Posts Tagged ‘Competition’

Each year after the CrossFit Games Open, roughly 29% of CrossFit athletes say: “I’m going to train SO HARD for the next 330 days and DESTROY Chest-to-Bars and Thrusters next year!”

Then, January 16th rolls around and they start to panic. If that’s you, don’t worry, it happens to a LOT of people! SO many, in fact, that memes are popping up all over the place from amazing places like the UnitedLifters Instagram page.

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@UnitedLifters on Instagram

Now don’t get all butt-hurt if that’s you. Don’t say, “But life just got really busy! Stop being mean!” I’m saying I UNDERSTAND! I’m sure I told myself I’d snatch 275lbs and row a 5k in under 18 minutes by “next year,” too. The point is, for some of us, it DIDN’T happen.

Does that mean you should just give up if you don’t have your muscle-ups yet? Or quit if your double-unders aren’t where you’d like them to be right now? OF COURSE NOT! I’m writing this post just to help everyone establish realistic expectations for themselves.

If you can’t do a few strict pull-ups and a few strict dips, it is unlikely (not impossible, just unlikely) that you’ll get your first muscle-up in workout 18.2. If there even are muscle-ups in workout 18.2, but you get the drill. So many athletes set a goal to acquire a new skill by late February each year, and if they don’t have it YET, they view themselves as a failure or that the last year is a waste. If you DID work on something all year, or even for a few dedicated weeks, that is ALWAYS something you should celebrate!

Find yourself a good coach, or someone you trust. With them, work together to develop a plan that will help you accomplish your goal over time. Most of the time it just takes hours of practice achieve a new skill. Often, learning and rehearsing simple modifications of something until it becomes second nature is the best thing for you. Practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect, but “perfect practice” with purpose can certainly help even more!

So, if there’s something you want to improve before the Open starts, more power to you! I believe in you! If I can help you get there, let me know! But at the end of the day, you just need to remember that the Open is a random five week competition. For fun. If you want to learn a skill, learn it just to learn it! Learn it to get better. If you have it, keep practicing until it’s even easier.

People say, “It’s about the journey, not just the destination!” It’s true. Pick a skill, and master it because it’ll just feel great to learn something and improve little bit more. I’m here to help in any way I can. Few good things happen overnight, so put in the practice, and reap all of the rewards of it.

Yes, friends. I’m talking about practice.

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One of the strangest phenomenons I’ve noticed about the CrossFit Games Open, is that the trend of wanting to “redo” workouts to improve one’s score exists with both beginners and CrossFit Games athletes alike. Today’s post is on the motivation behind the do-overs. WHY do people choose to put themselves through the same torture they just experienced, with only a few days (if that) between attempts?

***Before we dive in, let the record show I am 100% one of those people who typically retests!***

In my experience, athletes will typically retest the Open workouts for one of a few reasons:

  1. “On the Bubble”– These people find themselves right on the cusp of those who might qualify for Regionals. (Or at least they think they’re on the bubble…) It’s so crazy to think that over 5 the course of workouts ONE SINGLE REP could be the difference between making it, or not making it, to the next phase in this worldwide competition.
  2. Beat Friends– Here’s something that you might find hard to believe: CrossFitters are typically very competitive people! That means if you go head-to-head with your friend and they beat you by a few reps, you only have one option: Redo the workout, beat THEIR score by a few reps, and defend your family’s honor! Am I Right? Obviously.
  3. Type-A / Perfectionists– These folks “shouldn’t have set down the bar” with only 5 reps to go. They “could have rowed” just a little faster. That chalk break “wasn’t really necessary” at the end. We know, we know. We all feel that way. Just because you could have squeezed out a few more reps during round 4, though, doesn’t mean you need to do the workout again.
  4. Leader-boarders– A lot of times, these people don’t even know why they do workouts over! They’re not going to qualify for Regionals. They casually work out a few times per week to stay in shape and hang out with their friends. The Open is just a fun few weeks out of the year, then it’s back to normal. Yet for some reason, going from 2,528th in the Region to 2,194th in the Region on workout 3 makes them feel a lot better about themselves. Improving a mostly (completely?) irrelevant ranking usually isn’t worth putting your body through doing 200 deadlifts at 225lbs in 48 hours! Be smart. Train safe. Recover adequately. Repeat. As one of my friends used to say: Don’t Let Ego Be Your Amigo.

If you’re one (or more) of the people above,  I’m not here to judge you! I have done nearly every single Open workout (since the Open was a thing) more than once. Nearly every single one! From the list above, I’m a ‘Reason #3’ person.

For MOST of us, though, please remember: Your score on an Open workout doesn’t really matter!

I’m serious. That’s not meant to hurt your feelings. In fact, it’s meant to encourage you to NOT hurt yourself! CrossFit is hard. The Open workouts typically make us push even harder. That means that doubling or tripling down on the stress you’re putting your body through will take more out of you than if you just did them once. Decide if it’s really worth it to give it another go.

After all that, if you still decide to retest workouts each week, more power to you. The only thing I want you consider is: Why?

If the risk (of being too fatigued, getting hurt during your attempt, the frustration if you don’t do better) outweighs the reward (a few higher spots in your ranking and a higher score?), maybe sit it out. To truly perform at your best during the Open, it takes months of training and preparation. Retesting because your body just knows where the pain hits doesn’t necessarily mean you’re any more fit, either. These workouts were designed to be one-and-done. When it’s Game Day, you typically don’t get a second shot anyways!

Finally, let’s address the elephant in the room about “Reason #2” people. I know you love competing with “so-and-so” at the gym. Maybe they know it, and you push each other every day. Maybe you’ve never even met them, but you always see their times and scores on the whiteboard. And just maybe, they’re your “Gym Nemisis”… the person you HAVE to beat or it ruins your day. Our competitiveness in this fitness thing can quickly turn into something negative. Instead of wasting energy being mad that someone beat you, criticizing them and making up “excuses” as to why they beat you, maybe this is the year you can just be excited for everyone! Positive and encouraging energy in a gym is so contagious! Unfortunately, so are those people who sit in the corner scowling because someone beat their score. You know, at the end of the day, they might just actually be better at exercise racing than you are in those particular workouts. Guess what? It’s ok. Don’t lose sleep, or friends, over a stupid competition!

All that said, I’ll still likely redo some of them. So, there’s that.

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It’s time for me to go ‘Uncle Rico” on you for a minute…

It was the final event of a two day CrossFit Competition. I was basically in a tie going into the final event. My friends who were there lined the “competition floor,” which in this case happened to be a pool deck, prepping to cheer me on. The head judge yelled, “3, 2, 1, GO!” and we were off.

When I work out, as much as I’ve tried, I typically don’t enjoy myself. I haven’t mastered the Annie Thorisdottir yet, where I can smile throughout the suffering. So often times mid workout, it probably looks like I’m crying. (Spoiler Alert: I probably am!) Even worse, I don’t love being the center of attention (believe it or not), so when a bunch of people are standing around watching my suffering, I’m even less comfortable! I think it’s because I wish I could be faster FOR THEM, and get frustrated with myself. Ridiculous, I know!

So the workout starts and I’m neck and neck with the other guy. Halfway through the event, we’re still going rep for rep! At this point, “THE SUCK” starts to hit. My muscles scream and all I want to do is slow down. Those friends who are cheering me on are right next to me. One of them in particular started to scream the things that most CrossFit fans yell… “Dig Deep!” and “Pick It Up” and “3, 2, 1, GO!” to keep me moving along. The other people around were just saying things like…. “You got this, Tom. C’mon.” After hearing, “YOU HAVE TO GO NOW! GOOO!” for the last time, I couldn’t take it anymore.

Mid workout I turned to that person, gave them a death stare, and stared back down at the ground trying to regain my composure enough to keep going. Seconds later, I heard other friends in that group chuckle to each other and say, “Did you see that LOOK?! Oh man, he is NOT happy!” Typing that story makes me laugh pretty hard. Why? Because I was so ungrateful and selfish that I WASN’T appreciating friends trying everything in their power to encourage and support me. I was exercise racing and was so caught up in my own brain, that I couldn’t have just been flattered and honored that so many of my close friends chose to be there in my corner.

Why tell that story? Well, it’s because the 2018 is coming!!

That means that in a few short weeks, thousands of people worldwide are going to care a little bit more about CrossFit. They’re going to register for the CrossFit Games Open, and once (or twice?) per week, they’re going to throw down in their garage or at their box with a few dozen of their friends. The music will seem just a bit louder, the cheers will be a little bit more passionate, and the pain cave will be a little bit deeper. It’s just how it goes.

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Photo Cred: carrotsncake.com

But yesterday, while I was finishing a workout alone, some friends in the gym were cheering me on. I couldn’t get myself to push anymore, but the “Pick up the bar, Tom” I was hearing was starting to upset me again. “I can’t pick it up!” I’d say to myself. The “C” word that I always yell at my athletes for saying to me. Can’t. “You CAN, don’t tell yourself you can’t!” Afterwards, one of my friends walked up to me and said, “I just realized, I don’t know the type of encouragement you like.” What an awesome question to ask!

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Photo Cred- DenverPost.com (also, hi friends!)

As the Open approaches, have that conversation with your friends, training partners, and classmates. Some people want and NEED the crowd in their faces SCREAMING AT THEM to Pick Up the Bar! Some people just want positive and encouraging support from their friends. Others want to be left alone. By talking about that with your crew, you help ensure that when the clock starts counting, you’re in a position to be as supportive as possible to those you care about. At the end of the day, that’s what I always strive to do. In every aspect of fitness, what works for one person might not work for another. Even though it’s “just a workout,” it can have a much more profound impact on someone else than you might realize. Don’t lose a friend because you yelled at them when they had 5 Wall Balls to go…. or because you didn’t, when you were just trying to help!

The Open is almost here, friends. Start getting excited!

p.s.- Once I regained feeling in my body and got oxygen back in my brain after that event I talked about above, I apologized for being a jerk to the friend that cheered me on, and thanked them for being there for me!

It’s a new year, which means one thing: The 2018 CrossFit Games Open is coming!

It also means that Thirty-six people you know are “definitely going to make the CrossFit Games, bro!” Am I right? Of those thirty-six, at least four of them are going to start training this week, too.

Look, I’ve been doing CrossFit for nearly a DECADE (that’s a long time), and I’ve been a full-time CrossFit coach for over half of it. I get the opportunity to see the program help people improve their quality of life nearly every single day. So yes, you can call me a believer.

I’ve also been around the “Sport” of CrossFit for so long, that I’ve seen it grow from a BBQ with a few dozen friends at the Castro Ranch in Aromas to an internationally televised event with a prize purse of over two million dollars. That means I remember when the best athlete at your gym might have been the best athlete in the state, and when a 225 pound clean and jerk in a competition for a guy would leave spectators in awe! Now, there are hundreds (if not thousands?) of athletes worldwide who devote their lives to working out full-time. Some of them are former or current Olympians, some are internationally ranked in multiple disciplines, and many of them are on steroids and other performance enhancements. (That’s not speculation, it’s a proven fact.) What does that mean? Well, unfortunately it means that most (so…. 99.9999999%) of your friends and training partners who have full-time desk jobs, spouses, kids, and pets to take care of, and any kind of a social life are unlikely to make it to the next level. Sorry.

NOW, no part of that last paragraph is designed to insult or bash anyone, or dim the fire inside of those who devote months out of the year to constantly improving. In fact, over the last year, I’ve had the privilege of coaching multiple athletes who have actually competed at the CrossFit Games for multiple years! It’s incredible to watch the motivation, dedication, and performance output of these athletes and their training partners! Day in and day out I’m amazed at what they do. So it CAN be done, no doubt.

What this post does aims to do, is serve as a friendly reminder to nearly everybody else who is getting ready for the Open. For about 6 weeks each year, over a quarter of a million people sign up for, and compete in, this worldwide competition. I’ve seen PR Clean and Jerks, first-ever double-unders and muscle-ups, and countless other INCREDIBLE moments during the weeks we set aside to push that extra mile! In fact, it gives me goosebumps to recall some of those victories. What I’ve also seen, though, are people who become devastated when the results of a single workout don’t match where their expectations were set. I’ve seen people who trained hard for nine or more months look back on an entire year with regret for their overall ranking not being where they had hoped it would be when all was said and done. Worst of all, I’ve seen people push through injury and forget how important it is to let their bodies recover because it was more important to be able to write #NoRestDays at the end of their Instagram posts, and mean it.

At the end of the day, CrossFit is an activity that most people do to improve their health and hopefully have some fun along the way. When it becomes much more than that for some, this fun little fitness program can instead become the source of so much stress and anxiety. Can you see how that sounds a little silly?

My Call To Action for each of you is to try to keep it in all perspective.

Work hard. Find good coaching and fun training partners. Recover, eat well, and breathe. Repeat.

The 2018 Open is almost here. And if you play your cards right, it’s going to be a blast.

If you ever get caught up in things you can’t control, find yourself more unhappy than happy when thinking about this CrossFit thing, or are debating whether or not to do that workout for the 7th time in 4 days, remember what Will Ferrell’s tattoo said in the movie “The Internship” and relax. This is supposed to be FUN, after all!

As some of you know, I started this blog a years ago, and have given my thoughts on a lot of topics in that time. When the video below from four years ago popped up in my feed today, I took a few minutes to watch it.

First of all, yes, I’ve always been a huge nerd and watching this video made me laugh. Second, aside from the gym where I work, not much has changed in regards to my feelings on the integrity of athletes who compete in this event. So, instead of writing a huge post on it, I’ll be brief, and then just share my thoughts from 2012 with you guys once again.

My friends and I always joke with each other about how one’s ranking or placement in “The Open” really has no impact on any aspect of practically anyone’s lives (unless you make it to the next level.. then, you’re a better exercise racer than other people… congrats). So, to be 682nd in the Region, and to do so by cheating even though your squats weren’t low enough, or you didn’t lock out your arms, is honestly just kind of sad.

Most people, nearly all in fact, who compete in The Open do so honestly and fairly. Most of us simply enjoy the spirit of competition and the excitement of being pushed out of your comfort zone for a few weeks. Most of us think it’s fun. However, as the next five weeks come and go, and you start seeing names you’ve never heard of before, and scores from people you DO know that jusssst don’t seem right…. my advice is simple:

Don’t worry about it. Smile. Have fun. And enjoy the competition and sense of community that this event brings to the CrossFit world.

Good luck. Have fun. I believe in you guys!

Traditionally on this blog, the Moment of Awesomeness posts include some sort of Extreme Sports video. Today’s post does not.

Even though this post won’t focus on those who voluntarily jump off of a perfectly good mountain, or people who just hate being safe with two feet on the ground, it will still focus on people who I think are brave and worthy of recognition!

This past Saturday I had a pretty busy day:
– Alarm goes off at 7:30am

– Make and eat breakfast, clean my place a little bit, head out the door

– 8:40am- Arrive to gym #1 where some friends were throwing down at a local Indoor Rowing competition

– 10:00am-Leave competition, head to gym #2 for CPR and First Aid Recertification

– 11:00am-1:00pm – Play with a really creepy mask, and feel more confident helping people if the situations ever arise where they need it!

– 1:30pm- Drive to gym #3 to cheer on friends competing in a CrossFit Competition

-3:30pm- Grab lunch w competing friends and celebrate their huge accomplishment

Row, Row, Row Your Boat:

Peter and Scott were good at rowing. Peter and Scott wanted to get even better at rowing. Peter and Scott did just that. After committing to sign up for an Indoor Rowing competition, my friends approached me about getting in better shape for their respective races.

I bet Peter could pull a 1:25 for a 500m row in his sleep. The dude has rowed a 1:21.8 for crying out loud! In my head,that is insanely fast. He didn’t want to race that distance, however. He wanted to step outside of his comfort zone and race the 2,000m distance, a pretty significant jump in distance for a sprinter like myself. Scott comes from a history of cycling. So, while he’s no stranger to racing or “endurance” events, rowing for sport, however, was a new concept for him. When these two approached me about getting them on a 12-week program in preparation for race day, I was stoked! Few things make me happier than watching athletes push themselves just for the sake of pushing themselves!

After nearly 3 months of row-dedicated workouts and time on the erg, we were so happy to see that BOTH of them PR’d in their respective distances! Peter (aka Birddog) rowed a 6:43 for his 2k, and Scott rowed a 1:28.3 in his 500m. Stoked for you guys!

The Rowers together!

Rowers and their cheering section!

Safety First:

I first became a lifeguard at the age of 13. That means my first CPR and First Aid Certification happened OVER 18 YEARS AGO! (Wow, that makes me feel old!) The point is that in my industry (as Head Coach at a CrossFit Gym), safety should always come first. 

While to some people, putting your face on a creepy mask and breathing into a “dummy” may not be the best way to spend an afternoon, I kept reminding myself that if something happened where an athlete collapsed or got hurt… I have been tasked with being able to do my best to help save the athletes in the gym. I remember always thinking as a teenager, “I hope I never have to use this information, but I’m glad I know it!” It’s a big responsibility, so I’m glad to have had that refresher yet again.

Creepy mask, important function

Veteran and the Rookie:

Oh, Danny and Sarah! By far, one of the most fun couples I know. Danny and I met years back competing in CrossFit competitions, and I met his wife Sarah when they came over to train at the gym where I worked. Sarah has always been Danny’s number 1 fan, showing up to events to cheer him on, these last few with their amazing baby boy in tow. When I heard that she had finally agreed to COMPETE in an event, and do it as part of a TEAM with Danny… I was beyond happy!

Not only did they compete together, work together, suffer together, and SURVIVE together… but out of FIFTY SIX (yep, 56) teams in their division, they placed THIRD on one of the events. Now THAT is awesome. Congrats to both of you, it was so fun watching you two throw down together!

 

After the final workout of the Competition!

 
 

The point of this post is to acknowledge and congratulate EVERYONE who has the courage and/or confidence to put themselves out there and compete on a public stage! In my opinion, it’s never about whether or not you win. It’s about did you put in the work to do well, and did you give it your all on Game Day! 

If you have any questions on whether or not you’re ready for a race or competition of your own, or which one you should do, please don’t hesitate to ask me. I’d be happy to talk it over together! 🙂

I asked on Facebook if there were any questions for today’s “Ask Smashby” segment, and with the Turkey Challenge CrossFit Competition at MBS CrossFit this weekend, there were a few!

First of all, thanks to Hallie and Phoebe for your input. I love being able to try and help out fellow athletes and friends. Hopefully the video below answers your questions!

Hallie’s Question- “What are you packing foodwise for the turkey challenge?”
Phoebe’s Question- “How do you plan your pre-competition week?”

Enjoy, and as always, please leave your comments, feedback, thoughts, and spread the word if this helps!

So I’m just going to post the events and their descriptions for Events 2 and 5 for the 2011 CrossFit Games below. My take on them…. awesome. They’re only 2 of 5 (or more…. definitely more) events, and they capture so many unique facets of fitness.

I approve! (Since you care)

Remember, this stuff is pasted straight off of the Official CrossFit Games site.

While sitting in the stands, the athletes learned Events 2 and 5 for the individual competition. Both are 3-part skills tests. Individual Event 2 is:

Skills 1
Max L-sit for time (1 attempt)
Max distance softball throw (2 attempts)
Max distance handstand walk (1 attempt with 1 mulligan if less than 5 yards)

Athletes will be scored for this event in the same system as the Regional scoring. And they will be ranked in each test with the sum of their 3 rankings determining their final score for the event. Low score wins and will receive the identical points as the other events.

Individual Event 5 is:

Skills 2
1 rep max weighted chest-to-bar pull-up for load
1 rep max snatch for load
Jug carry for distance in 60 seconds

Each athlete has 2 minutes to establish a 1 rep max chest-to-bar pull-ups, 2 minutes to establish a 1 rep max snatch, and then will have 60 seconds to carry 2 weighted water jugs, as far as possible.

Athletes will be ranked in each test with the sum of their 3 rankings, determining their final score for the event

Freddy Camacho at CrossFit One World is one of CrossFit’s original firebreathers! With his trademark tattoo sleeves, awesome personality and incredible shoulder strength, he can be picked out by most of us from a mile away.

After this week’s CrossFit Games Open Workout #2, there were some scores posted that literally blew minds away. I mean, people were absolutely floored. I don’t need to get into the little details of the workout since I’ve already posted what it was on my blog, and since Freddy covers it in the post, but he wrote EXACTLY the same thing that I’ve talked to most of you about in person over the last 5 days.

I am very curious as to what you guys think about this. Just like him, I’m not saying people are lying and that it’s impossible to score these numbers. What I AM saying, is that to do so is just short of super human work capacity and that I just want to see one of these performances and marvel at it’s greatness.

Here’s the full post, but I’ll paste a good chunk of it below, highlighting some of the points I’ve discussed with some of you. (Guys, he even tested the “Air Round” I said someone should do!)

Great stuff, Freddy! Let me know what you guys think, too.

*****From The Post – “SUPERHUMAN????” by Freddy Camacho*****

“At the time of this writing, there are six people (3 men/3 women) claiming 600+ reps for Workout #2 of the CrossFit Games Open. The workout is as many rounds as possible in 15 minutes of 9 deadlifts (M:155#/W:100#)/12 push-ups with a hand raise at bottom/15 box jumps (M:24″/W:20″). Yes, you read that right…. 600 or more reps! For the purpose of this post, I will use an even 600 reps. To achieve 600 reps, a person would have to perform 16 rounds + 9 deadlifts + 12 push-ups + 3 box jumps…in 15 minutes!!!”

“Time for some math (YAY)!!! There are 900 seconds in 15 minutes. 900 seconds divided by 600 reps is 1.5 seconds per rep. At 1.5 seconds per rep, in order to complete 600 reps you would have to finish a round every 54 seconds without any rest or transition time.”

“Let’s say the transition time is on the low side at 34 seconds. That means the total seconds that you are actually completing 600 reps shrinks down to 1.4 seconds per rep. You are now completing a round every 50.4 seconds without any rest.”

“I did an “air round”: A simulated straight leg deadlift with no bar or stick, push-ups without raising my hands, and standing jumps with no box or tuck (about an 8″-10″ jump). I made sure I hit full range of motion on the “air deadlift” and the push-up. It took me 40 seconds to complete the round. That means to achieve 600 reps, I would only have 10.4 seconds of rest time, or what I call “wiggle room”, per round to maintain pace. And remember, that is with no weight, no hand raise, and no box.”

The Affiliate Team results are in after the second week of the 2011 CrossFit Games Open.*

Out of 68 Total Teams in our Region, Team CrossFit Lakewood is ranked 37th place! The way that the Team Competition works, is the top 30 teams from each Region make it on to the next round of competitions, which is called Regionals.

Currently, we’re only 13 points and 7 places away from 30th place, so that’s WELL within reach with 4 weeks still left to go!! Great job, everyone!

*The Website has had quite a a few issues so far, so any of this information MAY be incorrect, but as of now that’s what it shows.

*****CFLW MOMENT OF PRIDE*****
Our very own Megan Pendergraft is currently ranked 35th place in our Region after week #2. Yeah, Megan!!