Posts Tagged ‘The Open’

It’s almost here, everyone! One week from today the first workout of the 2018 CrossFit Games Open is released. What does that mean for you? Well, here’s a quick list of 5 things you can do to make sure you’re ready for week number one!

1- Start training!

With only 7 days to go, now is probably a good time to get into the gym and start training for this year’s Open! 🙂

2- Take care of your body

I know what you’re thinking, and yes, we’re all busy. Sometimes we don’t drink enough water or get enough rest, but if the Open is really important to you, you need to make taking care of yourself for the next few weeks of a top priority. Since you’ll likely be pushing harder on these workouts, your body will need a little bit more TLC to recover properly.

3- Establish your “Event Ritual” ahead of time

For most gyms, Open WODs will be run a lot like regular CrossFit classes. Coach explains the workout, runs athletes through a general warm-up, then allows time for set-up, finding judges, etc. If you know you’ll want a little bit more time than that to get your mind and body right, plan for it ahead of time. Do you have a slew of pre- and post-workout supplements you take? Figure out how to organize them as efficiently as possible so you’re not distracted before an event trying to find your BCAA’s through a sea of people.

Some people show up early and stay late to cheer for their friends, and I love that about the Open! Keep in mind that you can use that time to be productive, too! Sit on a lacrosse ball to loosen up your hammies, attach a band to the rig and warm up your shoulders while your friends row. You can simultaneously help them and prepare yourself for when it’s your turn to throw down!

4- Breathe.

Hey you! We’re working out for fun, and none of this matters. And I mean that in the most sincere way possible! Relax.

5- Be a good person

You know number “4” above? The one reminding you to breathe? If you’re not one of those people that freaks out over these workouts, you’ll at least see a bunch of them start to creep up over the next five weeks. My advice is to be overly supportive to those around you. Some people need a pep talk before their heat. Others want to be left alone. Some will want a shoulder to lean on after they’re done. Be aware of what’s going on around you, ask people what you can do for them, and then do that thing! It makes the community so much stronger when groups of people just want to help one another.

One week until the madness starts.

And for the other half of you, only five weeks until it’s all over!

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I just registered for my seventh consecutive CrossFit Games Open. Over the last few weeks several people have asked me if I was going to sign up or not, and that question always stirs up these weird emotions. While I haven’t “trained for The Open” in over three years, in my mind registering for this online competition is just a given. I’m not trying to beat anyone, I’m not expecting to place well, but it’s just become a part of what I do.

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It’s not every day that we get to say we’ve been associated with something since the very beginning, but “The Open” is one of those things for me. I clearly remember the first CrossFit competition I ever did (the 2010 Mountain Sectionals), I remember my first year watching the CrossFit Games live-streamed from the Ranch all weekend long and not living leaving the house a single time, and I remember the first time we had to register online for this crazy thing. Somehow, this sport and community of ours continues to grow, and it doesn’t even cross my mind to not cough over $20 every year and throw down with the rest of you.

So as another year passes, my training goals shift yet again, and life continues to change on so many levels, I find myself preparing to join over a quarter of a million people worldwide to put our fitness to the test yet again. Here’s to keeping the streak of consecutive Open participation alive. Good luck to each and every one of you, and I’ll see you on the leaderboard!

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There are five workouts per year where it really helps to be a positive person for those around you. Five. Those are the five workouts of the CrossFit Games Open, where your whole gym comes together to root a little harder for one another than they do the other 360 days of the year. (I feel like they should, at least…)

For some people, this is the most nervous they’ll get for any CrossFit workout. They put tons of undue and unnecessary pressure on themselves, they want to keep up with their friends, and the thought of getting their first “insert movement here” keeps them up at night. I have written other posts, and will likely write more in the future about how this pressure is mostly unnecessary, and pretty unhealthy to be honest… BUT, it still happens. Knowing that, the best thing we can do for one another is provide unconditional encouragement and support.

If you’re someone like me, it’s really easy to cheer for others. I legitimately get more excited seeing others succeed than I do for my own performance. My problem is keeping the pressure on myself to a minimum. What that typically looks like is me sitting alone for a while before events, and then recovering on my own afterwards. While that’s my own way of trying to keep it together, there are other people who are much more vocal and public with their negative emotions before working out. While I might tell myself that “this is going to suck,” or “I’m not good at x or y,” talking like that out loud can really impact others. Your energy can always be felt in the gym, and if you come in spouting negativity and being a crybaby, that will very likely spread to those around you.

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Like I said, I always try to be positive to others, but have a hard time speaking positively to and about myself in these competitive circumstances. Don’t be like me. We’re working out. For fun. With friends. If a workout looks really tough or has movements you’re not proficient doing, use it as a learning opportunity. Make a list of things you want to improve for next year. There are so many ways to channel negative or anxious energy into productive growth.

So when the first workout is released on that Thursday night, try to check yourself right out of the gate. Is it going to hurt? Yep, probably. Will you be nervous going into it? Maybe, and that’s fine. But through all of that, walk in the front door fired up to push yourself, throw down with your friends, and ENCOURAGE those around you. If you have a hard time feeling positive, fake it till you make it! Being the best cheerleader out there and empowering others will have a far more positive impact on your community than you winning an event at the gym, anyways. You’ve got this. Let’s have some fun together!

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

Last week:

  • Fitness- Thursday we hit a Sumo deadlift for the first time in months. I hit 420lbs for a triple. Other than that, had some decent workouts, but nothing to write home about.
  • Missed one goal AGAIN from last week, and STILL didn’t make time to finish the book I’ve been reading. I did, however, read 50 more pages. That makes more than I’ve read in the last few months. So progress, but still not where I want to be. The good news is that I haven’t been reading because I’ve been getting to sleep earlier every night!
  • Went grocery shopping, grilled, and prepped food for a few hours tonight. So between making some salads and rice bowls, I should be good to go on most meals!
  • Spent almost 3 hours working in the garage with Em and put up a good chunk of our drywall. Two more weekends where we decide to work, and the walls of the garage should be done!

This week:

  • Write one “The 2018 Open is Coming” post
  • I WILL NOT finish the book I started by next Sunday and write a brief summary (Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual by Jacko Willink) – Trying a little reverse psychology on myself!
  • Go on a run ONE day this week. The goal is at least 3 miles, and I’m not going to sprint. Just get back outside as the weather starts to warm up a bit again.
  • I’d love to write a post talking about the Swim Lessons I give, why they’re so rewarding for me, and why you should let me know if you’d like some!

Alright, your turn. What’s going on out there?

A lot of people claim to not be very competitive in the gym. Sometimes those same people register for the CrossFit Open and immediately turn into absolute psychopaths! What do I mean? Well, our sport created a verb that describes an action taken by thousands of humans all over the world for a 5 week period each year.

That word: Leaderboarding

What in the world is leaderboarding, you ask? It’s the absolute obsession with knowing the current rankings of an athlete/athletes throughout course of the Open. “Can you use it in a sentence, please?” Yes, I can. My company lost 40+ hours of productivity out of me over the last month because I spent almost all day every Monday leaderboarding by just hitting refresh on the my internet browser so I could watch my worldwide ranking drop by the second. Leaderboarding.

Why is this an obsession for so many of us? I think there’s a few reasons:

  1. It’s crazy to put into perspective just how many people play this little game we love called CrossFit. When over a quarter of a million people sign up to do the Open, and you know that likely doesn’t represent even close to a quarter of the people who CrossFit and just don’t sign up the event, it really makes us realize that this thing people called a fad nearly a decade ago, is still very much around. Being a part of that community is pretty cool.
  2. You’re just dying to know how you stack up in your state, your country, the world! Does it really mean anything to know that on workout 18.3 you were the 29,537th best person who registered for the Open? No. But it’s still really cool to know for some reason!
  3. Competing against your friends can be really fun! The CrossFit Open is the only competition I’ve found each year where you can go head to head with friends in your gym, and friends all over the world at the same time. I still haven’t found another at this scale that allows for real-time ranking and updating of results for so many fun events.
  4. This is my least favorite reason, but perhaps the most accurate explanation as to why a lot of people really leaderboard… to get justification that they are “better than” certain people, or be given fuel to add to the fire as to how they know other people aren’t as good as they claim to be. A score that’s better than yours gets posted by someone you beat day in and day out at your gym. An athlete you competed with last summer at a local event who couldn’t clean 225lbs, suddenly posts a new 1RM of 355lbs. You do a dry run of 1 round of the workout with no weight at all, and the score you see posted by another athlete is 2 minutes faster per round and they also used a heavy kettlebell. Did they cheat? They must have. Steroids? Yep, probably. A judge who counted every single one of their no-reps because it’s their best friend? You bet that’s what happened.

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It can be infuriating to work really hard to perform well during the Open, and then feel deflated because of reason “x, y, or z”. As the most intense few weeks of CrossFit for most of the world approaches, all I can do is ask you to take a breath and relax. Unfortunately, there will always be people who try to bend the rules for their own gain. There will always be athletes, gym owners, and judges who think that submitting a score that isn’t legitimate is alright for some reason. But here’s the thing to remember: There is literally nothing we can do to change them. 

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My advice for you is simple. Enjoy the Open. Check how you stack up against the rest of the world for five fun workouts. Hey, click refresh a few dozen times, I know I will. The only that I ask of you, is that you don’t obsess over your ranking. Don’t lose sleep because of another person’s results. And the most important message I hope you take to heart: Don’t ever associate your self-worth as a human being with how you rank in a fun exercise race competition. We’re all so much more than that.

Put on your blinders, get to work, and have some fun!

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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!

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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Week 2 of the 2016 CrossFit Games Open is here! After watching the video for the 16.2 Workout Reveal, I was pretty floored by watching those guys get after it. Obviously most of us know how much of a beast Dan Bailey is after watching him at the Games for the last few years, but even then I never would have expected him to get through the entire thing in 20 minutes! (I know there was the “missed rep” debacle after the live show, but I’m just saying I didn’t think that 275 and 315 pounds would look that light to those guys!)

Strategy on this one, for me, is going to boil down to knowing your own ability level on Toes to Bar and Double-Unders. In my mind, those are two movements where being proficient can be an absolute game changer. Just because an athlete CAN do 25 reps of TTB in row, does NOT mean that they SHOULD do 25 reps in a row. Once your TTB fatigue your grip and/or your core, sets of 10-15+ will very quickly become sets of 2-3 reps. It is not worth crashing and burning that hard for that movement.

For athletes who have controlled kips, and can get through reps smoothly, I think sets of 5-10 will be best to try and maintain throughout the entire workout. Remember, hopping down off of the bar, turning around, chalking up, hopping back up, can all take a MINIMUM of 5-10 seconds every time. The smoother those transitions can be, the easier it will be to make it through to the next round.

I feel the same way about DUs. Just because an athlete CAN do 50 in a row, if it’s going to take so much out of them that on the next round, they mess up every 5-6 jumps because they’re so tired, 50 in a row wasn’t worth it. While in my video I emphasize the importance of getting to that tie-breaker as quickly as possible, unless time in the round is about to expire, I don’t think it should be at the expense of absolutely crushing your pace.

Remember, after all of that jumping rope, you need to pick up a heavy bar, quite a few times. So, if fatigue starts to set in by the 20th or 30th rep of DU, take a short rest, regroup, then finish the set. That will minimize the time needed to feel prepared to attack that next set of cleans.

In my opinion, the longest rest of the round should be taken after completing the final clean, and before the first TTB. If an athlete rushes back to the TTB too soon, they’ll likely get far fewer reps before needing to jump down. Remember, every time you hop off of the bar, it’s probably going to take 5 seconds to get back on. So, sets of 5-7 reps will be far more efficient than having to hop down every 2-3. Take your time, and make sure you’re getting slightly larger sets before having to hop down as long as your kip is solid.

Truthfully, unlike 15.1 last year, I don’t really see this as being a workout where TOO many people will PR and hit a weight for the first time and keep repeating. However, given how the tiebreaker is set up, I do think that the folks who move through the other movements (TTB and DU) as smoothly as possible, will have a big advantage over their counterparts who come out swinging and just can’t hold on.

I feel the breaking point for “regular” people 🙂 on this one will be the round of 225lb squat cleans for men and 145lb for ladies. The athletes who can cycle through consistent singles and keep their breathing under control will pass the folks who get too excited and try to hit 3-5 reps of touch-and-go through the first few sets. Athletes who make it through the round of 225 will have a HUGE advantage. If time is getting close to capping during that 4th round, athletes will be able to go harder with their final sets. Remember, if toes to bar get completed, the reps added to the score due to double-unders at the end are significant! Get to that final tie-break as quickly as possible on the last round!

Have fun, and as always, please let me know if you guys found this helpful!

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!