The CrossFit Open is kind of like the Catholic community gathering during a Pope election. Some participants are more devout than others, but we all have an intense desire to be part of a paramount annual worldwide event. For a minimal registration fee, any CrossFitter can see where they stand on the worldwide platform. You may be an Elite member of a competitive gym, or a garage-lifting, self-taught athlete. It doesn’t matter. We are each given the same workouts, with the same standards, and the same period of time in which to perform them. But throughout the duration of this 5-week challenge, how does an athlete make the best of their workouts? Lets review a few key components of an optimal CrossFit Open experience.
- Do what you do everyday.
Anybody doing their first Open may find it easy to get anxious about the workouts ahead. They are challenging. They are relentless. And they are unforgiving. But aren’t all CrossFit workouts? No need to work yourself into a frenzy. Take a deep breath, and do what you do every single day in the gym. Warm-up, wait for the countdown, and give your best.
- Keep moving.
The moments you rest are the reps you give up. So be strategic about it. It’s inevitable that during particular workouts you’ll need a quick break, but give yourself only what’s necessary then back to it. Counting out your rest time and only allowing maybe 5–10 seconds, or identifying a short distance you can quickly walk to and from to keep your timing consistent. Just don’t give in, and don’t give up. You’ve got this.
- Focus on fundamentals.
Efficiency will be key. Staying strong throughout each workout will require some dedication to the basics. Knees out on that squat, hook grip to save your forearms, and triple extension in full force. It’s easy to get lazy when your body is telling you it’s had enough. But that commitment to form will allow for extra reps, and avoiding injury.
- Stick to a strategy.
Routine is key. Establish a plan beforehand, and stick with it. Do you want to do each workout once, or twice? Do you want to give them a go immediately following the WOD announcement, or give it a couple days to sink in? Whatever route you choose to embark on, do your best not to stray. Your mind and body react best to routine.
- Rally for your troops.
On of the most exciting parts of the Open isn’t necessarily participating yourself; it’s encouraging those around you. For all the participants in your gym, this can be a bonding experience. Give each other the encouragement you’d want during your own workout and they will surely return the favor. Sometime that extra voice can make all the different.
- Don’t forget your pre-workout poop.
Nervous poops are normal. Don’t be ashamed. And for heaven’s sake, don’t hold it in. I can only imagine that the body performs best without a hunk of waste lingering uncomfortably. So relieve yourself for that refreshed feeling that will help you achieve personal greatness.
- Have fun.
Most of us are in this for one thing, and it’s not the cash prize presented to the Games Champion. Participate with a sense of pride in the fact that you’re willing to put yourself out there, commit to series of surprise and undoubtedly taxing physical challenges, and embrace your achievement.
Behind the anxious anticipation, the God-like performances, and the Regional qualifications, the CrossFit Open has a hidden purpose which is the foundation of CrossFit itself; community. It is not just for the Elite, it is for those who want to tackle an annual challenge. It’s a reason to push a little harder, cheer a little louder, and engage with other enthusiasts on a global platform. So as you enter what may be your first of fifth Open, keep in mind that optimizing your performance has less to do with supplements and wrist wraps, and more to do with keeping your head and heart in the right state.