Over the last five weeks, several of our CrossFitters took on the CrossFit Games Open. This is a test to see who is fit enough to compete at the CrossFit Games next August (Spoiler Alert: None of us are). For the last five weeks, we’ve put a little more into our workouts. This is competing, not training. In competition, we empty the tank. We take chances we normally wouldn’t. We ignore and push through some pain we probably shouldn’t. Now, the dust has settled, we can see where we ended up on the final leaderboard, and we have a better understanding of just how fit some of the top CrossFitters in the world really are.
What does the end of the Open mean for us? Do we just go back to training as usual? Should you care what place you finished in? We’ll tackle these questions, and hopefully give you a little more insight how to use the Open for motivation and understanding of your fitness!
Rest and Recovery
Depending on how the Open went for you, you may be feeling beat up from the last month. I personally am experiencing some knee pain and an overall soreness and exhaustion I typically don’t have from regular training. If you are dealing with something similar, the best advice I can give is to REST. It’s one of the hardest things for us CrossFitters to do, and from a perspective of running a gym I hate to tell people they shouldn’t come in. However, if you’re a bit more beat up than normal, a few rest days will work wonders. If you usually attend five classes a week, maybe think about backing that off to two or three this week. Or if you just can’t peel yourself away from the gym (my kinda gal/guy) take a few days away from your normal RX weights and have a less intense workout.
Again speaking personally, I’m planning on taking a week off. Normally I wouldn’t have pushed through the knee discomfort I was feeling during 20.5 (the last workout of the Open), but since it’s a competition and I’m a pretty competitive person, I did. I may hop on the rower or Assault Bike a couple times this week, but at no point am I going to have a full-blown, sweating bullets type of training session.
Debriefing Your Placements
While I find the CrossFit Games Open to be stressful, I do enjoy going back through my placements and comparing how I do on certain types of workouts. For example, every time a heavy barbell or a short workout is announced I get close to the top 3,000 places in the world (this is out of 100,000+ mind you). When lighter or body weight exercises are in a longer workout my finishes suffer significantly. I’m talking 14,000-17,000 place. Yikes! That’s quite the drop off!
This pretty obviously tells me what I need to get better at. Instead of telling myself “Oh well, I always struggle with lighter workouts. I’m just glad the heavy barbell was in a few workouts” I’m going to use this information to help me improve. That could mean adding in a few extra light workouts at a higher intensity, or increasing my focus when those particular training sessions come up. (By the way, if you want to take a look at your Open finishes with me and figure out where you need improvement, I’d be more than happy to)
Motivation can be a tough nut to crack. It often comes and goes, and when it disappears is when the real work starts. After the Open, it’s pretty normal to feel reinvigorated to train harder. This next month will be a good time to attack some of the weaknesses you found.
When the post-Open high ends, however, it’s good to have the data you received from competing in the Open. A month or so later, the motivation starts to wear a little thin, and that’s when we can take another look back at your Open results to remind you what you’re working towards!
You might not be a very competitive person. In all likelihood, you just did the Open for fun and are happy that it’s done (it IS a long five weeks). That’s totally fine! We’re all a little relieved. A lot of us haven’t competed in a long time. So even if you aren’t competitive, doing five workouts in a more competitive environment has shown you something. You can’t tell me that you didn’t get a bit of a high off of competing. I saw all of you push a little harder and do more than you thought you could when you had other members cheering you on. The Open may have even showed you that you enjoy competing more than you thought you would, even if you aren’t too concerned with where you ended up.
Then there’s those of you who are more competitive. To you, this may have been your Superbowl. You may have caught the competitive bug and want to do some local competitions. That’s great too! Anything that helps you stay active is a win. Before you go too nuts and try to come to 3-4 classes a day, seek me out and we can come up with an effective plan on how to move forward and what expectations to have.
Overall, I do enjoy the Open even if it is a stressful five weeks. It provides a way to test yourself against people all over the world, and that’s something that just a decade ago was impossible. Yes there are cheaters and missed rep counts, yes there are workouts that favor people with other body types. In the end, it gives us a reason to come together and put our best foot forward. Here’s to the CrossFit Games Open 2021 season. Training starts today!