Hey everyone!  As some of you may have heard, the CrossFit Games Open is upon us.  Registration is live and is easily accessible at www.games.crossfit.com. Every year I go into my pitch about how everyone should register and take part in the Open.  And this year is no different!  LOL.  However, this is NOT that speech...yet.  This is the speech before the speech...about how to get ready for the open, physically and more importantly, mentally.  

What is the open you ask?  It is normally a 5 week competition in which Crossfit HQ releases one wod a week, where members of CrossFit boxes and even non-members, partake in the wod and record their scores in a world wide leaderboard, to see how they stack up against the rest of the world.  It' simple really.  You register online, and we take care of the rest at the box.  We put you through the workout, judge you, and you input your score, and we validate it.  Wods can be done RX and scaled.

This year has been shortened to 3 weeks, and has a few different options to either do the workouts at the box, or at home, with equipment and also without equipment.  I believe the workouts will absolutely be inclusive, meaning EVERYONE will be able to do them.  And this excites me!

The Open starts in the beginning of March, and as we get closer, we will start reminding people about it, posting about it, and educating everyone on it and how simple it is to take part.  

For now, let's just "assume" that everyone at Conquest is going to partake.  I know that's a long shot, but that would be super cool.  Especially for me, someone who has managed, scored, judged, validated, and competed in 10 Opens. It would be out of this world if the whole gym signed up for the Open. If any of you reading this are on the fence about it, just know that it would make my YEAR!

Ok, so let's assume you're going to do the open...what should you do "different" between now and March.  This is a question that I used to get asked every year by many members.  And my old response was..."NOTHING! Keep coming to class and doing CrossFit, because the wods are no different than what we do every day!"  Now although this may be true, I want to expand on it and briefly talk about some other things.

Yes, of course keep coming to class and doing CrossFit.  But I also want you to start paying close attention to movements in the wods, and transition between elements in the wods, and also really examine your breathing differences in a 5 minute wod compared to a 20 minute AMRAP.  

Here's what I mean.  Know what movements are your bread and butter and know what movements you need to practice a bit more after or before class, such as gymnastics movements on the rig.  Know what barbell weight you are comfortable with cycling touch and go reps, and know what weight you like to do singles at.  Examine the difference in transition times between elements in a short wod, compared to a long AMRAP.  We know we have to slow down a bit in these long wods, so use the transition time to control that breathing. Examine how many reps you are comfortable with executing unbroken, because this will come in VERY handy in a long wod with gymnastics.  We once had a wod with 15 toes to bars in every round.  And a Games athlete broke them up in 5's and smashed the wod, very impressive.  Keep an eye on the clock in a multi round wod, and try and keep every round within 10 seconds of each other, this will yield a MUCH better score compared to someone who comes out blazing and then falls off bad at the end.  I know this seems like a lot, but it really isn't.  Just take a few minutes to reflect on the wod after you complete it.  Every day.  Or look to someone who seemed to keep a steady pace and finish strong and pick their brain about how they broke everything up.  There's about 7 weeks before the Open begins, so there's plenty of time to practice and start putting these little helpful hints to use.

Ok, now the part that I like, the mental part. Always remember...this is exercise. That's it. Yeah, sometimes it hurts, but you all know how awesome you feel about 5-10 minutes after it's over, and then the natural high you're on from a job well done at the box.  The Open will feel a bit different.  I admit that.  Even years after I stopped competing, and years after I injured my back, I still get nervous and get butterflies before every Open wod.  I LOVE it. Embrace this!  When was the last time you were able to feel butterflies before a sporting event???? High school??? I don't care what level you're at, embrace this.  It is amazing, Everyone who sits on the sidelines and watches the other members throw down always asks me how can they sign up to do it!  And before the end of week one, we always get so many more people involved.  We all have the mental toughness it takes to wod hard.  How do I know this?  Because I coach most of you every day and I don't let you slack off.  And I promise I will never let you slack off.  Reach down deep,and dig, and find that fire that you know you have.  The Open is like nothing else you have done since organized sports.  And if you ask me, it's even better.

Lastly, the Open was moved back to the beginning of the year and will most likely stay here for years to come.  This is fantastic because most of us have dialed in on our nutrition a bit better, and we have also stepped up our attendance at the box.  This will only help be prepared for what is to come.  It's going to be a fun month of March!  I believe March Madness is going to take on a whole new meaning!

Till next time, don't be late for class!