Posts Tagged ‘The Open is coming’

If there’s one thing CrossFitters love, it’s buying new gear. Twelve pairs of shoes? Of course. Wrist wraps in every color of the rainbow? Yep. Headbands to match the Stance socks you choose for the day? Uh huh. That cute t-shirt with the clever saying that makes you laugh every time you read it? Well, I mean… it IS true that “Burpees hate you too”, so….

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With the 2018 CrossFit Games Open quickly approaching, it gives athletes the PERFECT excuse, rather opportunity, to step up their fresh and deck out their WOD gear! I’m pretty sure the Nano 412’s are gonna be released soon, and if you want to make your Toes to Bar a little easier, I think you know which kicks to pick up!

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All jokes aside though, if you’re planning on upgrading any of your gear before the Open, the time is now. Finding a jump rope that you like can be a process. There’s nothing worse than showing up on Game Day still not knowing if you really like the rope in your hands. If you buy new shoes, it can take a few days or weeks to break them in. Are you going to experiment with working out with a belt on for the first time, or finally pick up a pair of those gymnastics wraps? Practice with them over the next few weeks first, so that by the Open you’ll know what you do or don’t like.

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Photo cred: WireCutter.com

When it comes to fashion, anytime is a good time to rock that new shirt or sports bra. But when it comes to function, I highly encourage you to take your time and accumulate gear that you really like, and helps you perform at your best! Quality over quantity. When it’s all said and done, if you start now, your squad will be looking like these two for workout 18.1! Happy Shopping!

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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 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!