What you can and should control during the 2018 CrossFit Open to maximize your performance

There’s no denying it: the CrossFit Open can be stressful. As much fun as we have, there’s always (no matter how many times you’ve been through this) nerves. We stress about the endless possibilities for the workout movements, then after the release, we constantly think about different strategies and obsess over how best to perform the workout or how much it’s going to hurt. We all know the workouts are going to hurt, we know they’re going to mentally and physically push us more than in training and we know that it is definitely not going to be easy. However, the whole experience can be a lot less stressful if we stop worry about the things we CANNOT control (workouts, leaderboard etc.) and instead focus all of our energy to those things that we CAN control.
The biggest and most important thing we can control over these next 5 weeks, aside from our mindset, is recovery. The intensity inherent in the Open puts more stress on our bodies than most of us are used to. Therefore, it is essential that we, as athletes, take care of our bodies, before and after every workout, to maximize performance. This includes (but is not limited to) getting enough good quality sleep, drinking water, eating properly, and stretching. With these domains under control, we can be sure that we’ve created the best environment for success – all you must do is go out there and give it your best shot!

What exactly does “eating properly” mean? Getting more sleep, drinking more water and stretching are simple and straightforward instructions to follow. You know exactly what is being asked of you and what you should do. However, “proper nutrition” can be somewhat ambiguous, so it helps to consult with a coach to make sure that you are eating enough and the right kind of food to optimize performance and recovery.

Don’t have access to a coach?

Here are 6 tips that will help you optimize performance on game day:

1.       Hydrate

  • For some people, this may not be their usual “workout” time, so make sure that you give yourself enough time before you workout to drink water. Have water with your breakfast (especially if you’re a coffee drinker) and make sure to bring a water bottle with you to the gym! 

2.       Give yourself ample time to digest

  • Don’t sleep so much that you have to rush out of the door to make your heat time. Give yourself plenty of time in the morning to wake up, eat and digest. We recommend giving yourself at least 2 hours to digest your meal before training.
  • ​We can appreciate that everyone is different, and you may have a different schedule that works for you. However, we don’t recommend shoveling food down 30 mins before you workout…you’ll likely quickly lose your mojo + your breakfast.

3.       Keep your routine the same

  • This is not the time to be trying new food items or meals. The last thing you want is an upset stomach. Keep your routine and meals the same with a few modifications (read below), especially before working out. 

4.       Prioritize carbohydrates

  • Relative to protein and fats, carbs offer the most accessible source of energy to fuel your training and help with recovery.
  • Fats don’t appear to improve nor diminish sport performance. Since they take more time for your body to digest and get useful energy from, fill your belly with carbs instead. On game day, don’t worry about hitting your fat targets, prioritize carbs.
  • Incorporate protein into your pre and post-exercise meals too. Protein floods your bloodstream with amino acids when your body needs them the most to boost your muscle-building and recovery capabilities.
  • Your pre-exercise meal should include carb-dense foods. Some examples include fruits and oatmeal.
  • If you’re looking for a snack close to your workout or find you are low energy, grab a simple, healthy carb. Fruits are great for this, as well as baby food – both are easy to digest. Avoid snacking on high fat foods close to your workout (nuts, peanut butter) as these will just take up space in your stomach and not give you the instant energy you want/need to perform!

5.       Listen to your body

  • When its all said and done, listen to what your body is telling you. If you’re too full to finish your meal, save some for later. If you’re hungry after you’ve eaten, munch on something else.
  • Even though the Open is just one workout, with everything else that comes along with it, our body is put under more stress than we are used to. So, you need to make sure you are in-tune with what your body is trying to tell you.

6.       Think positive thoughts

  • What you do during the open will not affect your life; how you do in the open will not affect your income, your relationships or your career.
  • Have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously! Remind yourself why you continue to do this. Take the pressure off of yourself – you’ve done all you can to prepare.
  • Have fun and enjoy the ride! The 2018 CrossFit Open only comes around once.

Remember that everyone is different and if something isn’t working for you, don’t keep doing it. How you feel and perform are you biggest indicators for what is working and what isn’t. If you didn’t feel your best the first week, change something. Alternatively, if you felt great, keep doing that! We love structure and routine, so try and find yours and then stick to it!

Remember why you started.
Trust the process.
Enjoy the journey.
Celebrate every success.

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