It's that time of year again- the Open is here! (You're signed up right?! If not, READ THIS). Whether you've done this a few times or it's your first time competing, it's important to feel your best and come prepared to conquer each workout. We've got you covered to help you perform at your absolute best this month! Check out our tips for the whole month, the day of your event, and recovery. And may the WODs be ever in your favor!
ALL MONTH LONG
EAT FOR PERFORMANCE
You know we're huge proponents of the DO YOU mindset when it comes to nutrition, fitness, and pretty much everything, actually. So instead of saying "eat this, not that", I just encourage you to closely monitor how food affects your body, mind, energy, recovery, performance, and more, during this time more than ever. Do your best to avoid the foods that you know affect you negatively (for most people that's things like gluten, dairy, industrial oils and/or alcohol, but your list could look way different). Feeling puffy or bloated is never fun, and it could really effect your performance in workouts, with body weight movements like pull-ups in particular, and sometimes it affects us mentally even more so than physically. We want you to feel light, fast, strong and mentally capable of anything Dave Castro throws at you, so be sure to eat like the athlete you are! Does this mean no treats for a month? Not at all! Keep your balance, just pay close attention and eat for feeling strong. (Curious about counting macros? Read this).
This might also be a good time to tinker with some supplements, if you're interested. BCAA's, creatine, glutamine and others are all great at helping your body perform and recover well, all while helping you grow those guns. For a run down on my personal supplement routine and recommendations, read this post.
DON'T SKIMP ON FOOD
This is not the time to be living on small salads and bone broth, mmkay? (Not like there's ever really a time for that anyway). You will need a lot of energy dense food to let your body run the way it needs to through the next month! If you worry about nothing else, be sure you're getting at least enough protein every day- and if you aren't really sure what that looks like, check this post here. You are likely also going to need an uptick in your carb consumption (carbs are your friend!), and as always, get in some healthy filling fats. Eat often and eat smart.
You'll want to be upping your water intake as well. Being well hydrated helps your body function at it's best and be as efficient as possible- all things that will help you perform. Aim for a gallon a day; If that's daunting, try getting it in from different sources, like tea, La Croix sparkling water, hot water with lemon, or even some coconut water!
Nothing does more for your body than sleep, period. Respect it! Do your best to get as much shut-eye as your individual body needs (anywhere from 7-9 hours for most people), and it will pay you dividends. You'll have more energy, recover faster, move quicker, think better, and generally feel like a rockstar- trust us on this.
Step up your mobility game this month to stay limber, loose, and fresh. Spend 10 or 15 minutes every day or every other day (don't only do it the day of the event!) foam rolling and stretching, and tending to any specific needs you may have (mild knee pain or pinched shoulder? Help it heal every day). Ask your coach or check out ROMWOD for a ton of short, do-anywhere stretching videos.
GO EASY IN THE GYM
Hold off on attempting PR's while you're in the Open month, but be sure to keep up gym attendance. You want to be fresh the day of your event, so take the day before (or two) off to allow your muscles to be ready, but it's still important to stay to a regular schedule- just take it a little easier than usual.
Take advantage of some of the wealth of knowledge available to you, by experts who analyze the Open events to help you find a strategy that works. Our favorites are Outlaw and Dave Spitz. Also, set a goal for each workout! Chat with your coach and figure out a realistic goal for you to hit in every event. Maybe it's making 5 rounds, or maybe it's achieving your first muscle up. Either way, it's important to go into the workout with your eyes set on a goal.
THE DAY OF
CARBS ARE YOUR FRIEND
Carbs help provide the energy your body needs to kick it up into high gear at a moment's notice, and they are also crucial to allowing your muscles to repair and heal after a grueling workout. Along with your nutrient dense meals of proteins and fats, be sure you're getting ample carbs during training time, and especially on the day of the event. Bananas, potatoes, starchy veggies, fruit, coconut water, rice, and other simple carbs, are all excellent sources of healthy carbohydrates that will do your body good.
We like to have a hit of carbs about 30 minutes before our workout as an extra boost of energy. Immediately following our workout, we do it again- either with a packet of baby food (yes, that's right), or some other pure carb, as it's absorbed easily and quickly into your body and can help replace depleted glycogen stores. Play around with a pre and post workout carb during your training time, and when you find what works best for you, utilize it the day of your Open event.
Your box will likely lead you through a warm up, but it is your responsibility to know if you are ready for your workout or not. Is that left quad still feeling tight? Allow yourself the extra time to tend to you individual needs as you get ready to head into the grueling event. Be aware of the movements that are asked of you for the event, and be sure your body feels ready to complete those best as possible. If we see double unders and box jumps, we will spend an extra ten minutes on ankle, achilles, and hamstring work- this time could be the line between injury and no injury, so be sure to listen to your body and prep it properly.
DON'T SWEAT IT
Whether you're a seasoned pro competing for a Regionals spot, or a newbie just competing because your coaches made you, your mental game is everything in this competition. Remember why you signed up- you're there for the challenge, the community, and to have fun! Don't be hard on yourself. The event has toes to bar, and you've never successfully gotten your toes to the bar before? Don't sweat it. Seriously. Just hop on the bar and give it a try! You might not make it, but it's ok- you're not the only one who can't perform every single movement in CrossFit. You also might just surprise yourself and hit a few PRs.. stranger things have happened! Remember to stay positive, be proud of everything you DID accomplish, and walk away with a new goal to conquer.
And if you find yourself comparing yourself to everyone else in your gym in a negative way, READ THIS.
Remember why you're doing this, and be sure to enjoy yourself! Stick around and cheer on your friends as they push themselves through, and enjoy the experience. Revel in the fact that you kick ass and even showed up to conquer these challenging WODs!!
EAT & DON'T DRINK
Immediately following your workout we highly suggest you have some sort of simple carb AND protein. Our favorite protein is PureWOD- but don't be afraid to bring in real food like leftover chicken and sweet potato to nom on right after your event! Your body will recover a lot more quickly if you can give it fuel to heal during the 20 minute metabolic window immediately following your workout. Oh, and drink some water too!
Although the temptation to go out for a celebratory drink to cheers to all your efforts, blood, sweat and tears that went into that 7 minute AMRAP will be strong- don't do it! Drinking will severely impair your body's ability to repair itself, and you will be broken the next day (or many days) because of it. Our advice is that if you feel like you really need a cocktail, wait for a day when you're not training or sore and only have one drink, or better yet; Hold off until the Open is over entirely. It will be that much more of a treat that way anyway!
MOBILIZE & STRETCH
Don't let that set of heavy deadlifts have you walking like The Hunchback for the next 4 days. Roll out those muscles!
The night after your event, along with a hearty, healthy, nutrient dense dinner, we suggest you climb in the tub with 2 cups of Epsom Salts to help soothe those sore muscles. Use that night and following day to really take extra good care of yourself. Rub arnica gel on your bruises, tend to your hands and calluses, take a curcumin and fish oil supplement to help inflammation, stretch, and of course, sleep. The faster you can recover the better, so that you're ready to go and feeling good by the time the next one rolls around!
When you've wrapped up that final event and it's all said and done, give yourself a reward for all your great work. Get a massage to help your body relax and recover, (now's the time to) go get a drink to two with some friends, go splurge on that gear you've been eyeing at Lulu for a while now, or go out to a special restaurant with your loved ones to celebrate yourself! You've worked hard and did your best, and that's ALWAYS something to be proud of.
Wishing you all the best of luck and loads of success this Open season!