Here are 5 tips for a successful (and FUN!) CrossFit Open from Elite CrossFit Athlete, Maddy Curley. Maddy is a coach/athlete at CrossFit Horsepower in Los Angeles. She competed in the Team Division at the CrossFit Games in Carson, CA three times. In 2012 Maddy finished 11th in the World in the CrossFit Open and she is part of the CrossFit Seminar Staff. So yea... listen up...
If you are like me, all you think about during the Open is every possible way to do the workout and you drive yourself crazy. You dream about it every night and lose sleep over it. And for what? Lack of sleep makes you tired, crave sugar and usually cranky with your friends. And you definitely want your friends around cheering for you. So...how to combat that? Read something non CrossFit related before bed, take magnesium (it works!), and most importantly, DO NOT check your Instagram feed. You know you follow CrossFitters doing the Open too. ;)
2. Do the workouts with other people.
Friends do not let friends do Open workouts alone. It's like blowing out your birthday candles by yourself. Don't do it. Do it during class, during your gym's Open festivities, or ask your four favorite friends to come watch and cheer. But what if you're traveling? ...I travel a lot and I've done several Open workouts at other gyms, but I ALWAYS make sure to go to a gym that has the Open WOD scheduled that day. It makes life better and usually people are even more excited to cheer on a stranger. You'll have fun cheering for them too.
3. Decide if "leaderboarding" is right for you.
In 2012, I was 11th in the World in the Open. I checked the leaderboard constantly and did every workout twice. It worked. It also was the ONLY thing I thought about for six weeks. (It was six weeks long back then.) In 2013, I dreaded the Open coming because I knew I what crazy lengths I had gone through to make sure I placed well. Pat Sherwood gave me the idea to not check the leaderboard at all or to only check my custom leaderboard with people who's scores I really wanted to see. I didn't place as high, but I would say my mental health felt much better and I still qualified as an individual to regionals. If it makes you crazy, get away from looking at it. Let a friend or a coach tell you if you really NEED to do a workout again.
4. Ramp up now!
After the Open, I always feel like I've gotten five times fitter than I was January 1st and I love that feeling. I usually up my training NOW in order to succeed though. I do class WODs and I work on weaknesses. I do lots of wall balls (major weakness) and I focus on high intensity light AND heavy weight workouts that force me to move quickly. I lower my slower strength training to only 1-2 days a week. The Open has always had the following movements, so it never hurts to practice them:
- Double unders
- Wall balls
- Toes to bar
- Box jumps
- Push presses
- Muscle ups
5. Go see a movie.
That's my escape of choice, but what I really mean is get out of the gym and get your mind off The Open once you've done your workout. This is hard, I know. But usually, at a movie, or bowling or karaoke with your friends, your mind will drift away from four minute Frans and you'll have something to talk about with non CrossFit friends...if those still exist for you. :) The Open for me is always a very trying time because I care soooo much about my scores. It turns out, no one is looking at my scores but me. I have a funny story that shows just how true that is...
I noticed every Open workout I was getting almost an identical score to a girl named Megan. I finally saw Megan in person. She was competing in the Northwest Region. I ran up to her and said Megan! It's me, Maddy Curley. She looked at me like, "Yeah? I don't know you." And then I babbled on about how we always had similar scores in the Open. She looked at me like I was a crazy person. And I was.
The Open is so much fun, but live life outside of it too!!