The open is upon is. Another year to test yourself and see how well rounded you are, how proficient are your skills, and if you are ready for anything they can throw at you. Over the past 5 years I’ve learned a great deal from competing in the Open and Regionals. This year as I approach the open, no longer as an athlete, I feel I can share some helpful advice for those preparing to do battle with your own bodies to perform challenging tasks to your full potential.
First piece of advice, eat. Crossfit is a performance sport and you have to fuel your body to perform. Carbohydrates are the fuel of choice for the vast majority of tests from years past and making sure you eat well the night before and the day of testing will be hugely helpful. Depending on when you plan to perform the workouts you will want to have eaten roughly 2 hours before in order to have digested your food to avoid any additional discomfort during the workouts. Stick with your normal routine in food selection and portion sizes. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. Taking BCAA’s, a pre-workout, or some small easy to digest fuel source a half hour to an hour before the workout will help in a pinch, but eating is your strongest support. Stay hydrated the day of. Don’t drink until you’re making bathroom breaks every 5 minutes, but make sure you hydrate throughout the day and drink an 8 ounce glass of water a half hour before the workout. Caffeine has helped me have a little extra push, but not everyone likes a caffeine kick before a workout so go with your normal routine.
Practice your skills so that they are honed to perfection. There are such a wide variety of movements and skills needed at the competitive level that practice is essential to keep each movement as smooth and efficient as possible. Practice is different than training. The goal is to decrease variability, decrease extraneous effort, and to find a cycle rhythm that has the shortest time to perform the movement to the required standards while expending as little energy as possible. Everything from pull ups to deadlifts should be practiced with these goals in mind. Pick a couple movements each day and practice.
Make your first attempt at each workout your best effort. Occasionally you plan a workout poorly and end up having gone a little easier on it than you could have. Don’t expect to repeat a workout to do better, plan to give it your all the first time. If you’re a seasoned competitor you should have a very good idea of how you can pace yourself through different movements and workouts, but nothing ever goes as planned. Don’t let the frustration of that affect your performance, roll with the punches and adjust the game plan on the fly. Stay calm and focused. Frustration and disappointment can affect your performance more negatively than the initial setback would have.
Most of you are doing the open for fun, a way to test yourself and face a challenge. With the new scaled division I’m looking forward to seeing everyone participate and step outside their comfort zone a little to see what you are really capable of. I’m sure there will be more than a few surprises, that’s part of the fun!