the first step of a fitness journey unlike any other; a journey that would change his perception of health, wellness, and overall belief in what is truly possible.

“I completed the ‘baseline’ workout and it took well over 10 minutes,” he says explaining his introductory class experience. “I was so sore that I ended up delaying my start-date almost two weeks.”

Chris was 47 years old at the time. He had always been athletic but not on a competitive level. He played sports growing up, but spent a lot of time on the sidelines. He ‘checked the block’ on all fitness challenges while in the military and thought he was in decent shape. A few years prior to CrossFit, Chris’ career changed giving him more time to go to the gym.

“I was killing it!” He laughed. “Warm up on the treadmill, a circuit on the machines and maybe a few planks to show off. Avoid any back exercises due to earlier injuries. And no squats, I was convinced that I had some sort of physical malformation that prevented such a thing.”

Enter: CrossFit

One year after his introduction to 12 Labours, Chris entered into the worldwide CrossFit Open. He was aware of the competition from earlier, as explained by a fellow 12 Labours athlete, but didn’t fully understand the concept until he witnessed the inter-gym competition held by his gym (the Resolution Games). After discussing with a coach and setting some goals for the 5-week competition, Chris was in.

“Truth be told it was the introduction of the scaled option that pushed me over the edge,” he mentions. “I knew I would need to scale a lot of weight and some movements, but the thought of the CrossFit pros telling me how to was a little more comforting.”

While some athletes view the Open as the first stage in a slew of challenges before the CrossFit Games, at its core, The Open is not about these elite-level athletes. It is about athletes like Chris who continually strive to improve on every level.

“Nothing epitomizes the concept of the CrossFit community like the Open,” Owens said. “I really felt like I was actively participating with hundreds of thousands of people all over the globe. Yes, it was just a participation ribbon event,” he mentions, “but it meant something to me. The experience put a little more why behind my goals.”

Surpassing Expectations

The best part about the Open? You are guaranteed to surpass your expectations.

15.2 was a major growing moment for Chris, as he had never completed an overhead squat more than 48 hours before testing the event. After specific advice from coaches, and armed with a determined spirit, Chris conquered the overhead squats and pull-ups for Open workout 15.2 with a total of 65 reps.

“I made it to the third round, much further than I’d ever imagined,” he said. “It ended up being one of my best events.”

Chris and Chesley Owens

This year #InTheOpen

Since the 2015 CrossFit Open, Chris has continued making gains in the gym. He has introduced multiple friends and family members to the sport, and credits CrossFit to making improvements with his health, wellness, fitness, and even his personal and professional life.

While he was unable to make any predictions on what to expect for the 2016 Open workouts, he mentioned that, “What scared the hell out of me last year, doesn’t seem nearly as bad this year.” He’d even consider doing a couple 2015 workouts RX.

This realization has Chris even more excited for the 2016 season. While there are still movements that plague him, he’s not concerned.

“I don’t have muscle ups and I suck at double-unders. Both will (likely) be in the Open but that is okay.”

Whether you’re 47, 17, or anywhere else on the age spectrum, know that there’s someone else in your gym or in the WORLD that is taking their first, second, etc. step into the Open. Whether it’s your first year of CrossFit or your first year competing, there are athletes on the same playing field as you. This 5-week competition is about celebrating how far you have come, and is also a blinding glimpse at the progress you will continue to make.

Chris is #InTheOpen. Are you?