WHEW!! That was fun! The CrossFit Open for most of us is a fun way to compete in house, celebrate fitness and use as a benchmark for what we need to focus on in our next year of training. While the Open is the kick off of the 2020 CrossFit games season, most people will never make it past the OPEN. Most of us use CrossFit as a solution, not a sport. (We did a whole Podcast about it a few months ago.) In fact only the top 0.15% of all the athletes competing in the open make it to the games. For this reason, the open is a big deal to us. We know we aren’t going to the games, but it sure feels good to see progress year after year, to see how far we can go and how much we can push our own limits. SO this means training for the 2021 CrossFit Open starts today. While the past 5 weeks is still fresh in our memories wanted to share 4 tips that I have used over the last 8 years to help me reap the most benefit out of my Crossfit Open experiences.
- Write it down. Take a minute to make a list of all the things you struggled with this year. Barbell cycling on the first workout? Heavy barbell movements in the 4th workout? Ring Muscle ups? What movements stopped you or slowed you down this year? Was it your mindset? Where are your biggest holes? What stopped you from RXing workouts this year?
- Circle Three. If you are like most of us your list is a mile long. HA! Not a bad thing, look at all those opportunities to improve. Congratulations on taking a hard look in the mirror and having the courage to say “I’m not good at this yet”. Here’s the good news and the bad news, you can do absolutely anything you set your mind to, but you can’t do everything all at once. No doubt if you circled the elusive ring muscle up and focused on it for a year, put in the work, hired a coach, did specific programming, you would absolutely have them for the 2021 season. BUT if you circled all the things on your list, you wouldn’t have the time or energy to focus on them. You would constantly be distracted instead of focusing on and making improvements in the 3 areas you really want to grow in. IF you choose to focus on improving everything at once, you are essentially choosing to focus on nothing. Make a choice and commit to focus only on those things you circled for a whole year.
- Make a Plan. You know this… if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. JUST because you decided to focus on a certain movement or aspect of training doesn’t mean it will automatically improve. You have to do the work yes, but you also need a plan. If its mindset, you need a plan, how many books will you read each month? Will you listen to podcasts? Which ones? Will you hire a life coach? Will you go to seminars? Will you journal? Where will it fit in your daily routine? How much money will you spend on it? Same is true for any movements. Do you need PT sessions regularly? Do you need accessory work? Do you need to go to a specialty course?
- COMMIT to it Daily. OH boy, this is the biggest one. It’s super easy to knock out the first 3… evaluate performance, make new goals, and write out a plan. While that is absolutely necessary to do these things first, nothing matters if you don’t do number 4 on this list. The doing part always seems sexier than it actually is. It’s incredibility difficult to focus on 3 things for a full year without losing enthusiasm or getting distracted by the next shinny object that catches our eye. Add a little frustration ( “it’s taking longer than I thought to see improvements”) and we have a perfect setting to give ourselves permission to settle for good enough. I’m not saying that I’ve perfected this, I’m naturally the worst at daily discipline. I’m a free spirit who loves change and surprises, routines make me want to throw up. BUT on this journey to better myself and raise the lid on my fitness abilities, I have learned self-discipline is the only path to total freedom. Freedom to be my best, to crush my goals and to feel amazing about what I am able to accomplish.
Last year I focused on 3: handstand walks, weight loss and ring muscle ups. I didn’t add any weight to my olympic lifts or back squat, I didn’t get faster on my runs, my mindset routine didn’t change, I didn’t get better in my rowing or wallballs, and I didn’t care. I was focused on 3 things only. All those other things were a focus for me during earlier years, so now they are habits that I can maintain with minimal effort. They might come up again and be a focus for me in the future to improve, but they weren’t this past year. I was borderline obsessed with those other 3 things though. I made sacrifices, showed up when I didn’t want to, pushed through lots of frustrating days and the urge to quit, but let me tell you the pay off was worth it. The pure joy of seeing your hard work pay off where it matters most is worth all the fight in the world.
SO starting 2021 training today, I’m challenging you to close your eyes and think about what you want to accomplish and how you want to feel at the end of the 2021 CrossFit Open. Then I’m challenging you to actually make it happen. YOU can do hard things.