One affiliate has found a creative way to raise the friendly Open competition to another level.

“Our events were so full of energy last year that (passersby) were stopping in and cheering, too."

Photos by Ida Montoya

As thousands of CrossFit affiliates across the world prepare for the 2014 Reebok CrossFit Games Open, one particular affiliate has found a creative way to raise the friendly competition to another level closer to home.

Members of CrossFit Hunger in Rio Rancho, N.M., will not only compete against others in their region and the world, they will also compete against each other. In order to drive the competitive nature of the Open to be more intimate, affiliate owner Adrian Reyes had an idea—form teams within the gym to compete among each other.

“Competition helps with the ‘inspire’ part: the pressure to perform pushes you to train harder; the social boost of dozens of your best friends cheering for you will help you reach a higher level. Heck, watching your teammates push themselves is inspiring,” he wrote on the affiliate’s blog.

CrossFit Hunger members choosing to participate will be distributed among four intramural teams by a random drawing. Coaches and interns were drafted and distributed evenly. 

“Our four team captains were chosen by their influence, positivity and energy levels in classes and at events,” Reyes said. “Those four (captains) came up with the following names for their teams: Can’t Snatch This, Paleozoic Love Monkeys, Kipping it Real and Burpees or Bust.”

Teams can earn points in various ways, including completing each week’s Open workout during the gym’s “Friday Night Lights” and “Saturday Morning Slams” events.

“Our events were so full of energy last year that (passersby) were stopping in and cheering, too,” he said. “We had a few athletes from local boxes hear about our Open (events) and stopped in (to do the workout) with us. It was a blast.”

Another way to earn points is by showing team spirit. Reyes said this might be the more important part of the competition. The team demonstrating the most spirit with cheering, pride and presence each week will receive extra bonus points.

For the five weeks during the Open, the four teams will complete every Open workout, with a sixth surprise workout to be thrown in at any time.

This is the first year CrossFit Hunger is doing the Open with intramural teams and only its second year participating in the Open, Reyes said.

“Last year … we had around 40-45 total members, and nearly half of them participated in the Open. Since the announcement of our inaugural Intramural Open this year, members have already been getting psyched up for the Open,” he said. “Attendance has definitely been more consistent as athletes are gearing up for what, for most of them, will be their first CrossFit competition. We’ve got athletes signing up from the age of 14 through 59, and those specific two are grandson and grandma.”

Each week during the Open, the team with the most points will win prizes, which include gear, supplements and membership discounts. The top team will win a yet-unannounced grand prize at the finish of the Open.

The focus is on fun, Reyes said. And he hopes this will encourage more participation.

“Competition, of course, drives performance,” he said.