Last year was my first time experiencing the CrossFit Open. I was still relatively new to CrossFit, so I didn't fully grasp the importance of the event, and I certainly did't realize how much of a bonding experience it would end up being. A year later and with the announcement just hours away for the first workout in the 2016 CrossFit Open, it's hard to contain my excitement!
CrossFit is growing in popularity by leaps and bounds. More than a quarter million people will take part in the Open this year, with tens of thousands competing in it for the first time. I'm sure many of them are feeling pretty nervous about what to expect. So to help calm your nerves and hopefully turn your anxiety in to excitement, here are 5 things to keep in mind as you're getting ready for the Crossfit Open.
5. They are just another WOD
Yes, the Open workouts tend to be pretty tough. But you've been doing CrossFit for a while, so tough workouts shouldn't be anything new. You'll likely end up sweaty and out of breath. That shouldn't be new either.
Prepare yourself in the same way you would on a day you're heading to the box knowing that you'll be tackling a Hero workout and you'll be doing just fine.
4. Expect to do something you didn't think you could
The CrossFit Games are a test to find the Fittest on Earth. The CrossFit Open is the first event in that pursuit. If you look back at the workouts from the previous years, you'll notice that they get a little harder each year. Last year one of the workouts started with Muscle-ups, and we heard a bunch of stories about people who spent the entire workout trying, and succeeding at getting their first ever Muscle-up. When the workout was over they recorded a score of 1 rep, but it was the most gratifying 1 rep ever.
For me, last year, that moment came in week #4. The workout called for a series of cleans at 185#. My PR at the time was 175#. When the clock expired I had completed 5 reps at 185#. I was elated!
3. Now is not the time to change your routine
This seems like common sense, I know, but if you aren't sure how your body reacts to taking 2 scoops of pre-workout, the day you are set to do one of the Open workouts is probably not the best time to find out!
Thinking about switching from Nanos to Metcons? Want to try out some new equipment to protect your hands while doing pull-ups? Just get a new jump rope? That's all great stuff. Just don't do them the day of the Open workout. Try those out earlier in the week and if you aren't 100% sold on the new equipment, use what your used to.
This also goes for your eating habits. Don't drastically change what you normally eat before a workout, or when you eat prior to your workout. Consistency goes a long way.
2. Make a plan for each workout and stick to the plan
Tonight we'll here the announcement for the first workout. Immediately following the announcement in boxes all over the world you're going to here athletes devising their plan for how to get through the workout. This is one of my favorite parts of the Open!
Let me give you an example of what I mean. The last time I did Fran, I knew I couldn't do all 21 Thrusters in the first round unbroken. So I decided that I would do them in 2 sets; 11-10. I'd do the second round as 8-7 and the 3rd round I'd do all 9 unbroken if I was able. For the pull-ups, I decided on going 7-7-7, 8-7 and as many as possible in the final round. By writing this down on a board and sticking to it, I took 2 full minutes off my previous best time.
Having a plan going in to each workout is going to give you the best chance to maximize your score.
1. Enjoy your community
At the end of the day, for the vast majority of us, we're not moving on to Regionals and we're not making it to the Games. The Open is our time to go a little harder than we normally do when it's our turn and to cheer a little louder for the other athletes when it's theirs.
When it's all over, crack open a frosty beverage and high-five that person who just got their first pull-up. High-five that person who just hit a new PR. High-five that person who competed in the Open after being terrified to sign up. And high-five those who may not have signed up this year, but came out to show support and cheered their hearts out.
I wish you a very successful Open.
Go hard and have fun.