Life After The Open (Part 2) – A Time For Reflection

Posted: March 27, 2018 in CrossFit, Training
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WE DID IT!!! We survived the 2018 CrossFit Games Open!!!

As someone who has done every single Open, no matter how much the workouts change, one aspect of the event remains consistent year after year. There are always first-timers, athlete’s doing it “just for fun,” those looking to compete against their friends, and individuals sincerely hoping to make it to the next level of competition. Regardless of which group you identify with, when coach yells out, “3, 2, 1, GO!” every single person in the gym gives each workout their all. It’s so much fun to watch, and even more fun to coach!

In a post last week, I talked about intelligent ways of planning out how to structure your next year of training. (If you haven’t already, I really think you should check it out!) A lot of athletes have put in countless hours of blood, sweat, and tears into preparing for a five week competition. Between sleepless nights, sore muscles, and redoing workouts, our bodies are tired! If your Open season is over, I’m here to encourage you to give yourself time to relax. It can be tempting to jump onto a new programming or add in a ton of accessory work, but your body needs a break!

Today, I think it’s important to take a step back and breathe.

I often talk about the impact proper nutrition and adequate sleep can have on your performance, your brain needs some time to recover, too! In every other sport, there’s a clear “Off-Season;” a block of time where athletes are almost forced to take a break. In CrossFit, we don’t really have that. Since “going to the gym” is such an integrated part of our lives, a lot of athletes refuse to acknowledge the fact that resting for a few days, or even weeks, might make you better! The whole “No Rest Days” philosophy is something I’ve written about in the past, and will certainly write about in the future, but not today.

Today, I want to ask you to pause, take a few minutes, and reflect.

Really think about what has happened over the last five weeks of your “fitness” life.

And only allow yourself to think in positive terms.



What did YOU get out of the Open?

Did you finish any workout faster than expected? Were you able to complete a movement for the first time? Did you go “Rx’d” on your first Open WOD? I know several people who are simply happy with how positive they kept their mindset, and how well they kept their nerves under control. The happy things are easy to identify!

Now, it can be easy to look back and only think of the negative aspect of things. But not today! Were you frustrated about anything? Did you not hit the weight you were hoping to on your heavy clean attempt? Did the handstand push-up rule impact your results in workout 18.4? Were your double-unders a disaster for 18.3? Fine. Now, shift your mindset and let’s rephrase how we look at those scenarios.

  • Disappointed in weight for clean
    • “Over the next year, I will work on challenging myself to hit heavier weights when I’m tired.”
  • Handstand range of motion
    • “By devoting time to slowing down and ensuring I’m in complete control of my lockouts, it will make me much more effective at that movement.”
  • Inconsistent double-unders
    • “A few days per week after my workout, I’ll spend some time practicing my doubles. That way I’ll be used to jumping when I’m tired, and when Castro programs that workout again next year, I’ll be fine!”

Today, I want you to think about THREE THINGS you learned from the Open that are POSITIVE. They can be things you’re legitimately proud of, or areas for improvement that you’ve been lucky enough to identify for yourself!

Take a few minutes and really think about your three things. Then, share them in the comments of this post. Let’s help congratulate and encourage one another to celebrate these positive moments!

Only positive thoughts.

Here are my three:

  • This year, I reestablished a healthier personal relationship with CrossFit.
    • I’ve been doing CrossFit for almost a decade. In that time I have gone from working out in a Bally’s (globo gym) after work, to training nearly three hours per day to try and qualify for Regionals (never did, by the way!), to simply viewing CrossFit as a fun way of working out.
    • I workout by myself over 90% of that time, and while that can be really hard for me, I’m starting to appreciate those moments more. That’s where I get to recharge. It’s my hour to push myself. And it’s a block of time where I can make myself better through this crazy workout program. I’m back to liking CrossFit again.
  • I may have conquered one of my GOATS!
    • In CrossFit we call skills or movements that we aren’t good at, or just don’t like, our goats. Thrusters have always been a goat of mine. I’m not great at squatting OR pressing, so when you put them together, I’m double-excited to work out! With the final workout of this year’s Open, though, a workout presented itself that I had already done four times in the past! Instead of letting it ruin my week, I simply made a plan of how to break up reps, stuck to that plan, and survived! Yep… I did a movement I didn’t like, lived to tell the tale, and realized that maybe I’m not as bad at it as I used to be! Just imagine if I trained to get even better at it one day?! I probably won’t, ya know… because it’s thrusters… but just imagine if I did!
  • The Open has sparked a renewed interest in my blog!
    • I put my heart and soul into trying to provide valuable content for people who decide to visit my blog. My “Open Strategy” videos started way back in 2012, and although it’s a (self-imposed) stressful time of the year for me, it’s so rewarding to see messages from those who feel better prepared to attack those five workouts each year. My goal is to keep giving people a reason to come back here week after week! Whether it’s how to approach a workout, general fitness advice, something cool I’ve come across, or just some insight into this crazy brain of mine, I hope you like what you find here!

So…. what are your three? I’d love for you to share them with me!

  1. Miloca says:

    Thank you, Tom!!!! I’m doing my homework… it’s not easy to define 1 or 2 objectives… but I think I put all I want to achieve in powerful priority list… 🙂

    • Smashby says:

      That’s a great plan! Remember, I didn’t mean to say you should only want to improve two things. I meant to say that it’s likely only possible to only improve a few things *at the same time.* So, make your list of things you want to improve as long as you want! THEN, we can work to prioritize, pick a few, and then work on hitting everything over time! You’ve got this, Miloca!

  2. Sergio says:

    This is a great series of articles. I found myself in the last two weeks of the open asking myself “Why do I workout so hard everyday? What is the purpose?” These aren’t questions I usually ask myself, so then I was curious “Why am I asking these questions?” There are a few reasons, but the one that resonated the most with me is….I’m burnt out. I’m tired of CrossFit, I’m tired of the daily routine, I’m tired of this specific programming cycle. Sooooo, I’ve decided to rest. Maybe a week, maybe 2…who knows, maybe a few months. The timeline isn’t important. What is important is that I recognized that I needed a break so that I could enjoy it all over again.

    I’ve never been good at taking time off and being away from CrossFit. Maybe it’s because I’m self conscious about a change in my physical appearance OR maybe it’s because I’m afraid if I take a break I’ll “lose it.” But the reality is, if I don’t take this break then my relationship with CrossFit and more importantly fitness, won’t be a healthy one.

    Thanks for taking the time to write these, Tom. It’s much appreciated

    • Smashby says:

      Sergio, thanks so much for the thoughtful comment! I understand where you’re coming from 1000%. If we think back to childhood sports, we all had those friends (or WERE those friends) who eventually burned out. Pressure from parents, coaches, peers, themselves, got so bad that it wasn’t fun anymore.
      We’ve now been doing CrossFit for as long as (or longer than) we played sports growing up. That’s why I think setting goals can be so helpful, it can force you to ask: Why am I even doing this?
      Some of our friends have slowly come to accept that we don’t need to “red line” every time we work out, and that it can just be about staying healthy. But I think that a lot more of us have a really tough time separating the moments when we worked out for 2+ hours per DAY and tried to compete at a high level, with “breaking a sweat and staying safe is all my body really needs. Also, looking good naked is fun.”
      I am *all about* taking time off from things we do constantly to recharge. If that eventually leads you back to CrossFIt, awesome. If not, I hope you find some sort of fitness and exercise that makes you happy. Don’t forget, we still need to break in my garage gym!
      Thanks again for the comment and discussion, dude. Means a lot!

  3. Danny says:

    1. Before the open started I told myself I’d be “one and done” on every workout this year. I didn’t fully succeed because I did repeat the double-under workout. I only “re-did” it because my body wasn’t cooperating the first time and I wanted a true measure of how far I could get. Proved myself right and improved by a ton the second go round.

    2. CrossFit is more fun when you don’t stress about it. I’ve been training less this year than in years prior. Each workout is more fun, less stressful, and I’m generally just as “fit”. I think my overall place in the region actually improved from a year ago.

    3. Doing the Open event on Friday mornings really opened up the weekends to go enjoy Colorado and not stress about an exercise race. I do CrossFit to be better at life, not to be a better CrossFitter.

    I haven’t taken any time off since the Open, but my training since the Open ended has focused on some cardio and bicep curls (beach in a week!).

  4. […] to channel that inspiration into productive skill development. In the second post of the series (Life After The Open (Part 2), I encouraged everyone to take moment to reflect on their own Open. Not just reflect, but identify […]

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