Whether you’re new to the community, a few months to a year into CrossFit, or a competitive athlete, we are all aware that the best time of the year is coming up. With the CrossFit Open 2017 just around the corner, the excitement and pressure within boxes worldwide are gradually rising. Some of us are just clueless of what to expect, some are grinding through training sessions day in and day out; and to some, they might just want to experience what the Open is actually like.
Training for the Open depends on the different goals of individuals. From missing out on the season last year, my objective for the Open this year is to finally see where I can place amongst the top individual women in Asia and the world. It has made me hungrier to put my mental game and fitness capability into test and also, grind to earn a spot at CFTP’s Regionals team.
My training consists of three main things: maximising my power output, engine development, and gradually increasing the volume and efficiency of my gymnastics. Recovering from my recent shoulder injury, my sessions also incorporate scapular and rotator cuff maintenance along with functional bodybuilding to consistently build and perpetuate a bulletproof foundational base.
Despite the many elements of my training, one of the main priorities for every Open season is to have a great engine, which can be improved through conditioning. These sessions vary day to day, however, I utilise a lot of short repeatable sets to recognise my pacing in workouts and thus, understand more on how I can further improve.
If you’re not a competitive CrossFitter, but have done the Open before and are looking to improve for the upcoming season, you should look into your weaknesses and how you can make them your strengths. Once you are aware, reach out to the coaches at your box for help. Focus on these weaknesses to become better at them! In addition, also keep your conditioning sessions in your training to maintain the engine.
If you’re completely new to CrossFit, and eager to see what the Open is all about: just KEEP SHOWING UP! Know more about CrossFit and the Open by coming to a CrossFit class, asking someone about his/her experience, or even just read about it online. At the end of the day, the Open is all about the amazing environment you will be in and that you are having fun, no matter if you’re a competitive athlete or a newbie.
Nutrition and recovery
A successful and productive training program cannot be done without proper nutrition and recovery. My nutrition is solely based on meeting my calorie intake and macronutrients (carbs, proteins, and fats) daily. Tracking my macros has helped me a lot as it shows how much food to consume for my body to perform the best it can. I am gradually increasing my carbohydrate intake to ensure full energy levels throughout this season. On top of my macros, meal timing is critical for optimal fuel and recovery. Additionally, I supplement with whey protein, BCAAs, Omegas, glucosamine, and multivitamins.
If you’re a competitive CrossFitter or aspiring to be one, you should prioritise and focus on how your nutrition affects your performance. Monitor your energy levels throughout the day, check whether you are recovering from your sessions, and consume more food and calories if you are increasing your training. As we get closer to the Open, there are some individuals who develop stress and anxiety which may lead to a loss of appetite and not have their nutrition in check. Always ensure that this is avoided by prioritising your nutrition and recovery along with your training.
Nutrition for newcomers and beginners should be simple yet effective. Same like the above, you should be eating enough so that you have the energy to train and the ability to recover. Have a balanced meal with the right choices of carbohydrates, protein, and fats. And always remember to listen to your body! On top of all the nutrition for different individuals, it is critical to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep every day to help with recovery.
For the newcomers of the CrossFit community, the Open is all about having fun and getting an idea of what the community is all about. Be open-minded and approach the weeks of the Open with enthusiasm and positivity. Don’t be too caught up with a perceived bad score and being sucked into multiple re-dos. Learn from the experience and focus on the following week.
Working on getting your mental game stronger is not the easiest thing to do. From the past experiences I’ve had, anything can be affected by your mentality. “Whatever is going on inside your head has everything to do in how well you end up performing” (D.C. Gonzalez, The Art of Mental Training). As the Open is a big part to a lot of us who are competitive in this sport, our attitude and mentality this season should always be positive. From aspiring athletes to the competitive, learn to visualise what you want to achieve. With a positive attitude, we have the ability to give 100% and develop self-belief that no matter what the outcome is, you are already in the position of victory.
Our attitude now, throughout training, at the Open, and towards the outcome of the Open differentiates the good and the great. You are the only one who can control and decide how to turn things around in your head.
Throughout this season, no matter what your goals are, no matter how rough training sessions can be, one thing to always remember is: enjoy every minute of it. Keep showing up, surround yourself with positive people and just have fun!