The Common Man’s Guide to the Crossfit Open: Part 3

[AUDIO VERSION: I also recorded an audio version of this article. Click below to listen. Let me know if this is something you find helpful!]

Crossfit Open Guide 3

Clive woke up to the the faint tickle of butterflies in his stomach.

He wasn’t nervous or scared about the first Crossfit Open WOD that morning.  Just……


Game Day

Clive stepped up to the bar, ready to tackle the first WOD of the Crossfit Open.

“3-2-1….Go!” shouted Belinda.

Clive, Dave, and all the other athletes in the heat gripped theirs bars and hoisted them overhead.

The workout was intense, but Clive could feel his preparation paying off.   When he got to the pullup portion, he felt strong and confident in managing his sets, reps, and overall exertion.

The crowd roared their approval.  Dave couldn’t believe how much that energized him.  And he wasn’t nervous about being in front of the small crowd.  He knew half of them.  His wife and kids had come out to support too.

At the end of the first WOD, Clive flopped down on his back and savored the rest.  He hadn’t pushed himself like that in a while, but he felt good.  He felt like he’d done well.

“Yay daddy!” his son yelled as he raced over and leapt onto Clive’s chest.

Clive laughed and sat up with his son.  He stood up, gave Dave and the other athletes a high five, and headed over to where the rest of his family was waiting with open arms.

cf open guide 3

Success and Reflection

The next four weeks of the Crossfit Open went well.

While all the workouts are extremely challenging, Dave feels like he does his best.  While his scores certainly won’t qualify him for Regionals, he could care less about that.  He’s proud that he set this as a goal and trained up to it.

Clive does a recap with Belinda at the conclusion of the Open.

“I’m so proud of you!” Belinda gushes.  “You’re doing so much better!”

Clive chuckles a bit and says, “Yeah my skills have gotten a lot better.  I went from zero double unders to fifteen in a row.  My pullups are also a lot better too: I can do sets of twenty pretty consistently now.”

“And to top all that off, I lost 5lbs.  Which is crazy because I was eating like an animal just to keep up with training.  I was hungry all the time.”

“Any intangibles on top of that?” Belinda inquired.  “It seems like you’re walking a bit taller and are a bit more confident lately.”  She pauses and then jokes, “You might even have a bit of a swagger.”

“It’s funny you mention that,” replies Clive.  “I’m definitely in a much better place mentally now than during the holidays.  And I just feel…better.  Maybe I do walk around a bit taller.  I just know that I feel better during the day.  And stuff that seemed like a big challenge before is a lot more doable.”

“People at work have even noticed.  They ask me what I’m doing now.  Some recoil in terror when I tell them I’m doing Crossfit.  Others might just make it to our next Open House.”

“The more the merrier,” said Belinda.  “Maybe you can teach them a thing or two.”

Clive gets up to start class.  Belinda stops him and asks, “But the real question is: Did you have fun?”

Clive grins from ear to ear and replies, “Can’t wait until next year……”

Ready to tackle the Open?  Head on over to the Crossfit Games site to register today!

The Common Man’s Guide to the Crossfit Open: Part 2

[AUDIO VERSION: I also recorded an audio version of this article. Click below to listen. Let me know if this is something you find helpful!]


Honest Advice

“Come on! You’re better than this!” bellowed Belinda.

Clive dropped from the bar and looked up into Belinda’s intense gaze.

“Focus on your movement quality.  String together seven good reps and then drop down.  Take longer rests if necessary,” directed Belinda.

Clive nodded, popped back up on the bar, and knocked out seven perfect reps on his kipping pullup.

How should Clive prepare for the Open?

Belinda helped Clive make a training plan for the Crossfit Open after their initial meeting .

Clive decided to focus on double unders and kipping pullups.  He was confident in his ability to improve those skills in the weeks leading up to the Open.

Fortunately his gym’s programming complemented that plan perfectly.  The programming focused on developing technique and then ramping up intensity.

Clive liked it.  He wasn’t getting burned out every day and he felt like he was making progress on his skills.

In fact, Clive was having a ton of fun.  Clive’s friend Dave had decided to sign up for the Open also.  They synced up their schedules so that they could train in the same class.  Dave was roughly at the same level that Clive was, so they pushed each other on each and every workout.

Clive hadn’t had this much fun or felt this fit since he played lacrosse in college.

Dave was a huge boost to Clive’s training.  And his family was too.

“Have you invited your friends and family to come cheer you on at the Open workouts?” asked Belinda after class one evening.

Clive was surprised. “No.  Why would I do that.  Isn’t that kind of weird?”

“Why?” Belinda replied.  “People that run races invite their friends and family to the finish line.  Why should Crossfit be any different?”

Clive conceded that she had a good point.  He was pleasantly surprised when his parents and kids expressed real enthusiasm for coming and seeing him do the Open WODs.

“We love you Daddy!  We’re so excited to see you!” screamed his kids.

“Well I guess I’m all set,” Clive thought to himself.

Not that simple

Life is never that simple

Clive almost got sidetracked a couple of times.  Like all of us, he has obligations and responsibilities outside of the gym.

Clive’s son spiked a fever one night.  Clive stayed home with him the next day.  He let Dave know that he wouldn’t be making it to the gym that night.

He made the most of things by working on his double unders and knocking out some burpees while his son napped that afternoon.

Clive had to travel to Philadelphia for a couple of days.  He dropped in on one of the Crossfit affiliates there and also did a Travel Workout in his hotel gym.

So even though life was throwing him some curve balls, he still felt like he was in control.

It was a huge help having Belinda and his home gym community.  She had helped him dial in his training, his nutrition, supplementation, and recovery.  His fellow Crossfitters helped to keep his motivation up.  He felt better than he had in years.

The best thing: this training hadn’t taken over his life.

He was doing great at work.  Better even than over the holidays, since he had more energy during the day.

He had plenty of time with his family.  His kids noticed a change in him.

“I don’t know Dad, you just seem stronger and happier,” said his son.

What a Compliment

“Well, you finally don’t suck at those anymore,” grinned Belinda after Dave dropped down from his last set.

“Do you think I’m ready for the Open next week?” asked Clive.

“Absolutely,” Belinda assured him. “I think you’re going to do great!”

Stay tuned for Part 3 where Clive puts his training to the test……


How to Prepare for the Crossfit Open

Ask your friends and family to come support you

Don’t just keep this to yourself.  Just like runners have people waiting for them at the finish line, you should have your supporters waiting for you too.

Focus on 1-2 skills

Pick skills that are likely to be in the Open.  Train the ones that you have a reasonable chance for improvement on in the course of 4-6 weeks.  Focus on moving better, and then moving faster.

Grab a training buddy

Everything’s better with friends.  Pick somebody that’s at the same relative level as you and make a plan to train together.  It will help you stay motivated and accountable.

Accept that your training plan isn’t going to go perfectly

Your skills may be harder than you think.  You might get sick.  Your kid/spouse might get sick.  You might have to travel.  Or any other number of things might happen.

Don’t beat yourself up.  Roll with the punches.  Adapt as best you can.

Ask your coach for help and guidance

They have your best interests at heart and can help you objectively make plans and deal with obstacles.

Pay attention to the 90% of the time you aren’t in the gym

Use this as an opportunity to eat better.  To sleep more.  To take your fish oil and get more protein.  As an opportunity to do all those “healthy” things you’d been meaning to do.

Don’t let training take over your life

We all strive for the elusive work/life balance.  Don’t let your training make everything else go out of whack.  Try to keep some perspective on why you got into Crossfit in the first place.

Stay Tuned for Part 3 where Clive tackles the Challenges of the OPEN…..Subscribe to my updates to be notified when the next part is published.

Photo credit:
Runar Eilertsen / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
Runar Eilertsen / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

The Common Man’s Guide to the Crossfit Open: Part 1

[AUDIO VERSION: I also recorded an audio version of this article. Click below to listen. Let me know if this is something you find helpful!]

How to Get Your Head Back in the Game after the Holidays

guide to crossfit open 1
Clive could feel a Monday morning headache coming on.

This one was going to be special, since it would be his first one of 2015.

101 New Emails, 2 New Projects, Need to get the oil changed, Susie’s birthday party……

1000 Things competing for his attention.  He had to cut through the noise. Continue reading “The Common Man’s Guide to the Crossfit Open: Part 1”