The 2016 CrossFit Open is about to start, which means an intense/exciting/potentially exhausting 5 weeks for those who are taking part. So, before we dive headfirst into the Craziness that is the CrossFit Open, here are a couple of reminders to help keep you healthy, sane and having fun.
1. Make sure you’re eating (and drinking) enough During the Week
Unlike most weekend throwdowns and challenges, the CrossFit Open requires athletes to be in “go mode” for 5 weeks. And 5 weeks is a long time; which means, proper nutrition and hydration becomes even more important. If we’re not eating and hydrating well, not only will we lack the energy necessary to excel at the workouts; our bodies won’t be able to repair and recover properly for lack of fuel.
As far as hydration goes, we need to make sure we’re enough drinking water throughout the day (even if you don’t feel particularly thirsty); and one the easiest way to do that is simply by carrying a water bottle with us at all times. It only takes a dehydration of 1-2% body weight for our performance to start declining and past 3% we start increase our risk getting heat cramps, heat exhaustion, fatigue) increases greatly.
2. Warm-up (and Cool-down) properly for every WOD
Warm-ups may not be the most exciting part of training/competing but they are just as important as the actual workout. I know it can be tempting to skip/shorten the warm-up and jump right in; however, if we want to avoid injury, perform our best and ‘survive’ all 5 weeks, skipping the warm-up isn’t an option.
And the same goes for a cool-downs. I know that doing ‘more work’ is often the last thing we want to do after a really gross WOD, but its a ‘necessary evil’ if we want to optimize our recovery and minimize any long-lasting muscle soreness and fatigue.
3. Find a way to get some “down time”
The energy and excitement during the Open Season can be pretty incredible. But it can also become overwhelming, and draining, especially in the later weeks. Which is why its important to take a step back from CrossFit and find a way to have some down-time that doesn’t involve talking, strategizing or thinking about the Open.
For some people this may not be too much of a challenge, but if you’re one of those people whose entire day/week gets consumed by thinking about the Workout, try to find some way to take your mind off it (Even if its only for a short time).
Take walk and listen to music, hang out with friends who don’t do CrossFit, do something totally unrelated to CrossFit…whatever works for you.
Essentially, figure out something that will allow you to step back from all the excitement, calm your nerves and keep you from completely crashing before week 2 has even started.
4. One Workout at a Time
During the Open, only one workout gets released each week, and even though everyone (ok maybe not everyone) likes to play the guessing game
“I think 16.2 will have ‘X’ ‘Y’ and “Z’ in it|
However, its important to remember not to worry/stress about the ‘next one’; and try to focus on them as they come up, one at a time.
5. If You Shit the Bed…Don’t Dwell on it.
Maybe it was workout we “knew” was going to be struggle, or maybe it was one we though we were going to going to nail; either way once it’s over we can’t change it and dwelling on it will only make things worse. Once the 5 weeks are over, we can look back, try to figure out what went wrong, and learn from the experience; however, during the Open its important that we are able to set a bad performance aside, and focus on getting ready for the next workout.
6. Have a Strategy
As we head into the Open, hopefully everyone has an idea of where their strengths and weaknesses lie, and as the workouts are released this can help us create a plan/strategy
i.e. where we will be able to make ‘make up ground’ vs and what movements we might struggle on/take extra time on
However, when making strategies there are a few things we should keep in mind. Because workouts often look easier on paper, sometimes our ‘perfect strategies’ don’t go as planned and we need to be ready to adapt if/when things fall apart.
7. Don’t Stress about what Everyone Else is doing
Use the energy of those around you to push harder than you normally would but don’t let yourself caught up in what they’re doing. You know yourself better than anyone else and a good pace for whoever is beside you may not be a good pace for you.
For example – if you know you’re not a particularly good on the erg, don’t try to kill yourself on the row keeping up with the best rower; go at a pace you can maintain and then see if you can catch them on the barbell or the pull-ups.
8. Respect Your Judges
Competitions can bring up some pretty intense emotions, especially when we get close to our mental and physical limits, and sometimes it can be easy to get carried away. However, that isn’t an excuse to be a total jackass when we workout (even if things aren’t going our way) and whenever we compete we should strive to be the kind of athlete that we would want to judge if the roles were reversed….
- Move with virtuosity (don’t try to “cheat reps”)
- Don’t argue with or yell at your judge (If you don’t understand a “no-repped”, ask for clarification )
- Respect the equipment (no spiking barbells, or kicking wallballs)
…essentially make their jobs (judging you) as easy as possible. And keep in mind that once you’re done, there is a good chance that you once you are done, you will have to turn around and judge them (or another athlete) for the same workout.
And sometimes, despite our best efforts, shit happens and we get frustrated/lose our tempers in a workout. If this happens, it’s not the end of the world; but if it does, make sure you talk to your judge afterwards, shake their hand/thank them and if necessary apologize.
It doesn’t matter if you’re the best or the worst athlete at a competition if you’re a dick to your judge it reflects poorly on you, your gym and the sport. Yes, the Open Judging system is far from perfect, judges can make mistakes , and sometimes reps are given or withheld when they shouldn’t be. In the end however, it’s the judge’s call to make and the best way to avoid this type of situation is to make our reps as easy to judge as possible.
*If you truly feel as though you were unfairly judged, speak to the judge and/or gym owner after the workout to discuss what happened and look into options to redo.
And one Last Thing…
…remember to smile, have fun and don’t take it too seriously.