It is that time of year again where you get to put your fitness to the test! Whether your goals are Quarters, Semis, or the Games, if you are a competitor, you want to do your best. We all know the Open is a great test of physical fitness, but I think it is equally a test of mental toughness. You have to be willing to get uncomfortable to push yourself to do your best.
One thing that has always bothered me is when athletes say they are going to do an Open workout, and if it doesn’t go to plan, they will just redo it. That mentality is NOT a champion's mindset. Do you think that is the mindset of the athletes competing at the CrossFit Games? No!! You have to be able to deliver when it is time, the first time! The Open is the perfect opportunity to practice just that. Plus, you have the comfort of getting to do the workouts in your home gym, on equipment you use everyday. This is a huge advantage and takes many unknowns out of the equation.
One thing I would pride myself on was executing an Open workout the first time. (Well, except that one time that I didn’t alternate my feet on the top of the box so I had to redo the workout, but we won’t go into any more details there ;) I would always discuss strategy with Justin Cotler, my coach, and when we agreed on the proper way to attack the workout, it was go time. We would figure out rep schemes, movement strategies and techniques, rest periods, and equipment set up before I even started my warm up. I knew exactly what I was preparing myself for, which was a major reason for my success. I also think it is important to have someone (I always liked having Justin) there to keep you accountable especially in the middle and later parts of a workout where you have to embrace the pain and be smart.
This brings me to my next point. The reason you train so hard is so you are prepared when the time comes to show it off. Even if you know the Open isn’t going to make or break your season, you may still experience anxiety and nerves.. I always did! This is completely natural and understandable. It shows you care, that you have set goals and expectations for yourself. For example, I always wanted to do my best and be near the top of the leaderboard every Open. I worked hard every day in training to show myself and the world it didn’t matter what time of year it was, I was still one of the best. So while you may be nervous, trust all the hard work you’ve put in. Believe in your preparation because you are ready!
With that being said, I want to give you a few mental tips that helped me get through tough workouts. One thing Justin always told me that I’ll never forget is that “no workout lasts forever”. Yes it might hurt and you might be in pain, but it won’t last forever. This always helped me push through the hardest parts of workouts. I just accepted it was going to hurt and I took it upon myself to endure more pain than my competition. One phrase that I often said to myself during the toughest parts of a workout where quitting would cross my mind was, “This is where champions are made. I want to be a champion so it starts here by making the choice to keep pushing”. This constant pushing, embracing the pain, allowed me to have no regrets. We all have those workouts where you finish and you knew you could have pushed a little harder. This Open, I challenge you to give your best in each workout and have no regrets at the end of the three weeks!
When you are preparing to do the Open workouts this year, have a positive mindset and focus on the task at hand. Make sure you set yourself up for success from the minute you step into the gym until the second you finish the workout (also make sure you get in a good cooldown which will help with recovery which is a huge part of success, but we’ll discuss that in another piece!) Have a strategy and stick with it! Chances are doubt is going to creep into your mind at some point, but you have to be tough and endure if you want to be a champion!
The hard work is done. You are ready. Now it is time to execute. Go have some fun! I’m excited to see you on the leaderboard!