Posts Tagged ‘Life After The Open’

The first installment (Life After The Open (Part 1)) in a series of posts I started last week began by explaining how each year immediately following the CrossFit Games Open, thousands of athletes around the globe find themselves with a renewed sense of motivation to improve their performance in this crazy “sport” of ours. I aimed to suggest a few ways 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 three positive things that could be learned from their personal experience this year. These could be specific accomplishments to celebrate like a first pull-up or linked double-unders, or weaknesses that were exposed, allowing athletes a full year’s time to improve them before next spring.

Today, I’m going to provide a few of my favorite resources that you can use as you work to actually develop your personalized training plan for the next year! This page is designed to provide inspiration, instruction, or that one cue to help that movement *click* for one of your athletes!

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I’ll break down my recommendations into a few categories: CrossFit/General Fitness, Barbell Movements, Gymnastics, and Treatment/Recovery/Other

  • CrossFit/General Fitness
    • The CrossFit Journal– This is CrossFit.com’s main information library. While it costs $50 per year to subscribe and get full access, if you’re a CrossFit/Movement/Performance nerd or newbie, there are hundreds of thousands of hours of amazing content on this website. Articles, Videos, How-To’s, and so much more. If you don’t want to pay, there is still a lot of free information. Check it out, please!
    • The CrossFit Invictus Blog– C.J. Martin has been in the CrossFit game for a long time, and is one of the most highly-regarded coaches in the sport. Look through their blog for a lot of great advice on how to be a better athlete!
  • Barbell Movements
    • Catalyst Athletics Exercise Library– Our sport has a lot of different movements for athletes to learn. It can be really hard to hear “High Hang Squat Snatch into Snatch Balance into Overhead Squat” and have no idea what that means. Not only does this robust library include videos of each movement, it even features lots of ab, core, and accessory movements. It’s one of the best sites out there in my opinion.
  • Gymnastics
    • CrossFit Gymnastics– The official site for CrossFit’s gymnastics training courses with so many videos included on how to learn progressions for so many movements; from pistols to muscle ups to handstand push-ups.
    • GymnasticsWOD.com– Anyone who has done CrossFit for more than a few years knows (and is probably partly in love with) Carl Paoli. In my opinion, the amount of content he’s got on this website rivals that of the Catalyst Athletic team. Check it out!
    • Power Monkey Fitness– Probably my favorite resource for instructional videos on how to move one’s body safely and effectively. Please look through this archive of free videos when you have some time!
  • Treatment/Recovery/Other
    • MobilityWOD.com– Kelly Starrett is the “Godfather” of proper movement in the CrossFit world, and beyond. Although also requires a paid subscription these days, the website claims to be “the world’s most comprehensive database of guided movement, mechanics, mobility instruction.” So yeah, maybe don’t buy every version of every Nano or Metcon that comes out, and invest the $100/year in a basically never-ending library of corrective movement self-help and education! While it may not have nearly as much content, the free stuff on the MobilityWOD Instagram page is also awesome!
    • ROMWOD.com– ROMWOD is the first-ever “CrossFit-specific” company that recorded full-length mobility and recovery “workouts” that viewers could follow from the comfort of their home or gym. Yes, it also requires a subscription, but everyone I know who has paid swears by the videos.
    • Here are a few other Instagram profiles I follow that produce great content: Squat University (squat mobility/positioning),  CarterGood (nutrition), Joe Therapy (muscle release and stretching videos)

I could sit here for hours and link to every resource I’ve ever found, but this is a great start to help athletes of all ability levels move better and take better care of their bodies. Now that you you’ve got these resources at your fingertips, go put them to use! 

Feel free to share some of your favorite sites/profiles. Let’s help each other. Happy learning, friends!

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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.

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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!

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!