If you plan on doing the 2021 CrossFit Open, we recommend first you define WHY you are doing the Open? For fun? Peer pressure? For the community aspect? To push your limits? To qualify for the Quarterfinals, etc.? Whatever you decide, have you prepared for it?
It is important for you to decide why you are taking this adventure so you can determine how much care you put to execute your plan in order to achieve your goal. It defines the intent behind starting your goal to doing the Open.
At this point in time, it’s the refinement process, it’s too late to “start” training for the Open. At this point in time (a few weeks to a month out), it’s time to visualize and practice how you will be doing the Open. There are different factors we should be focusing at the moment to be able to express your true potential during this time.
Let’s start with the basics. Training, Nutrition, Recovery.
The fun part is here!
You should be rehearsing at least once a week on how you plan on doing the Open. Will you be doing them twice, or it will be simply one and done? Make sure that you are clear in your head and you have a well thought plan that you will practice NOW. It’s imperative to your success that you become conscious of this and decide. This way, you will be able to rehearse your steps preparing for your Open workouts.
WHAT I MEAN BY ”REHEARSE”
Let’s assume that you have decided that you will be doing the Open on Saturday mornings. One time and DONE. There can be no “maybe I will re-do it”. If you commit to doing the Open workouts only once, you will have to put a lot more attention to the things that can affect your performance that day. This attention to detail means your first time doing the workout is likely your best performance. Second guessing yourself isn’t going to help, plus you’ve rehearsed/practiced for this “one and done” in the time leading up to the Open, not redoing it.
So from now on, you must treat every Saturday morning as an “OPEN WOD”. You are putting awareness to your equipment (Rower, AD, rings, pull-up bar, skipping rope,etc). Meaning:
Do you need a small box to reach the pull-up bars?
Are the rings set-up for your height?
Is the assault bike seat to my height?
Do I need to load my own plates? How do I stack them appropriately to make transitions smoother?
These appear to be small minute details but these details will allow you to get one or two more reps or simply give you a moment to catch your breath. While you rehearse or practice for the Open, you should:
Be practicing your transitions during every WOD. How close should your rower be to the pull up bar? Should you step into your burpee or jump?
Become more aware of your mindset around each workout.
Visualize the Open workouts in your head, both good outcomes and bad (so you can figure out how to adjust ahead of time).
Focus on pushing yourself to the limit. Find the redline and then pull back to something sustainable.
Be conscious of my breaking point and how you can stay near it without going past it.
Focus on the quality of your movement on every repetition. Of course, your movement may break down but the longer you can keep good quality movement, the easier it is to perform the movement.
Focus on your breath. Every repetition has a breath. During maximal contraction, we should hold or exhale. During “relaxation” we should inhale. Play with this now, practice is the time to experiment with these details, not on game day.
Practicing these things will allow you to be efficient and therefore conserve energy and do better with each workout.
You should practice to memorize the movements, weights, reps, rounds, time of the workout. You should already have studied some videos of athletes going at it and studying their strategies, their point to improve. You should be visualizing yourself in these Open workouts.
You already know if you can/should do 50 wall balls unbroken on round 1. You should know if you can do 10 ring MU unbroken or if it’s best to break them down. Keep this in mind when you are creating your strategy for each workout and stick to it. Your adrenaline will be pumping when you hear “3..2..1..GO!” but don’t let that push you past your limits, stick to the plan you made.
If you know what movements you will be doing, you will be also prepping your equipment. Do you have a spare rope for DUs? Do you need your weightlifting shoes... your belt, tape, favorite underwear? What pants should you wear so you don’t lose them during box jumps or scrape up your shins on deadlifts? In short, prepare your “Kimono”, you are going to war.
If you are filming your Open workout, you should be playing with your camera every day in training.
Are you comfortable speaking to the camera, will you have someone handling this for you?
Do they know how to operate and set-up the equipment?
Do you have a tripod? You don’t want that your phone falling over and miss all the action.
Do you have a spare camera in case your battery dies or mom calls you while in the middle of the WOD? *please turn your phone on airplane mode!
Filming your training days will help you be sure that the content shows your movement clearly and in frame. This is also a great learning tool as you will see what a good rep looks like and therefore you can practice every day and maintain such high standards. You don’t want to leave it on the hands of a judge taking away precious reps… if you are near the bubble to qualify for the quarterfinals, EVERY REP COUNTS.
NUTRITION - FRIDAY – PREP DAY
Friday will become your rest day and a lot of your focus will be treated as such.
You will be conscious of fueling and hydrating your body properly. Now would be the time to test what works best for you the day leading up to your “GAME TIME”.
For example: What will you have for breakfast, lunch and dinner the night before Open Workout 21.1? What will you be eating that you know sits well will you the day of? Experiment with different proteins, carbs, fats. Experiment with protein shakes, BCAAs, electrolytes. Now is the time to refine and connect with how your body reacts to these different foods. If you sh!t your pants you definitely know that it’s not good for you or maybe you will bring awareness that trying the enchiladas from your Mexican restaurant down the road will make you a fire breather from both ends!... Not great when doing thrusters or a 1RM clean if you ask me! Find something that sits well with you and stick with it. Save the enchiladas for after the Open celebrations.
Assuming that you will be doing Open Workout 21.1 on Saturday morning @ 11am, you will plan your breakfast accordingly and you will play with different options. The key point here is timing and practice. How long does it take YOUR BODY to digest bacon and eggs, or oats, or some yogurt and fruits? By now you should definitely be refining these. Some people will need 2hrs prior to doing high intensity work. While others may take 4hrs or depending on what you had for breakfast.
If you’re doing the workout at 11am, try eating breakfast at 7am to give enough time to digest the food. This will allow your blood to be in your peripheries instead of being in your gut. If you are going to war, you better have blood in your brain, arms, and legs. Sticking with something light that your body digests well is a good option. The best way to find out is to PRACTICE these things now before the Open.
Once you finish the workouts, plan also for what you will refuel your body with (not only a post wod shake) your body needs food. REAL FOOD. Probably something that sits well with your stomach so that your body can gather all the nutrients it needs to replenish your muscles. This is probably still not the time for those enchiladas (wait until dinner at least).
Nutrition, Hydration, SLEEP, massage, cold/hot water exposure, electric stimulation, acupuncture, are ways that can be used to help your recovery. Make sure you honor recovery and give it the attention it deserves. These seem like little things but cumulatively they do make the difference if you keep in mind that you will have to do this THREE weekends in a row.
Focus on the basics. Refine your fueling, hydration and sleep. These are the building blocks that you have to own. Then you could try cold exposure, particularly after crushing your WOD, make sure that your heart rate has slowed down to go in an ice bath or cold shower. Two minutes is more than enough. Then you can jump in a warm shower and finish off with light stretching. For athletes, it’s one of the fastest ways to cool down, reduce inflammation, and help circulate blood in the peripheries. Overall a great tool for recovery. Helping your body recover is important not only for the CrossFit Open/season but also for your daily living.
YOU ARE READY
As of now, you still have time to practice and visualize yourself going to the steps of competing in the 2021 CrossFit Open. It’s the 3 most important weekends of your training, perhaps. So if you haven’t started building these new habits, start now! But hopefully you started some of these things back in 2020 because it can take 3-6 months for that new routine to be ingrained in your body.
Stick with the basics, do them well, as consistently as possible and you will have a winning strategy. If you feel you need further guidance in implementing these principles or if you have already mastered these, maybe it’s time to go to the next level. In either case don’t hesitate to reach out (firstname.lastname@example.org). What matters at the moment is that you know that you are doing everything that is in your control to succeed. Have fun with the process, learn from it, and leave it all on the floor when the time will come.