CrossFit Games Open 101

17.1 is nearly here.

This is a great chance to allay some fears, give some hints and tips and get you best prepared for Friday this week, and the following four Fridays.

First, some reminders of things that you already know but are worth repeating:

1 - This is your chance to be the best that you can be in terms of the score that you are capable of producing.

2 - The workout will only be programmed in on Fridays, so unless you can’t make that slot and need to do it some other time, then be prepared to leave it all on the floor.  We know that people build up the stress around the Open workouts, so why voluntarily go through that twice every week?

3 - Each Friday morning we will be publishing a video in the SCCF Members Group covering warm up strategies for when you’re in the gym, mobility pieces that you might need and some ideas about pacing and expectations.

4 - This is a learning experience.  Every time you do a workout there are multiple learning opportunities within it, for example, how did my grip feel when I did toes to bar after kettle bell swings, how fast can I row and still be fresh enough to do something else straight afterwards, or what does my breathing do when I am doing longer sets of wall balls?  The Open is no different - you’ll be able to find out a lot about yourself as you focus your training week around the results of one workout (whether you mean to focus there or not).

Now, time for some hints, tips and ideas that will help you get the most out of yourself and your Open experience.

1 - Deal with the low hanging fruit

Limit your stress levels for the next five weeks to set yourself up for success.

Plan when you’re going to perform your workout.  Understand that at 1630 the gym will probably be quieter than at 1830, so plan for your own psychology accordingly.

Stay consistent with your nutrition.  Now is not the time to completely overhaul your nutrition habits, and five minutes before your heat is definitely not the time to start experimenting with a new pre workout drink!  If you usually eat your lunch at 1300 on a Friday, then eat your lunch at 1300 on a Friday - stressing over moving it backwards or forwards is not going to do you much good.

Get your sleep sorted.  Sleep in a cool, pitch black room without electronics and turn screens off at least 30 minutes before putting your head on the pillow.  

Understand that your Thursday evening meal is probably the fuel that will carry you through your Friday evening workout.  Plan accordingly and stick with what you’re already eating if you know that you feel good and perform best on that.

2 - It is going to be uncomfortable on some level

Once your strength and skill levels reach a certain point, CrossFit as a sport becomes an endurance sport.  Up until that point it might be a strength sport or a test of neurological skill.

If you are working on your strength levels then the Open workouts might call for multiple reps at a high percentage of your max.  That will become uncomfortable physically and mentally.

If you are working on your skills then the Open workouts might cause you frustration.  That might become uncomfortable psychologically.

If you can link skills together and have enough strength then you’ll be doing more reps.  That will become uncomfortable physically.

If you are in the middle ground somewhere then you may get frustrated by your body’s refusal to do something that you know you can do.  That will become uncomfortable mentally.

The more that you accept that there is going to be discomfort and the more you expect it, the better able you will be to deal with it.  If you hope and pray that it doesn't get uncomfortable, the more you are going to be shocked when it does get uncomfortable and the more you will feel that discomfort instead of being able to push through.

3 - Will you rise to the challenge put in front of you, or will you fall to the level of your preparation?

That’s a loaded question because everyone will fall to the level of their preparation.

Just like John Wooden said:

"Sports don't build character, they reveal it."

If you haven’t been touching your chest on the bar when doing chest to bar pull ups in training, then when the pressure is on and there’s a judge next to you, do you think it’ll magically start happening?

If you know your wall ball doesn't quite cross the line on every rep, or that you consistently avoid going below parallel, do you think that being held to those standards is going to impact the rest of your workout well?

4 - Have realistic expectations of yourself

On Thursday night / Friday morning, you’ll get to see the workout demoed by some of the top performers in the sport.  They’ll probably make it look quite easy and they’ll probably look like they're in control of their pacing strategy.

If you think that you’ll be able to use their strategies and pacing then you’ll very likely be in for a rude awakening about 1-2 rounds into the workout.

When you see Sam Briggs breaking sets of 20 thrusters into 10 and 10, its probably for a good reason, and in terms of maximising your score, it probably means that those larger sets are really only for the elite.  If Rich Froning breaks a set of 15 bar muscle ups into 3 sets of 5 then maybe you can learn from that.

Your expectations of your performance should be framed by relating the Open workout to workouts that you have done previously in terms of movements used, number of reps done and the total working time.

If you’ve no idea of what to expect when you see a workout, and see and hear your SCCF coaches talk about it, then either your training has been wrong or you’re too new to CrossFit to have enough experience yet.  In the first scenario, good luck! In the second scenario, you have an incredible learning opportunity in front of you, so make the most of it.

Above all, remember that we're all in this to have fun together.  So bring your team shirt and get ready to make loads of noise in support of whoever is performing the workout - those people will be cheering just as hard for you when it's your turn.