By: Head Coach Marcel Mandagaran
A lot of you that are participating in your first open this year. This is so awesome. Congrats on stepping out of your comfort zone. That’s what CrossFit is all about—getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. That’s when the body and mind must adapt and you’ll become a bigger, better version of yourself.
I remember my first year being full of excitement, but it also made me very anxious. Too anxious, to the point where my workouts had me flopping around like fish after. My first 3 years were like that. I would search for all the best tips and tricks for my Open WODs, the best foods to eat before, the best warm ups, best strategies and all that jazz, which was an ubnormal part of my routine. I thought it would help get me the best possible score when in reality, it only made things worse.
I’d get more nervous throughout the day, eat things my body wasn’t used to, and try these awkward fancy warm ups not suitable for me. When it came time for the event, I was so amped up, full of adrenaline, I would shoot right out of the gate, either completely abandoning my game plan or trying PLAYER ONE’s game plan (a game plan I had no business following), and 5 minutes into the workout, more like 3 min—L-O-L, I would run into that dreaded brick wall, only to live on a prayer the rest of the workout. And when it was over, I’d fish-flop on the floor, eyes rolling back into my head thinking to myself, “well that didn’t go as planned”. #TrueStory
This year will be my 6th year in the Open. Excitement is still there. My wife calls it my favorite time of the year, which it is. But now, I approach things differently. If you guys haven’t notice, we have basically been training for this Open all year. So, you… we are already prepared. It really is “just another workout”, but only a lot more fun, with all your friends and family cheering you on.
Here is some advice to follow on these next 4 weeks of the open:
Hopefully, by now, all of you are consistently eating clean nutrition. If not, we can help you with that. You cannot perform well with a poor diet, nor can you out-train a bad diet. If you are eating well, eat exactly like you do everyday. I pretty much eat the exact same breakfast at the exact same time, every day, since I know exactly what I am putting into my body giving me the right fuel to crush a workout later that day. If you’re new to the clean eating, track it, with an app or a good ol’ pen to paper diary. Also, track how you felt during your workouts throughout the week. If you killed a workout on Wednesday night you probably should eat what you ate that day.
As you know, nutrition isn’t the only part of performing at the highest level. You need PROPER sleep. Your sleeping patterns should also stay consistent throughout the week. We recommend 6-8 hours every night. Once again everyone is different. I feel my best with about 7 hours. Since I know poor sleep and not enough sleep will negatively affect my workout performance, I go to sleep at the same time every night and get same hours of sleep every night. This pattern is obvious by now right—ROUTINE, ROUTINE, ROUTINE.
Lastly… TRAINING. Take a rest day on Wednesday or Thursday being that FNL is obviously on Friday. Here again, everyone is different. You need to learn to listen to your body. My advice is, 5 days straight of high Intensity training is too much for 99% of people to handle, myself included. I follow the old school CrossFit model of 3 days on, 1 day off. So, if you have crushed the gym Monday through Thursday, I can almost guarantee, you will not perform at your best come Friday night. Now, I know most of you don’t have the luxury of following the 3 on, 1off, and we love having all of you in the gym as many days as possible, so here’s what you can do…
When you start to feel run down, like around Wednesday or Thursday, come in to the gym and “just cruise” as I like to call it. Light weight, low intensity. Perfect time to really focus on moving well. Call it an active recovery day. Roll out!!! (as Ludacris would say) and stretch really good before bed. Your body will be hungry for a workout come Friday night.
It’s difficult for me not to go down a few rabbit holes on these topics, but I love sharing this knowledge. In short, ROUTINE is the key to performing at your best. Oh, and NEWS FLASH—and key to good health in general. Eat the same, sleep the same, train smart, and if you’re not sure about pacing or strategies… ask a coach, we will be more then happy to give you some advice, as we see you everyday in the gym and have a pretty good idea of what you can and can’t handle.
I read somewhere, “the nerves you are feeling before the workout are normal. It’s just like opening a present on Christmas. The brain doesn’t know the difference, it just knows something awesome is about to happen.” Okay, I paraphrased that but you get the idea.
So… RELAX and just enjoy the process. Let’s have some fun these next 4 weeks.
Here’s to not fish flopping—cheers,