Here’s what you need to have your best CrossFit Open performance.

I’m a CrossFit athlete and a chiropractor. Here’s what you need to have your best CrossFit Open performance.

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The CrossFit® Games Open is upon us! This is the time to show off a year’s worth of progress and hard work, practice, and mindful eating. If you’re anything like me, this is your favorite 5 weeks of the year. This will be my 4th Open and my 3rd one being an official participant. Even though there are a ton of changes to the Open coming down the pipeline, it shouldn’t hinder your excitement! This is still the best opportunity to gauge your growth and progress from all the hard work you’ve been putting in for the last year. Be sure to officially sign up through CrossFit HQ so you can secure your spot on the Leaderboard.

There’s no way around it; these next 5 weeks are going to be tough. The workouts will challenge you to find gears you didn’t know you have and to perform movements you may not usually do – who else got their first muscle up in the Open? I did! In order to perform your best and to reduce your risk of injury, these 4 things will be key over the next few weeks.

1.       Sleep

Recovery happens when we rest. So much is said about sleep, yet everyone always says, “oh man, I could have used an extra hour this morning!” Well, now is the time to manage your rest. We recommend a solid 8 hours of sleep, especially the night before you plan on crushing a workout.

Limit screen time at least 2 hours before bed. I know, I know. I am just as addicted to the scroll as most people. The issue becomes the light that all our awesome screens emit – particularly the blue light – can negatively affect our sleep. Our brains are very good at picking up cues from the environment and when our brains sense blue light for hours on end, the signals to tell us “it’s bed time” get put on hold. Most smart phones and tablets now have a setting that automatically limits the amount of blue light emitted as the sun goes down. TVs don’t have the same setting, so I strongly recommend some blue light blocking glasses for two hours before bed. These are a good option on Amazon Prime for only $15.

2.       Nutrition

Your nutrition directly impacts your performance. Everyone has their own unique approach to nutrition and you probably shouldn’t make any drastic changes now. You don’t have to go full-on Paleo, but limiting the amount of processed, fried, and super greasy food that makes its way onto your plate is always a good idea. I love a greasy burger, but I will save that for after the Open. If you are a “one and done” person, go ahead and celebrate your workout afterwards with your gym friends over some tacos. If you plan on testing the workouts multiple times as I do, maybe consider saving the pizza until after these 5 weeks. Then go out and celebrate a job well done!

3.       Mobility

When’s the last time you took 15 minutes a day to foam roll, stretch, and stabilize your body outside of class? Most people have foam rollers and lacrosse balls laying around the home collecting dust or acting as dog toys. I get it – you’re busy and you already train an hour a day. The kids are calling, the dog needs walked, and somehow the apartment must get cleaned.

When it comes to mobility work, it pays to only do the things that will pay the highest dividends. Usually, that’s the lowest hanging fruit such as thoracic spine, ankles, and core stability. Here is a previous post on how to assess your own spinal mobility and here is another that gives you my own personal spinal routine which takes about 5 minutes and requires no equipment.

Sometimes mobility work requires some extra help. Got a spot that just won’t let go? Try some Active Release! Got a sticky joint? Perhaps an adjustment is in order! Don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional in your area for some extra help; that’s what we’re here for.

Of course, if you don’t need to improve your mobility in one area, it doesn’t make sense to keep working on it. That’s where I can help you dial in your recovery and mobility routines so that you’re not wasting your time and still improving your movement patterns. Click below to schedule a free consultation and let’s make a plan together!

4.       Mindset and goals

Look, 99.97% of us won’t make it to the Games, Sanctionals (sadly, Regional are gone this year), or Age Group Online Qualifiers. It sucks, but that’s the truth.  For the rest of us mortals, this is a time to revisit your “Why.” Why are you training as hard as you do? Why are you competing in the Open? I can’t answer that for you, but maybe you can answer for yourself. Take a few minutes to reflect on you why. It can help guide you while you’re in the Pain Cave that’s coming your way.

Instead of setting outcome-based goals such as wanting to be in the top x% of individuals worldwide, consider setting performance-based goals that only rely on your performance and not other people’s performances. Saying “I will maintain a row pace at or above 1,000 cal/hr no matter how gassed I am” or “I will complete each round of chest to bar in 3 sets” are much more in your control than saying “I need to beat Jimmy” in every workout. This puts the focus more on you and your performance rather than just comparing yourself to other people, which is a much healthier outlook in the long run.

 

Some small adjustments here and there will do wonders for your performance this year. Hopefully you have been working on your strict gymnastics work! Good luck in the Open this year and most importantly, HAVE FUN!