The Open, Part 5: Preparation: How to Fulfill Your Athletic Potential – By Coach Fedde

As coaches, we’ve had our share of workouts where we’ve bombed and workouts where we’ve felt unstoppable. In the Open, we want you to feel unstoppable. So, here are some tips on how you might prepare for Open workouts each week.

Food, drink, and sleep

The Open can be a place where you push yourself a little harder than usual. To be sure you have plenty of fuel in the tank before workouts and a quick recovery after – you’ll want to pay attention to nutrition, hydration, and sleep throughout the open.

🍉🍳 Eat balanced meals with real, whole food (food that you make – or could make if forced to) throughout the week. Aim to have a little something in your stomach before the workout. Have a little something to eat after the workout (with a main focus on carbs and protein for quick digestion).

Listen to your body, eat in your own way, and use foods you know, trust, and enjoy.

💦 Drink plenty of water. If you aren’t hydrated, it will effect your performance and your recovery. Hydration is different for everyone, but a rough goal might be about 80 oz of water per day.

❌🍺 Alcohol will dehydrate you. Skip the alcohol and stick with water (or sparkling water if you’re feeling fancy).

😴 Get plenty of sleep and rest. Aim for 8 hours of sleep – especially Wednesday and Thursday nights.

🧘 Taper your workouts leading up to Open workouts. If you workout on Wednesday and Thursday, be intentional about moderating your intensity those days. At home or as a cool down, get some quality time in with a lacrosse ball and your favorite mobility exercises.

Assess

Each Thursday night at 7 p.m., CrossFit will release an Open workout with an explanation. You can watch the announcements with friends at Sabertooth or at your convenience online at Games.CrossFit.com.

While slightly different compared to last year, the workout announcements will be performed live and you’ll be able to watch athletes perform the workouts. We will keep an ear to the ground on who comes out with good post-workout commentary and strategy – stay tuned.

Once you feel you have a good understanding of the workout, start thinking about what you’re realistically capable of. Think about the movement, weight, equipment, and time-frames involved – how does it relate to other workouts you’ve done? How are you feeling? Are you sore or tired from other workouts? Are you feeling fresh and ready to go?

From that, figure out if it’s a workout that you want to do Scaled or Rx.

Once you know which version you’ll do, start to set some rough expectations for how the workout might feel for you. What sort of pace will you set for yourself? Is there built-in rest, or will you have to find it?

Once you have a good mental picture of how you think the workout is going to go down, test parts of it out in your warmup.

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Warm up

A good warm-up is important for performing your best. We will provide a suggested warm-up but you may choose to do alternate or additional movements that suit you best.

It’s a great time to try out a strategically shortened version of the workout or certain movements involved before it’s go-time. This will not only get your joints and muscles moving so you can perform the movements at your highest level, but will also give you an idea of what to expect.

You might focus on practicing a movement you’re less comfortable with. You might focus on a couple of key transitions between different movements or pieces of equipment.

Do…

  • stuff that will get your heart rate up and make you a little sweaty. If you’re still comfortable wearing your hoodie and your sweatpants, you’re probably not warm.
  • movements that are in the workout (or are similar to movements in the workout)
  • your favorite warm-up movements.
  • dynamic stretches (opposed to static ones that you hold for extended periods of time).

If space on the gym floor is tight for warm-ups and cool-downs, we can spread out into the upstairs studio.

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Solidify your game plan

You have a good idea of what the workout is like on paper and in real life. Coaches will give thorough briefings on the workouts as well as tips and suggestions for how to approach the workout.

The last step is to solidify your game plan in your mind. Talk it through out-loud, or quietly in your head a few times so that when you hear “GO” you’re already gone.

This also a good time to prep for any mental battles. That is, prepare for the moment in the workout when a sliver of negativity sneaks into your thoughts. Aim to keep those slivers small and squelch them early by challenging them.

Have mantra ready, go back to an intention that you set. It can be as simple as “BREATHE” or “YOU ARE STRONG.” One of my favorites is from The Help, “you is kind, you is smart, you is important.” It really has nothing to do with wallballs and bear crawls, but it can crowd out my negative thoughts in an instant.

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3…2…1…GO!

This is it – you’ve prepped for this moment. You may have some butterflies in your stomach… you might not. You have a solid plan, you’re warm, you know what you need to do. Go for it!

The Open, Part 4: Scaled or Rx? – by Coach Fedde

The first workout for the Open will be released next week. Anticipation is building for what Dave Castro has in store for us.

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What’s my choice?

For each workout, you will be able to decide if you want to complete it following the Rx standards or the Scaled standards. Rx tends to involve heavier weights and more advanced skills and Scaled involves lighter weights and more straightforward movements.

You do not have to commit to Rx for all Open workouts or Scaled for all Open workouts. But you do have to commit to one standard for all of the movements within an individual workout.

How do I know which one I should choose?

Rx means challenging but Scaled does not mean easy. All versions of the Open are challenging. All versions will test your fitness. No matter the version, if you work hard, you’re guaranteed to get a grueling workout in.

Some know going in – “Rx, here I come!” or “Scaled, all the way baby!” But if you’re on the cusp, here are a few things to consider:

Weight and/or movement – Do you have the strength and skill to complete multiple reps of each weight/movement in Rx?
Stimulus – Will you be able to move through the Rx workout or will you get stuck on a weight/movement?
Pride – How important is the Rx distinction to you?

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One side of the coin – the scoreboard

It may seem an obvious limiter if you know you cannot complete a certain weight or movement in a workout as written. However, some Open workouts contain heavier weights or more difficult movements halfway through or near the end of a workout. In fact, sometimes the workouts are built so that most people will not reach the end unless you are very proficient in the earlier weights/movements. Therefore, you may be able to get through most of the work without worrying about the harder stuff later on.

With the hype and energetic atmosphere of the Open workouts, some people find they can do more than they thought they could. The Open is a time when many athletes get that first muscle-up or hit a snatch PR – which can be an awesome feeling to share with your judge and other gym members cheering you on!

A sticking point for some may be the pride of completing Rx. From a scoreboard perspective, one single rep of Rx will always beat 10,000,000+ reps of scaled. For that reason alone, some people would rather complete only a few reps of an Rx workout in order to place higher on the Open scoreboard. It’s not going to be a good workout… but you’ll get a better placement.

The other side of the coin – your experience

Before getting caught up in scores, reps, weights, and times, ask yourself, what do you want to get out of your Open experience?

If you choose an Rx workout that is slightly above your ability, will you be content with making continuous failed attempts at a weight or movement you know you cannot do?

For some this is fine and they enjoy the challenge. Others may feel dejected and frustrated. We never want you to feel dejected and frustrated during any workout, Open or not.

Do-overs!

For most, Open workouts are one-and-done events. If you push yourself hard enough, you might not want to ever do the workout again. But, here’s the cool thing about having multiple days to complete the workout and submit a score – you can do the workout as many times as you want. So, if you lock in a great time on a workout under the Scaled standards and want to go for Rx, give yourself a rest day and then come in during open gym and give Rx a shot.

What if I am unable to complete either version?

Injury, illness, strength, mobility … whatever the reason, you have a couple of options:

  • Complete as much of the written workout as you can, record your official score, then stop or continue the workout with additional modifications as needed.

  • Take a zero, shake it off and get ready to score the next week. Don’t let your ego impede the fun – volunteer to judge another athlete and cheer your Saberfriends on!

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Do what’s right for you

The Open is a learning experience for many of us in what we are capable of both mentally and physically. Whatever workout option you choose, we will be there to support you. Whether this is your first Open or you are a seasoned veteran, we look forward to sweating it out with you!

What?! You still haven’t registered?!

You can sign up for the Open through Monday, 2/25/19, but don’t waste any more time! Register at https://games.crossfit.com/ and go to https://goo.gl/forms/8qCN8BKG5Xbm8uid2 to sign up for the Sabertooth intramural.

Up next …

Advice on how to prepare so you can fulfill your athletic potential.

The Open, Part 3: Logistics at Sabertooth – by Coach Fedde

You know what the Open is and why we love to take part. But, how’s it going to work with all of the judges and stuff? Here’s the plan …

Sign up

After the workout is released on Thursday nights, we will post a Google Spreadsheet online with heat times. Regardless of whether you are registered online for the Open, if you plan to work out in a class on Friday, you will need to sign up for a heat.

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Athletes

Each athlete will sign up for a specific heat time. It will list a warmup, briefing, and warmup time. If you miss your warm up and/or briefing, you will likely be shuffled to a later heat. Just like in a regular class, the warm-up and briefing are essential to a successful workout. Don’t miss it!

There will be a spot in the heat signup to indicate if you need a judge or not. If you are registered online, you will need a judge. If you do not have a judge we will not be able to validate your score. If you are not registered online but would still like a judge, we will try to accommodate you.

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Judges

We will use that same Google sheet to have people sign up to judge. Anyone can be a judge for the Open. Judging is a vital role in the Open – it helps us manage classes and it is a great way to get to know and encourage your fellow gym members. Coaches will help facilitate finding and distributing judges as needed.

Judging in the Open is not as scary or intense as it sounds! It’s mostly just lots of counting! This is a great chance to try it in a low pressure situation. As mentioned earlier, if you want to study up, CrossFit offers an online judges course: https://oc.crossfit.com/course?id=21

But I want to compete AND judge!

If you can stick around to judge a heat before or after your workout – please do! Judging can help you prepare for the workout and working out can help you prep to judge. Just be sure to allow buffer time for your warm-up, recovery, a comfort break, and any clothing changes.

What if I need a judge and I can’t make it on Friday?

There won’t be formal judge scheduling beyond Friday nights. If you want to do open workouts during open gym on Sunday, you’ll need to recruit a fellow gym member or a coach to judge you.

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Scorecards, movement standards, and briefings …

Every Open workout is released with a video of movement standards and a paper scorecard that we will have available. The movement standards video is very thorough, and these standards will also be covered during the briefing before each heat. The scorecards are helpful for judges to keep track of reps and movements.

We highly recommend athletes and judges take a look at the video explanations of the workouts before you come to the gym.

Announcing a TWIST!

New this year, we’re layering a intramural competition on top of the Open. When you sign up (free if you’re officially registered for the Open, $15 if you’re not), you’ll be put on one of two Sabertooth teams. The two teams will face off to see who can get the better overall scores in the Open. Workouts are more fun when you have teammates cheering you on and when you have teammates to cheer for.

Haven’t signed up yet?

Don’t waste any more time and go straight to https://games.crossfit.com to register for the open and go to https://goo.gl/forms/8qCN8BKG5Xbm8uid2 to sign up for the Sabertooth intramural.

Up next …

Advice on how to choose Rx vs Scaled in the Open. Stay tuned!