How to Prepare for the Open
The 2018 CrossFit Open is right around the corner, and there are a few practices that you can implement to increase your chances of success. Whether this success means placing better than you did last year, going to Regionals, doing the Open for the first time, or simply being ready to perform your best over the five workouts. These strategies do not deviate from the daily practices that we should be implementing, but the Open season is CrossFit’s season and a time to be at your peak performance. Think of the rest of the year as the offseason, but these five weeks as game time. That makes the preparation in the weeks leading up to February 22nd more critical than any other time of the year to introduce beneficial techniques not only inside, but also outside of the gym.
A strategy that we will start with is nutrition. You have heard it time and time again as an athlete, or health connoisseur, that nutrition is the key to recovery and performance. As athletes and members of the CrossFit community looking to better our physical performance, we have to eat to perform and fuel our daily activities. The Open will bring about some of the most intense and strenuous workouts one has ever faced, and the last thing we want is for our efforts to be diminished due to our lack of nutrition. In addition, some athletes will be repeating these workouts within a four day time span as they look to achieve a better score; they have to ensure that every aspect of their recovery game is on point in order to make this happen. It is well known that exercise is the greatest medicine, but without proper nutrition, this medicine lacks its full capabilities. You have to think of it like this: everything that you eat is either fueling or fighting disease; from an athletic viewpoint: everything that you eat is either fueling or fighting your performance. Luckily, at Reignited Fitness we have access to some of the most insightful, intelligent, and helpful nutrition coaches. In addition, those doing the Nutrition Challenge are already on top of this and implementing some beneficial nutrition practices to fuel their active lifestyles.
Another practice that can be executed is taking advantage of the massage therapists that we have at Reignited Fitness and getting body work done. As athletes, we are constantly tearing down our bodies. With each day that we come into the gym we create a stimulus in order to increase our fitness, but this stimulus comes at a cost. Breaking down the muscle(s) does result in an increase of growth of such muscles once fully recovered, but it also results in a build-up fascia. This fascia, also known as “being tight”, sore, immobile, etc. is an antagonist when it comes to recovery. If too much fascia is present then our joints will have to compensate for how they are supposed to move by defaulting to alternate, unsafe positions. These unsafe positions are what causes mechanical pain, which nobody wants in preparation for the Open. Mobility work is great, and is definitely a significant beneficiary practice to recovery, but there is something to be said for body work. Certain areas of the body require precise, practiced, and focused attention with proper manipulation from somebody that specializes in such. An individual can have great amounts of mobility, yet still have a ton of fascia built up. In addition, an hour to two hours of body work will be healthy for one’s hormones as it allows them to relax and de-stress from their usual routine.
The Open workouts involve a lot of skills. This ranges from gymnastics movements such as handstand push-ups, pull-ups, muscle-ups, and toes to bar among many others. In addition, barbell movements such as snatches and clean and jerks and cycling them in higher repetitions. Then there are specialty movements that require skill such as burpee box jump overs, cycling dumbbells, and double unders. The majority of these movements, if not all of them, are guaranteed to come up in the Open this year. There is no better time to learn and / or improve upon a new skill than in the time leading up to this year’s Open. 2018 can be your year to get your first pull-up, muscle-up, handstand push-up, get butterfly pull-ups, cycle toes to bar, and PR your snatch and clean and jerk. At Reignited Fitness you are surrounded by coaches willing to help you with these skills. This effort of learning such skills can be displayed by asking questions and for eyes on you in class, and / or setting up a one-on-one session with one of our coaches. The choice is yours, but we would love to see ALL of our athletes accomplish something skill related during this year’s Open.
Lastly, don’t stress. The Open stirs up a lot of emotions, but we want it to be a time of improvement not only physiologically, but mentally as well. Something wrong is bound to happen within this five week span, but it is your choice as to how you respond to such. We know that chaos is coming, so let us embrace it. The emotions and adrenaline that it creates should fuel our performance inside of the gym. However, when we are outside of the gym let us create time to relax, de-stress, and revitalize ourselves for our next Open workout performance. Allow the Open to be a celebration of our fitness, community, and the transcendence that it results in for our lives.