As this article says, we are about 100 days out from the CrossFit Open. I also will be out 100 days from now so here is my 2 cents for you to work on to improve your performance in the OPEN WODs
What Can You Do Now to Help You Crush the 2024 CrossFit Open?
There are about 100 days until the CrossFit Open begins.
I’ll say that again for those of you who don’t want to believe it–the Open starts in about 100 days.
The Open is the start of the competitive CrossFit season. Whether this is your first year competing or you are a Games veteran, it currently begins with three weeks of workouts in February and early March.
In this article, we will cover a large range of areas of opportunity to improve on with regards to your nutrition, training, and recovery to help you crush the 2024 Open. We will get into more details about nutrition advice, but for the training and recovery tips, I had to reach out to the pros. Two experienced, renowned, and successful CrossFit coaches, Kyle Ruth and Adam Rogers from Training Think Tank.
When I asked Kyle Ruth for some advice to give athletes to start implementing now that will give them the best ability to crush the Open, he responded with:
Prioritize recovery outside of training: When I asked my athletes to identify the obstacles to their own performance the vast majority said that optimizing recovery between sessions was one of their biggest struggles. I agree with this, and there are many things you can do to improve recovery. I think about it as a hierarchy or pyramid with the base being rest and sleep, followed by nutrition and hydration, the next layer is post-workout cool-downs and breathwork to shift the body back into a rest-and-digest setting, and the peak encompassing all the other “stuff” that people do to aid in recovery (Theragun, compression boots, mobility work, ice tubs, sauna, etc).
- Prioritize sleep — This is where the REAL recovery happens. Have a consistent bedtime and wake-up time, and hold yourself accountable to that.
- Prioritize rest — Rest can take different forms for everyone, but at the most basic, doing things that allow you to relax and “refill your cup” are the best.
- Stay hydrated — Even though we talk a lot about nutrition and fueling, water is much more of an essential “nutrient” than carbohydrates.
- Have a nutrition plan — Create nutrition habits that ensure you are refueling consistently after training.
- Experiment with recovery modalities — What works for me won’t necessarily work for you, take some time to explore your options and choose 1-2 that make the biggest difference for you.
Prioritize intensity in your training: One of the biggest issues that I see in the CrossFit competition training space right now is an over-reliance on training volume. People want to pack as much training in every day as possible, and this comes at the expense of intensity. In order to be prepared for an event like the Open or the Age Group Quarterfinals you need to be ready to move as fast as you can for as long as you can.
Prioritizing volume does build endurance and there is a time and place in the season for increasing volume to be the focus of training. However, as we approach the 12-week-out mark for the 2024 Open, the time is coming to prioritize intensity over volume. This could look like setting aside two days of training where you are just focused on attacking a “sport-specific” tester, like the TTT Throwdowns or a past CrossFit Open workout.
These sessions would look different than a normal “training” session in that your entire session would consist of just a warm-up, the tester, and a cool-down rather than having multiple elements of training packed into the session (i.e. warm-up, skill, strength, metcon, cool-down, mobility). This simplified structure allows you to put more focus and energy into the workout and is a chance to practice bringing that intensity for what matters!
When I asked Adam Rogers that same question, he replied:
Don’t let the looming Open blur your focus: There is still plenty of time to put in quality work and improve specific weaknesses. Identify on your own, or with your coach, 2-3 different movements, combinations, time domains, or even specific workouts that you know have limited you in the past.
Then, deconstruct them to isolate your individual limiter, and hammer the crap out of it. Build linear progressions so that you can see and feel the progress week to week, and then plan a re-test before the start of the season. This will build confidence at the same time as you improve your capacity around a ‘weakness’.
Address and execute your workouts with intent: With the goal of having your performance on each be as close as possible to your current capacity. We want to minimize or completely eliminate the number of times you walk away from a session saying “I really paced that poorly.”
Over the next few months, when faced with a new workout, sit down and mindfully create a strategy and game plan to attack it.
To do this optimally, you need to make this strategizing as specific and tangible as possible. Instead of saying “Don’t come out hot” or “I want to be smart on the burpees,” practice putting more details down ahead of time. Something like “I’m going to keep a pace of 4 sec/rep on these bar-facing burpees” or “I’m not going to go under 1000 cal/hr on these rows.” Then, after the workout, sit down again and compare your plan to your execution. Where were the inaccuracies, and what led to them? Was the plan too aggressive? Were you too “soft” in your execution? Be honest, be specific and make sure you learn from what you find. The very best in the sport have learned to close this gap between planning and execution, and as a result, their performance is almost always close or equal to their true capacity.
Now that we’ve got your training and recovery practices covered, let’s dive into some nutrition recommendations put together by Becky Rogers and I:
Check your fiber: December/January is a great time for those competing in the Open to start slowly adding in more carbohydrates so come game day, you are locked and loaded with the proper fuel to help you reach new intensities and promote better recovery. With increasing carbohydrates, depending on which type you choose, this could dramatically impact the amount of fiber you’re consuming, which could also impact your digestion.
The sweet spot for most people is between ~25-35g/day. Too high or too low can leave you experiencing digestive woes and running to the bathroom right before your coach starts the clock more than you already are!
Practice competition fueling protocols ahead of time: A big no-no is trying anything new on game day. This means you need to find another time that stimulates a competitive setting to practice what types of food your stomach can handle, how long before and after an attempt you can eat, and what works best for you. Be sure to consider different types of workouts too (Fran/lift complex versus 20:00 bodyweight AMRAP)
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Kyle Ruth mentioned this, but depending on which part of the world you live in, the weather is mostly changing or doing so soon. Regardless if it’s getting colder, warmer, or drier, you will not want to get behind on your hydration. It can have a positive impact on mood, cognition, sleep, and athletic performance.
Some last takeaways that may be worth implementing:
Practice filming and set up logistics: Get used to filming your workouts, finding the best angles in the gym or your garage to include the clock, your equipment, and all of your movements. Practice setting up equipment in a way that promotes the quickest transitions and work on conditioning yourself to pick up the next piece of equipment that much faster.
Ask someone to judge you: If you don’t know what it feels like to have a judge, get yourself comfortable with it. You’ll want to know what it feels like having someone count your reps, call you out on a “no rep” when necessary, learn how to manage feelings with that, and what it is like having a set of eyes on you at all times while performing your attempt.
Get control of your headspace: Do you experience nerves on game day? How do you manage them? Things to help with this are guided meditations, general relaxation practices, and breathing exercises. Explore which practices best fit you to help you keep negative thoughts out of your head and positive self-talk when your workout starts.
As we know CrossFit values preparing for the unknown and unknowable. If we can do our part in elevating as much of the unknown as possible beforehand, we can help promote much more confidence in your attempt and your performance for 24.1 when the clock hits 3,2,1, Go.
SEE YOU AT THE GYM