Posts Tagged ‘CrossFit Games Open’

There are two predictable behavior patterns that CrossFit athletes show every year. The first is the feeling of sheer panic people get in anticipation of the CrossFit Games Open… which usually starts 2-4 weeks before the competition begins. (Oh no, I still don’t have muscle-ups! Better try to learn them in a week, even though I’ve had a year to practice!) The second thing we can expect is a verbal commitment to improve weaknesses that are identified during the Open over the next year. (Next year I WILL have stronger handstand push-ups!) Many athletes end up falling short of their goals, however. They’ll pick something, work on it for a few weeks, get bored, and then stop.

While anyone can watch athletes on Instagram and follow their accessory work, promise to “add in a few reps of pull-ups after every workout” to get stronger, or run five miles per week to not hate cardio as much, there are more effective ways to ensure steady progress.

Over the years, I’ve created individualized programming for dozens of athletes ranging from mobility progressions, to race training blocks for the Concept2 Rower, to “functional bodybuilding” style work that simply increases raw strength. By having someone you trust provide you with an effective training plan, give you the regular feedback necessary to make adjustments in technique, and help keep you accountable week after week, you’ll be positioning yourself in a place where success is much more likely!

Another thing I’ve discussed on this blog (here, for example) is acknowledging that we can only really focus on improving a few things at a time. If your goals for the next year are to get stronger, faster, bigger, leaner, more gymnasty, more flexible, sleep more, become more mentally tough, improve your lung capacity, clean up your diet, collect more neon-colored workout gear, run a faster mile, and grow a killer beard… maybe you should take a step back and prioritize a few of those things to start. (I’ve written about that here, too.) A good coach can help you do that! This fitness thing really is a marathon, not a sprint.

AfterTheOpen2

Pick one or two things off of that list at a time to improve, get a plan that works for you, and dedicate yourself to it. After some time, move on and attack the next thing. Rinse. Repeat. But whatever you do, don’t say you’re going to get better at something, spend zero time improving it, and then get mad when Dave Castro programs it next year in the Open. You had an entire year to get better!

How can you put yourself in a place to not let a full year pass without improving on those movements and skills?

ACCOUNTABILITY. That’s how.

Let me know if you’d like to chat about how I might be able to help you! While many gyms have great programming and coaching, in order to accomplish goals that apply to you, specifically, it often takes a more personalized approach. Prioritizing goals, then creating a program (complete with effective periodization, structured training cycles, etc) can be a challenge, but they’re really fun to develop.  Let’s get better together!

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Here’s last week’s recap and my goals for the upcoming week.

Last week:

  • Fitness
    • Week three of the 2018 CrossFit Games Open is over.
    • For workout 18.3, I retested and only got a single rep more when I completed a double-under at literally the last second! I was pretty bummed, as I was so much farther ahead of my time, but simply collapsed on the second set of overhead squats. My core was shaking, shoulders couldn’t hold up the bar, and I even missed a snatch attempt to finish up my last few reps. The silver lining in this is that I obviously pushed myself to the point of failure in the last few seconds of the workout. That’s a sign that I’m toying with that red line and doing it right. I feel like I should have been able to complete the next set of double-unders, so that’s what I’ll shoot for when they repeat this workout next year. Here’s a video of my first attempt.
    • This week for 18.4, I finally got a barbell movement that I love… the deadlift! However, it was paired with a movement I do NOT love… the handstand push-up. The GOOD NEWS for me, is that there was a new standard introduced for the HSPU, which meant that the playing field was leveled for a lot of athletes. As I coach to all of my classes, most people (yeah, most) don’t actually reach full ROM on their reps based on what a rep “should” look like to me. So, by requiring feet to go above the line, lots of athletes were forced to slow down and do them properly. My first attempt was alright, but when I got to the handstand walks, my mid-line and shoulder were fried! Probably would have been a good idea to practice handstand walking before the workout, haha. I am happy with my score, but if I feel recovered enough my Monday afternoon, I’ll likely give it another go. Here’s attempt number one.
  • Last Saturday, my dad reached out to see if I was free this coming weekend. When I said yes, we were able to find me a flight to go out and hang out with him and my brother in Tuscon, Arizona! We had an amazing time, watched a lot of baseball, and even got to play catch and hit some balls together. While I didn’t get a lot of sleep, it felt so good to spend time with them!
  • Stupid Human Trick of the Week goes to my first attempt at a “Pool Jump” in years. It took four or five tries, but the one I decided to record ended up being the best one! Check it out!

This week:

  • I’ve got a long night of travelling back home to Colorado ahead of me, so I’m not quite sure if I’ll feel up to retesting 18.4 tomorrow, but we’ll see.
  • Once I’m home, I need to make sleep a higher priority for me. Using my “Sleep Cycle” app, I’m going to actually TRACK how many hours I get, and it needs to be better than last week. I’ve never slept “enough” in my adult life, but these last few weeks have been abnormally bad for me. I tell every athlete I coach that nutrition and rest are MORE important for your body than the time you spend in the gym. If I can set more of an example of getting more rest, I think it will help athletes trust me even more. I’m going to try to lead by example a bit more here.

Alright, your turn. What’s going on with all of you?

The pic of the week comes from my trip to Tuscon, getting a chance to play catch with my baby bro. He’s going to college and will play baseball there next year. The kid is so good, and since I live so far away from him, I don’t get to hang with him that often. Getting in some Long Toss this morning with him felt great! So proud of him!

LongToss

Happy Saturday, everyone! I’m hanging with some family in Tuscon, Arizona, and as I sit by the pool I’m going to hop on my soap box for a minute. Since workout 18.4 of the CrossFit Games Open was released this week, I’ve seen more freak outs than I did when the 16th seed UMBC upset #1 UVA in the March Madness tournament last night!

The commentary I’m referring to, specifically, is the reaction to Dave Castro programming such heavy deadlifts in an Open workout. I’ve read that it’s “not inclusive,” that it’s too much volume at those weights, and there are a lot of claims that it’s simply irresponsible programming. I’ll hop on the “Dave Castro Sucks” bandwagon just as fast as the next person, mostly because it’s fun to do. But what I think people seem to forget is that the CrossFit Games Open is the first step to trying to identify the fittest humans on Earth. Not in your gym, not in your state… on the planet. To suggest that the Open workouts should be all inclusive is absurd to me.

First, let’s go back a little bit and talk about what the “sport” of CrossFit has done for fitness. It introduced a training program, allowed anyone to practice it at their own ability levels, and then showed the world what the best of the best are capable of doing. When I watch the Super Bowl on TV, I can cheer and yell and scream all I want, but know that I’ve never put on a pair of football pads in my life. When I watch the CrossFit Games, I know that I’ve done almost every single movement those athletes are doing, just with a lot less weight, and a lot slower. That ability to identify with, and relate, to these “superheros” is pretty cool. In order to identify who the fittest people are, the tests of fitness need to be effective enough to separate the cream from the rest of the crop. If Castro programmed 135lb deadlifts, that wouldn’t be a test of who has the most capacity, and we all know it.

Now, picture a random workout programmed at your box. If it calls for 225lb squat cleans for men, most of us would look at that and think, “Ok, that’s too heavy for me. I’m just going to scale the weight down.” I don’t understand why it’s so hard for people to approach Open workouts the same way. CrossFit even provides scaled versions of every workout for the over 440,000 people registered. I don’t think it’s irresponsible to say, “Here are the workouts we wrote to identify the fittest humans on the planet. And for those of you who aren’t able to do those yet, here is a modified version that we hope you can do.”

If that same athlete who always tries to go Rx’d on workouts (when you know they shouldn’t) tries to on this workout, I feel it’s our job as coaches to stop them just like we would any other day. Yes, there is a worldwide leaderboard associated with this competition, but if I get hurt rounding my back during 18.4, or if it happens on a random Tuesday in November, I’m still going to be a hurt athlete. In my opinion, there are so few people who should ever intentionally put themselves in a position to get hurt in the gym. If the weight for the Rx is too heavy for you, work until you can’t anymore, take your tiebreak time, and get ready for next week. If you can’t do it Rx’d at all, complete the scaled version and keep yourself moving. It’d still be a 7+ minute workout for most athletes! If you’re bummed, embarrassed, or frustrated that you don’t have the strength or skill to do something yet, turn that energy around! Instead of being down on yourself, make a commitment to improve those skills so that you’ll have them next year!

I’m a coach, and what I love most is helping people make that shift in their mindset. Saying “I can’t do” something to me is completely justifiable… as long as you end that sentence with “yet.” Find people out there who can teach you the fundamental movements, prescribe appropriate progressions, and monitor your progress along the way. It’s amazing what 20 minutes of focused skill work per day, a few days per week, can help you accomplish in a matter of months!

To me, programming 315lb. deadlifts in a workout is not irresponsible. What’s irresponsible is trying them if you’re too tired to lift the bar properly, or attempting to pick it up if you’re simply not strong enough to do so safely. Know when it makes sense to just take your tie break time and walk away on your own terms.

Alright, it’s time to go get in the pool. Take care of yourselves out there. Remember, it’s only competitive exercising, please try not to get hurt. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Some people prefer heavy barbells in workouts and others prefer more gymnastics style movements. Workout 18.4 has BOTH of those things!

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Men’s Rx Workout

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Women’s Rx Workout

The workout begins with the CrossFit Benchmark “Diane,” which is 21-15-9 of deadlifts (225/155) and handstand push-ups. Then, it gets turned up to “11” and the deadlifts go to 315/205, while the handstand push-ups turn into handstand walks (50 feet each round).

The main thing to note, is that since there is a tie break after EACH set of deadlifts, athletes should have a clue about where they hope to end, and base the entire workout on getting there as quickly and safely as possible.

Deadlifts

A 225lb. deadlift isn’t that heavy for a lot of male athletes, and a 155lb deadlift isn’t that heavy for a lot of women, but Diane isn’t the primary focus of this workout. Going unbroken because “you can” is not a good idea. Please be sure to keep your chest up and pace yourself during these reps. The handstand push-ups will take a lot longer than usual for most people, so utilizing an alternating grip and trying to relax your arms as much as you can while keeping the bar close will save your shoulders a bit.

I’d recommend most athletes break up the deadlifts into at least 3 sets with short rests for the first half of the workout. If and when you make it to the second half, it’ll need to be a judgement call for how to go about the heavier deads. If you can safely brace and go through quick singles, that might make more sense than trying to hang on for larger sets, but needing to take longer rests.

Handstand Push-Ups

Souls are going to get crushed here today. Assuming judging is done properly, thousands of athletes are going to no-repped for not hitting the movement standards. I recommend having someone video a few of your reps before the workout starts. Play around with staying locked out on the wall and flexing and extending your ankles, seeing how that places your feet in relation to the line, and making sure you know what a “good rep” feels like. Once you get tired, it’s going to be a lot more challenging to get all the way up and over. It’ll almost be a “scap push-up” at the top of the rep for most athletes.

When considering pacing, the only thing athletes should be thinking about is not to burn out. For “regular” Diane, people will often get through the round of 21 in only a few sets, struggle through the round of 15, and then completely crash and burn on that final round of 9 reps. Take that feeling and multiply it by 100 for the feeling most people will likely have here. Small sets, listen to your judge to minimize no-reps, and don’t get frustrated! It’s better to take long rests between good attempts, than to keep getting no-repped over and over again.

Handstand Walks

If you make it to this part of the workout, congrats! That’s going to be a huge accomplishment for this workout. Shoulders will likely be pretty tired, so as long as the main focus is keeping your arms straight, locked out, and strong, athletes with handstand walks should at least be able to make the 5ft increments without too much difficulty. I don’t think it’s necessary to do all 25ft in a row if the likelihood of falling is high. Walk a bit, drop if you need to, shake out those arms, and get back up.

Scaled Version

The weight is lighter (135/95 for the first part, and 185/135 for the second) and the movements are less advanced. But that does not mean the workout is easy! Hand-release push-ups are the second movement in the first half, and bear crawls were introduced in the Open for the second part.

The name of the game for the Scaled version is to just keep moving! On the set of 21 deadlifts, quick sets of 7 should work for a lot of athletes. Remember, just because you can go unbroken on the set of 21, doesn’t mean you should. The weight gets quite a bit heavier for the second time through and you don’t want to blow up your lower back!

The short rest on the ground for hand-release push-ups should allow athletes to keep moving a little faster through those reps. Since the bear crawls will be less stress on the shoulders for the second half of the workout, I would recommend pushing a little bit faster than you might want to on the hand-release reps.

While only a few athletes will likely finish the Rx’d version of this workout, there will be a lot more who make it through the Scaled version. That means instead of viewing this as a “get as far as you can” workout, you should approach it with a “what’s the best way to pace this entire workout” mentality. Smaller sets, short rest, will be the way to control heart rate and relieve your lower back from being under tension for too long.

Just remember that this is supposed to be fun! Put a smile on your face, keep your core tight and chest up, and get after it. Only one more week to go!

Good luck, have fun, I believe in you!

The CrossFit Games Open is such an incredibly fun time of year! It gives those of us who have been in the game for years a chance to see how far this sport has come. We sit around like alumni back at our old college bar reminiscing about the glory days. “Back when I started CrossFit, you were a beast if you could hit a 225lb snatch!” “Remember when an Open workout was seven minutes of burpees, and that was it?” “I used to be in the top 200 in the Region.” Gosh, those were the days.

Nowadays, some of us look at scores that are submitted during this competition and LITERALLY think, “Nope. That’s impossible!” I chuckle to myself trying to process some of the outlandish things we used to say would NEVER HAPPEN. Today, a 275lb. snatch for guys and a 335lb. clean and jerk rarely even causes an eyebrow to raise, and that is just beyond me. But that’s what this event allows us to see.

Click on a workout, filter by top score, and watch just how many people are capable of incredible feats of human strength. For workout 18.2A, there were over 330 men worldwide that cleaned over 350lbs, immediately AFTER a workout. I remember watching Jason Khalipa fail a 135lb snatch AT THE GAMES a few short years ago. That’s an awful lot of progress in not that much time.

With all of that there is something we all need to remember. All people are not created equal. All athletes don’t spend the same amount of time working out. No two humans have the same genetic makeup. There are always going to be athletes who are better at some things than others. All of that is normal. It is completely alright and expected. And we should never be upset if we’re not the best.

If someone beats you on a strength workout, it could just mean they’re stronger than you. It doesn’t mean that they’re a better person. If someone else score more reps on an endurance-based workout than you, they may just have a better engine. It doesn’t mean that “you wasted an entire year of your life training.” This CrossFit thing has become an UNHEALTHY obsession for thousands of people all over the world. Are there less healthy obsessions? You BET! But it kills me to see people beat themselves up over their ranking in a competition where you don’t even know WHAT you’re preparing for in the first place!

Look, with two weeks left in the 2018 Open, all I can ask of you is that you try your best. If you’ve been busting your butt for the last 12 months, be proud of that! Congratulate yourself for being that focused on trying to make yourself better. Most people do not have the determination to stick with something that hard for that long! If you have NOT been training hard for the last 12 months, then be aware that being a “competitive CrossFitter” is now a part- or a full-time job. And even then, there is ONE PERSON who wins.

It’s probably safe to say now that all of us are more likely to get drafted as a kicker for an NFL team than to win the CrossFit Games. Another fun side note is that the minimum salary for all rookies in the NFL is $465,000. EVERY ROOKIE  in the NFL will make at least that much. In a league with nearly 1,700 players. Now in CrossFit, in a worldwide competition with over 440,000 athletes registered, the OVERALL WINNER (both male AND female) make $275,000. The 20th place person makes $2,000. Two Thousand Dollars. They likely spent more than that to fly TO the Games and on lodging. If not, they very likely spent more than that on supplements and body treatment over the course of the year. The point there is that I doubt very many of us are trying to get better here to make a living doing CrossFit!

I say that to keep this thing in perspective. One of my friends recently said, “Ok, so you made it to Regionals. Congrats! What happened the next Monday? Did you still have to go to work? Yep. You did. Oh, you made it to the Games?! That’s awesome! Did you still go back into the office the next week? Yep, you sure did.” That’s not to knock the efforts, motivation, or inspiration people have to make themselves better. I love that. No, really, I LOVE THAT! And THAT is what I think your focus should be. Are you actually getting better? Are you able to live your life and be healthier and happier and stronger and faster? If yes, then you’re good. Be proud of that!

If you’re sore and hangry and miserable and lonely all the time because you “HAVE TO” train and limit your calories and go to bed early and work out again…. to hopefully be top 400 in your Region… is it worth it? That’s a question that you can only answer for yourself. I just hope that whatever your answer is, it won’t be one that you regret in two, or eight, or thirty years.

I have so much respect for athletes who commit their lives to constant improvement. I’m lucky enough to coach a LOT of them every day. But it breaks my heart when I see them absolutely devastated for not performing better at a random workout on a random day. My heart cries when they comment on their lack of self worth or say how poorly they feel they did, when after MONTHS of hard work, their efforts have improved their performance in so many areas! Imagine working really hard on something, getting SO MUCH BETTER at it, and still not feeling good about yourself? THAT is where this equation goes wrong in my brain.

Please know that your self worth is in no way assessed by your ranking in the worldwide Open. Your family and friends won’t love you any more because of how well you do. If your goal is to get better, then I’m all about it. But constantly remind yourself that all we’re doing is working out and trying to be healthier humans. I hope you can remember that most days.

Two more weeks to go, everyone. Keep your head up, and try to have some fun.

NotYourRanking

Here’s last week’s recap and my goals for the upcoming week.

Last week:

  • Fitness
    • Week two of the 2018 CrossFit Games Open is over.
    • For workout 18.2, I retested and went over one minute faster than my first go-round, and hit the same weight on my clean. I worried that I wouldn’t hit the last rep, so really glad I did.
    • This week for 18.3, I’m actually pretty happy with how it went. I only had one round where I fumbled with my double-unders, and hit everything else pretty much according to plan. The only thing I would improve if I decide to retest tomorrow would be to consider hitting muscle-ups in 3 sets instead of 4. The risk there is if I’m more out of breath, the double-unders might suffer more… and this is definitely a double-under workout. We’ll see what I decide.
  • Friday hit and I was absolutely crushed. My body and brain had a long week, so when wifey told me we were staying in (even though I argued) I ended up getting in bed at 9:00. Yep, you read that right. I went to sleep at nine o’clock on Friday night. Needless to say, it felt good to get more than 8 hours of sleep for the first time in a long time… even though my body naturally woke up at 4:30 thinking I was late to coach somewhere!
  • Last week I was proud to announce that drywall in the garage was done! Yesterday, the pegboard in the garage was finished, too. A project that took MONTHS to make the time to complete is finally done! All it took was a full weekend in the 60’s and nothing but sunshine. Proud of this one!

This week:

  • I plan to record my strategy video for the fourth workout of the 2018 CrossFit Games Open. People are still responding well to them!
  • Last week, amidst all of the stress of life, I didn’t eat quite as much as I should have. After running to Costco this morning, I have no excuses to not prep and have meals with me this week to fuel my body. A concept that a lot of people can’t fathom is that for most of us, eating MORE (predominantly healthy things, of course) will help you lose weight, burn fat, have energy, etc. I’ve known so many people who will INTENTIONALLY not eat when they’re trying to lose weight or perform better, then wonder why they don’t get the results they’re looking for out of it. Give your body fuel and it will thank you! (I just need to make meals that are more conducive to eating on the go, and don’t require a fridge or microwave.)
  • I’ve been (kind of secretly) wanting to get into DJing for the last….. 20 years of my life. However, the cards have never all fallen into place at the same time for this to happen. Last week, I finally upgraded my computer, so the gates have been opened to allow me to play a little bit. After a few more days of software downloads, cable and speaker connection work, and carving out a bit of free time, I might finally be able to start a hobby that includes one of my first passions (music) and does not include the need to practice scales for hours per day (yet, at least). No, this does not help my already-struggling prioritization of reading more this year…. but we make time for what’s important to us though, right?!

Alright, your turn. What’s going on with all of you?

The pic of the week comes from my Thursday morning. As most of you know, I do NOT love waking up at 4-something in the morning 4 days per week. However, the line of work I’ve chosen calls for it, and the people I get to see at then are RAD. At least the sunrise that morning, coincidentally on the first day we’ve been able to run outside in what feels like months, was incredible. I hope you all have a great week!

SunRise3.8.18

Many of us predicted that the third week of the 2018 CrossFit Games Open would separate an incredibly high number of athletes from one another on the leaderboard. We were correct. This week’s torture includes up to 800 double-unders… yes, you read that correctly… eight hundred!!! There are also overhead squats, dumbbell snatches, and muscle-ups. What’s that? You’d like to know if the muscle-ups are bar or ring? This week, you have to do BOTH!

18.3

Strategy

For those who can’t complete a particular movement, my advice is to sprint as much as you can to get to that movement as quickly as possible. For those who can physically do everything, pace the double-unders however you need to in order to not burn-out, and break up every other movement prior to failure. While the goal is to get through as much of the workout as you can, if you burn out on any one movement early on, everything else is going to suffer because of it.

The most important set of double-unders will always be the last one that you’ll be able to complete. Get through the final 100 wherever you are to the best of your ability, so you don’t miss hitting that final tie-breaker time for yourself.

In terms of choosing which version of this workout to complete, if you care about your ranking, I think you should 100% do as much of it Rx’d as you can. If that means getting to the Ring Muscle-Ups in an absolute sprint and spending the rest of the workout staring at the rings, that’s what I’d recommend doing. Thousands of places will separate those who get stuck at a movement, but got to it faster than others.

After you get as far as you can and get stuck, you can redo the workout “for fun” with the Scaled options and see how far you can get. In my mind though, if you care about your ranking, doing even three double-unders in 14 minutes makes more sense than going scaled because you’re scared of overhead squats.

Double-Unders

The majority of the workout is spent here. You need to know yourself and understand what makes the most sense for you. If these are legitimately a really easy movement for you and you consider them the “rest,” then you should be really excited. Very few people are going to be able to get through these unbroken. Unfortunately, a lot of people are going to TRY to get through them unbroken because they think they can do three or four sets without stopping. A lot of those people are going to get so tired about halfway through the workout, that every other movement of theirs is going to suffer.

Be smart, rest on your own terms, keep your heart rate down and shoulders as relaxed as you can, and try your best to view these as your time to recover and regroup. Since there’s a tie-breaker after each set of double-unders, I think athletes should push hard and redline on their final set of jumps! Again, there will be THOUSANDS of athletes separated by tie-break times before the following movement. If you don’t have ring muscle-ups, I think the workout needs to be an absolute SPRINT to get to that movement. Finish the jumps as fast as possible, then spend the remainder of the workout trying your best to get one, or as many as you can. Same thing applies if you don’t have bar muscle-ups yet.

If time is potentially going to run out during a set of your double-unders, that’s also a time to absolutely go for it. I don’t care how tired your shoulders are, if you can complete that full set of 100 before the clock runs out, do EVERYTHING in your power to complete them before the buzzer. Otherwise, rest as needed and mess up as little as possible. Being able to complete nearly one hundred reps more than someone else in less than a minute will bump you up big time on the leaderboard. Also, have a second “back-up” rope nearby just in case.

Overhead Squats

If the weight is manageable for you, try to complete slower and comfortable reps and not drop the bar. Consider resting the bar on your back if you need a break if you can, just be sure to completely lock out the bar overhead before continuing onto your next rep. Eyes straight ahead, core tight, and reach that bar up to the sky. If the weight is heavy for you, don’t try to go unbroken, just complete smart sets with short rest between them. Only consider squat-snatching the first rep if you’re confident you’ll be able to catch it controlled and balanced. Otherwise, just power snatch, get set, and then start.

Dumbbell Snatches

Slow and steady wins the race here. If you can keep your heart rate down, and not fatigue the shoulders, just keep it moving. Aim to set the dumbbell down back between your legs a bit, so you can use your hammies and glutes to “swing” the weight overhead rather then pulling it straight up using your arms. Be sure to switch hands BELOW the top of your head to avoid any no-reps, and that both heads of the dumbbells touch the ground each rep. These will be more of a break than any other movement for a lot of people.

Rings AND Bar Muscle-Ups

For the most part, you’ll either have these, or you won’t. In my opinion, the worst thing to do is miss reps on either of these. Hop down from the rings or bar BEFORE you reach failure on either variation.

I can’t say this enough: “If you know that you won’t make it through either of these stations, GET TO THIS MOVEMENT AS FAST AS YOU CAN.” There will be THOUSANDS of people who get TO the muscle-ups, but complete zero (or only a few) of them. The faster you can get here, the faster your tie-break time will be, and the higher you’ll be ranked. And finally, just because you might be able to do a large set of these out of the gate, remember that there’s a lot of work left afterwards. Doing smaller sets with short rest will likely conserve more of your energy to keep you more fresh for everything else.

Good luck, have fun, I believe in you!

Here’s last week’s recap and my goals for the upcoming week.

Last week:

  • Fitness
    • The 2018 CrossFit Games Open is under way, so that means the next few weeks of training won’t be too productive. Unless my soul gets absolutely crushed, I’ll likely redo most of the workouts. It’s not because I think I’m going to Regionals, but because it’s always fun for me to see if I can beat my first score.
    • For workout 18.1, I retested and got 22 more reps the second time, so that was fun.
    • This week, I paced the first part of 18.2 too much, and got buried under the clean. I’m fairly confident I can go faster on 18.2, but literally don’t think my legs are strong enough to stand up with any more weight. Let’s just hope I don’t go faster on the first, and then crash and burn on the clean. I know quite a few people who had that happen!
  • Drywall in the garage is done! It only took 6 hours on Sunday, but we did it!

This week:

  • I plan to record my strategy video for the third workout of the 2018 CrossFit Games Open. People are still responding well to them, so yay!
  • This coming weekend, it would be great to start mounting the pegboard in the garage.

Alright, your turn. What’s going on with all of you?

The pic of the week comes from a little walk we took on Saturday. It may just look like a sunset over mall parking lot, but it’s more than that. In this moment, Em and I were having an incredible conversation about work, family, and life. The older I get, the more I cherish moments like these. I hope you all had a great weekend, too!

Sunday3-4-18.jpg

Week number one of the 2018 CrossFit Games Open is all but done, and excitement fills the air! Yet, thousands of people all over the world have already started to lose their minds. This happens EVERY year and it gets funnier and funnier to me each time. Here are three of the people you’ll run into over the next month as the competition continues to unfold!

Person Number One: The “Casual” Athlete

Excited1

“I don’t really care about the Open this year. I’m just going to do it for fun!”

Yet for some reason, immediately after completing the workout, they’ll obsess over the scores of people they know, comment that someone else got away with no-reps, and how this other person clearly lied to get that high of a score.

You know, sometimes people are just better. They may work harder, could be more naturally talented, and the movements selected may have just been more in their wheelhouse. Also… are there people who cheat and lie when submitting their Open scores? YES, of course! But what is you stressing out going to do about it? Nothing.

Person Number Two: The Failed “Non-Repeater”

Excited2

“This year, it’s all one-and-dones for me. No retests!”

This person also downplays how important the Open is to them, and does their first attempt either Thursday night right after the workout is released, or on Friday at some point to “get it out of the way.” They then go home and drive themselves crazy over that one time they set down the barbell when they shouldn’t have.

On Saturday or Sunday morning when they go to Open Gym to cheer on their friends, they decide they’ll just give this one workout another go. After a few more hours of leaderboarding that night, they head into the gym on Monday frustrated that they’ve dropped 1,500 more spots in the last 24 hours. Well…. maybe if they retested ONE MORE TIME at 4:50pm, they could squeak out a few more reps. This pattern repeats itself every week throughout the entire Open.

Person Number Three: The “Target”

Excited3

“I can’t believe they redid the workout just to beat my score.”

First of all, that might true. Especially in competitive gyms or regions where people throw down against one another week in and week out. And there’s nothing wrong with that. The Open is LITERALLY a competition! But most of the time, it’s not just about you. Sure, you may be a blip on the radar of someone who decides to retest, but there are probably a lot of other people they’re trying to take down, too! Don’t be upset that your buddy beat your score by 3 reps, be flattered that you pushed them enough to want to go again.

A few years ago, I used to train CrossFit two to three hours per day, five to six days per week. The sport was my life, and my primary goal was to try and qualify for Regionals. Unfortunately, I never accomplished that goal. These days, I work out three to five hours per week depending on availability in my work schedule. Whereas in the past, my motivation for retesting was to try and improve my ranking, these days it’s just fun to see if I can beat myself. I love the challenge of deconstructing my performance, and making up a more effective strategy to try and improve.

Today, I walked into the gym and didn’t want to do the workout that was programmed. After deciding that I thought I could beat my 18.1 score from my first attempt, I decided to retest. That’s all there was to it, and I was fine with my decision. I have stressed out approximately zero minutes about my ranking and simply wanted to give it another go. I would support almost any athlete who made the same decision, assuming their body felt up to the challenge. Just don’t do it if your hands are destroyed, your lower back is blown up, and if you’re motivated by anyone else. You’ll drive yourself crazy!

While I am all about people becoming competitive during this time of year, I never want your self-worth to be determined by your ranking in a random workout. If the Open makes you feel like Jessie Spano while spending two hours straight refreshing the leaderboard, take a deep breath, set your phone on the table, and go for a walk. Don’t pretend to be excited for this annual event, but secretly be a basket case. Just smile, do your best, and have fun. You are so much more than your Open ranking. I promise.

Happy 2018 CrossFit Games Open, everyone! It’s finally here!

The first workout (18.1) was released tonight, and for the SEVENTH year in a row, I’ve recorded my strategy video with my advice for the best way to attack it. First, let’s review the workout:

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To watch my strategy video, click below. Otherwise, I’ll summarize this workout in a few sentences below. Enjoy!

Toes To Bar

There are some people who can do 8 Toes To Bars unbroken all day long. Most athletes, however, cannot. If you know that 8 reps in a row isn’t sustainable for 8-12 rounds, I would recommend breaking them up from the start. Depending on the athlete, that could mean doing sets as 5 reps, short rest, 3 reps… or athletes who do quick singles or doubles. Knowing your own limitations will be key for this, and not relying on adrenaline of the first few rounds pushing you to come out swinging and then crash and burn.

Hang Clean and Jerks

Your motto during this movement should be “No Missed Reps!” Stand all the way up and pause before your first rep. Make sure the dumbbell touches your shoulder after the clean. Control the lockout overhead before lowering the weight from the jerk. There are so many chances to cut a rep short during this movement. Remind yourself that 20 minutes is a long time, and pace your effort and speed accordingly. Push Press may work great for 5 rounds, but if your arms are wrecked after that, are you confident enough with your technique to switch to confident Push Jerks? I hope so! If you’re strong enough, I think hanging onto the dumbbells for all 10 reps should be a goal throughout the entire workout, even if it means pausing with the dumbbell at your shoulders or at the hang for a few seconds.

Rowing

This movement will feel REALLY EASY the first few rounds, and you’ll be tempted to pull at a much higher power output than normal. Resist the urge! My advice here is to be powerful and efficient with your strokes (longer and stronger versus short and fast) in order to conserve energy and keep your heart rate down. Most men will likely average out somewhere in the 1050-1250 calories per hour range, while most women in the 850-1050 range. Remember, you’ll spend half of your time on the rower each round! If you’re gassed by round 4 from sprinting too hard, you’ll probably have a bad time for the second half of the workout. I’d rather you start slower and build as you go, versus crashing and burning.

At the end of the day, I think this is a really good first workout for the 2018 Open. It is really inclusive, and allows for a wide array of pacing strategies based on where our individual strengths may fall. Let me know what you think of this video, and I’d love to hear how it goes for you!