The time is upon us, and if you're reading this you threw your hat into the ring, or maybe just thinking about it. For 98% of us the open is just for "fun". But lets be honest with each other the main motivator here is; Scoreboard. Its ok, its intrinsic. We really can't help ourselves. Our need for quantification for anything is pretty much irresistible. Even if we don't intend to share the results with the world, and plan to hide among the masses registered. If this is you, or even if youre one of the 2% every bit of help counts. This is 5 weeks of testing and it has its caveats.
The subtle truth, or unfortunate reality is that at this point much of the physical work really needs to be done. Meaning, you should have spent your offseason preparing for the unknown and rigourous demands of this challenge. The good news is, that if you followed the program here, you're in pretty good hands. If not, and you still followed a good CrossFit program, you're still doing fine as well. There are still a few things that you can do to help, and Im going to list them here:
- Clean up your Diet, but don't Diet! "huh?" We all know that we could eat a little better, a little more often. Whole foods are absolutely vital to performance, and while this could be an entire blog itself, I am going to paraphrase for the sake of "lists". Meats, Vegetables, nuts and seeds, keep intake to levels that will support intensity, and not body fat. So strip the processed foods, but lets not strip the calories. Now isn't the time to "lean out" although being lighter seems logical in these workouts, The caloric deficit will come with energy deficiencies even if small. So lets remove the garbage and replace with more micronutrients like leafy greens. Lets clean up the Protein sources to quality Organic cuts. Lastly satiate yourself. Its important to fuel, not to starve. 5 weeks is a long time.
- Take care of yourself. Obviously this is a life note, however over the course of the next few weeks, and increased focus in stretching, mobility, activation, and therapy will go a long way. This perhaps would have been best implemented a few months ago, but all of these have relatively immediate rewards so its not entirely too late. So how? ROMWOD every day, Cool down for at least 40% of the time the workout took you (bike, row, walk), tighten up your mobility routine pre-workout to improve movement quality (grab your coach and ask). Buckle up!
- Recover! This may sound a little like #2 to you, but its more. #2 is a mindful approach to time spent in the gym. #3 is a mindful approach to moments spent outside the gym. You spend 1hour in the gym a day, unless youre Rob.. What you do the other 23 far outweighs your time in our doors. The first of which is sleep!! I get it, life is hard, kids, work, netflix, internets whatever is making it "impossible" for you. Stop, you're an adult. Fix your schedule, its your health were talking about, You can binge your shows on the weekend. Remain consistently active. This means stay moving through your day. If your job has you desk bound, every hour take a small walk through the office or more. I don't mean exercise more either, in fact, in closing, do that less. More intensity in each workout for the next 5 weeks, and less overall volume.
- Practice. This is kind of a no-brainer, but after 6 years of watching this unfold it usually goes like this. "wow this is going to be hard, 3-2-1 go!, I suck, lets do it again, lets do it one more, I think I can shave some time here, lets do it again" While retests are a whole different barrel of monkeys, practice is simpler. This means taking the movements pulled from the chipper and drilling them. Break them down, drill them some more, then couple them with the others till your comfortable with the combination. This is simple, yet rarely done. Theres an immense value in the mental preparation of this. Knowing how youre supposed to feel in the middle will be wildly comforting, as opposed to the "what the hell Im dying out here" moment. Lastly retests. No-one is ever happy with their score. No-one! We always can look back and see where we can pick up time etc. But, lets be direct, theres a reason you didn't do it then, you're not going to add the 100 reps you think. Will you pick up a few? Yes, likely. However if this few isn't going to jump you up the leaderboard, and may only move you a few spots if any. Its important to factor the investment, vs the return. Prepare, and give more to your first attempt, this feels way better than 3 retests.
- Play with your friends! If were being honest, the open is a brutal self reflecting time of the year. All those sundays on the boat drinking till sunset, the cheat meals, the vacations, and really all the things you feel guilty about, they all will haunt you not so subtly. Its ok, you're human, were trying to improve your life, not make you a robot. Those things didn't exactly help you but they didn't hurt that much. (assuming they were occasional...) If you did those things, you must have friends, if you're lucky they are CrossFitters too, get together for the workouts. Like our Friday night lights! You see, community and environment often outweigh the most advanced and strict program and implementation. Plain and simple, men will die for points! In the presence of our peers, were way more likely to leave it all out there, than we are just worrying about the clock and scoreboard by ourselves. The next 5 weeks are long, buckle down, and enlist the help of your community to drive you forward. I can promise, this # will pay larger dividends than most of the other 4.
There you have it. 5 quick actionable things that I guarantee will improve your performance. Next year we can take what we learned from this years performance. For now, its management. The open is incredibly fun, and even more valuable. Its a great way to see where you're at outside of the gym, a bigger leaderboard. Often more telling, than the one or two names you know you chase every day. Fitness is relative, and that relativity is bound solely to the community you conduct this pursuit in. For these next 5 weeks we have the opportunity to workout in the biggest gym ever created. Yourself stacked against thousand, hundreds of thousands actually. While this many seem daunting, its an incredible opportunity I hope you all take advantage of. You will absolutely be better because of it!
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Happy Open season!