1) I’m not going to the CrossFit Games. I know it’s shocking. Early on though I thought I might be able to. The first couple years not a lot of people were participating in the Open so it didn’t seem that far off. I told myself if I can get better at x, y and z, I will have a shot. While I did get better at x, y and z, I only got further and further away as more people and higher level athletes started participating. For me to have a chance I would have to add about 100lbs to every lift and improve my conditioning by a huge amount. No matter how much I train this is not going to happen, so my focus for the Open is to have fun myself and make sure everyone at the gym has a great time too. So unless I go as a spectator I will not be going to the Games.
2) Be well fed and rested. In the first Open workout last year I was planning on doing the workout at about 3:30pm and had timed my meals accordingly. A few things got in my way and I didn’t end up going until the last heat of the night at around 8pm. I hadn’t eaten since about noon, so this was a very bad idea. About two minutes into what turned into a 19 minute workout I felt really weak and terrible. Lesson learned. For the rest of last year’s Open workouts and all of this year’s I made sure my eating was timed right. If something had thrown it off, I likely would have pulled the plug and done the workout at a different time.
3) Constantly watching the leaderboard is a terrible waste of time. Checking your ranking every couple hours after you submit your score and researching your “leaderboard rivals” can be entertaining but in the end usually just makes you feel worse about yourself. I used to do this every week and by the end of the Open I would be more worried about what score I got relative to others rather than going for it and having fun. If you gave your best effort you should feel really good about that and avoid deriving value about yourself from how anyone else performs.
4) Watching strategy videos is generally a waste of time. All the strategy videos out there are geared towards athletes essentially trying to make Regionals. None of these strategies apply to me because I’m not capable of doing what they say for the entire workout. Here is my simple strategy for every workout: Get a good warm-up, organize your equipment nicely and don’t go too fast at the start.
5) Use the correct weights. Personally I’ve never had an issue here but we had this happen a few times this year. Even a couple coaches made this mistake, ahem… Katie, Andie:) I will definitely triple check what weights I’m using so I don’t have to redo any workouts.
6) Judging is really fun. In the past I haven’t judged that much because I was focused on organizing the heats, running the clock, and making sure everyone had all their equipment set up. This year Jessie stepped up taking on those tasks. This freed me up to be a judge and it was awesome. I had a ton of fun helping people stay focused, giving some coaching tips, and pushing them to keep moving all the way to the end of the workout.
7) I’m terrible at handstand push-ups. I can do some good ones but burn out really quickly and it turns into me staring at the wall for long periods of time during the workout. The recipe to getting better at them isn’t more handstand push-ups in workouts. Practicing them while not under fatigue and gradually build up the volume of reps I do, is a much better strategy. This goes for any movement or skill development. If you struggle with double unders it is really hard to get better at them during a workout with a bunch of burpees and kettlebell swings. Carving out some time to practice without worrying about the clock or having a heart rate through the roof is a much smarter approach.
8) Lower your expectations (or don’t have any). There is a psychology formula: happiness = reality/expectations. So if you set an expectation of a certain score and in reality you don’t reach it your happiness will decrease. The opposite is also true, if your reality exceeds your expectations you will increase your happiness. Say person A thinks they can get a certain number of rounds but fall short and are upset afterward. Person B is a bit scared of the weight in the workout and thinks they won’t do very well but is able to get several more reps than they thought possible and is ecstatic. Did person A not work as hard and be disappointed? I would bet Person A just set their expectations too high. I used to calculate out how fast I thought I could go each round and what final score I could get. At some stage during the workout I would realize that wasn’t going to happen and start to feel disappointed even during the workout. Not a recipe for feeling good about myself. Now I try to keep my expectations to a minimum and focus on performing my best in the moment. And that has led, you guessed it, to greater happiness after each workout and overall about the Open.
If you participated in the Open this year or years past I would love to hear what lessons you’ve learned! Let us know in the comments!