The 2014 CrossFit Games Open is quickly approaching. For some, this news will send you into a tailspin of panic. Freak out. Throw stuff. It’s okay. We’ll get through this. It’s just exercise. Follow these simple guidelines and you’ll be happier, healthier and far more sane than your misguided gymmates.
A Carnival of Fitness
Whether this is your first year or your fourth of doing the Open, the main focus is to be level-headed throughout those 5 weeks. For 99% of us, there is no reason to do these workouts more than once. Just look at it as a friendly competition amongst your gymmates, the same as any other workout. The main reason to do the Open, and the main reason we do CrossFit in the first place, is for the community aspect. Getting fitter is great and all, but the people are what keeps us coming back.
The Open is a carnival of fitness where each week your local box is transformed into a mini competition. You will judge your friends. Your friends will judge you. And at the end of the workout we’ll all eat wings and drink adult beverages together. If you’re lucky maybe someone will treat you to a bottle of Old Smuggler. Booze and wings? Who wouldn’t want to do the Open?
Don’t Over-think It
You don’t need to strategize these workouts to death, or forego the rest of your training for 5 weeks to get two extra reps. What’s the point? It’s just one workout a week. It shouldn’t disrupt the rest of your training or your life. Hey, I like to geek out over the Fitness as much as the next guy, but I’m not calculating the number of seconds it will take me to do 5 shoulder-to-overheads with 135 lbs. Let’s pump the brakes here, people.
If you go that route what will most likely happen is that you’ll neglect your weekly strength and skill development and lose 5 weeks of training. It may not sound like much, but you can lose a good chunk of strength in 5 weeks, and if you’re new to the Fitness that’s the time when PRs are happening by the week. Take advantage of that time because it won’t last forever.
The 80/80 Approach
I’ve written before about finding your 80% and cruising through a workout at that rate of exertion. If you want to kick things up a notch in a competition setting you can take an 80/80 approach. Go at 80% for the first 80% of the workout, and then go the full 100% effort for the last 20% of the workout. So, if the workout is a 10-minute AMRAP, for the first 8 minutes you would go at an 80% effort. Then, for the last 2 minutes you find that extra gear and go at a 100% of your abilities. This is a much more practical approach and it helps to alleviate the First Round Freak Out.
You’re Not Going to Regionals
Let’s be honest with ourselves. If your first day of walking into a CrossFit gym didn’t involve you destroying everyone in the workout, you’re probably not going to make it to Regionals. Ever. That’s not to say that you couldn’t work really hard, get really strong and technically sound, be willing to suffer more than everyone else, and then maybe eventually earn a spot. But the deck is kind of stacked against you.
Don’t be sad if your dreams of making it to Regionals have just been crushed. That just means you had a normal childhood and your parents hugged you. Be happy about that.
Enjoy the Open. Wings and booze for everyone!