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416 Member Stories: Mark Gallardo

This weeks Member Story belongs to Mark, who also happens to be the April Member of the Month. Read below to hear about his Open experience and accomplishments!
To me, the Open is my own mini CrossFit Games. On paper, it’s just doing a bunch of workouts every week in the gym. In reality, it’s everything awesome about CrossFit concentrated throughout five weeks of the year. It’s a fun pitstop in anybody’s training journey that gives them a chance to test out their fitness level and find out how much more can be improved.
This year marked my second Open ever. My first Open was basically just trying it all out, popping in the gym to do the workout and then going about my way. This year felt like it was about all the awesome things on top the workout. I had a ton of fun doing the workout but it was even more exciting judging the fellow athletes, making new pals, and getting a front row seat in cheering them on (keeping the rep count of course). My favourite part was seeing the look on people’s faces as they successfully completed a movement they thought was absolutely impossible – a first pull-up, a first handstand pushup, or a first CrossFit Open.
Being a witness to all of this was contagious and fueled me going into the workouts. There was one workout that stood out because it had the dreaded double unders. Flashback to the previous Open and it took me 36 minutes to complete the thruster double under couplet that should normally take around 12 minutes (shout out to Gys for judging me). After working on double unders for the entire year, I was able to string them together for a PR streak and it felt unbelievably rewarding. The Open however would not be complete without a fair share of humbling experiences. This came in the form of 21 reps of a 225 deadlift as an opening section of a workout but it was 10 lbs over my 1 rep max lift at the time. It was ultimately a blessing in disguise because now there is a clear training goal I have my sights set on for the rest of the year.
I have been doing Crossfit for over two years now and it has taught me so many things that crossover with all other aspects of life. Most importantly, it has taught me that hard work pays off both inside and outside the box. There are so many things that initially seem unreasonable as movements in Crossfit but tackling something everyday that’s seemingly scary guided by awesome coaches and a community that doesn’t stop cheering makes ordinary people do handstand walks, ring muscle ups, or maybe even a 225 deadlift for 21 reps.

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