If you are one of the hundreds of thousands of people who participated in the 2017 CrossFit Open, you may be having a case of the Post-Open Blues. The Blues set in after five weeks of excitement, from the Thursday night announcements (Is it going to be another WOD with dumbbells? Do I need to know long division to figure it out? Why can’t I see what Castro is writing on the blackboard?!), to the popular “Friday Night Lights” that many boxes host, you’ve been living in a constant state of competition euphoria. Now comes the letdown. What do you do now? We’re ready to help.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
Think about all of the great things that happened during this Open season. First of all, you are BRAVE! You put yourself out there for the whole world to see your strengths and weaknesses. Did you know there are also hundreds of thousands of people who did not officially sign up for the open due to fear? Fear that members of their gym will see failures. Fear that they have to perform workouts in front of others. But you? You stepped up and did it! Congratulations!
Now, the other good news. Many people participating in the Open reached into themselves and pulled out strength they never knew they had. Multitudes of people set PRs, got their first bar muscle-up, chest to bar, and box jumps! The thrill of competing, along with the energetic charge of the crowd cheering them on, pushed competitors to do what they have never done before. Some of our members experienced going to the “dark place” for the first time – while some may not think this is good, they now know how deep their strength runs and they survived!
Most of the bad that I experienced as a coach and judge was directly due to ego. Does this sound familiar?: “Bar muscle up? I’m out!” Really? The Open is always known for exposing people’s weaknesses. Instead of giving up, this should have been your time to try – more on that later. I also certainly saw many people who were mad at themselves. Mad that they didn’t perform as well as they “should have.” Mad enough to re-do the workouts – multiple times. This type of negativity is not healthy for your body, mind, or performance!
Oh my. Well, I always tell people that if they are moving, there is always a risk of getting hurt. What the Open also exposes is what happens when people are doing high-intensity movements while fatigued or while using bad mechanics. Did anyone else see the gory pics of shins after 17.1? We had a couple of those, although thankfully, nothing requiring stitches. Many people also got injured “chicken-winging” their way to a bar muscle-up. And besides obvious injuries, many people have just been hobbling around, sore, bruised, living life with ice packs and anti-inflammatories because they have not been used to working at this increased intensity.
So What Now?
Well, this is where everything comes together! First of all, TAKE SOME TIME OFF TO RECOVER. The time needed will be different for everyone. For some, it may be a few days. Some people actually take a week or two! Believe it or not, this is VERY healthy! Forgive yourself for whatever you are upset about and MAKE A PLAN TO FIX IT (see below on this). By no means should you be inactive during your “off time.” This should be active recovery. Daily walks and daily mobility are MUST-Dos. Remember, this is time to repair and renew. Focus on your nutrition, fix your stress if needed, and get enough rest. Many times, after a nice little break, you will come back healthier and more energetic than ever.
Time to make a plan. What do you need to work on? Mechanics? Mobility? Strength? Whatever your goat, now is the time to work on it (or them). DON’T cherry pick your WODs. In addition, set aside 15-30 minutes each day (or at least a few days a week) to work on your weaknesses. This does not have to be extensive, exhaustive work. Don’t have double unders? Try for 10 a day. Don’t have a bar muscle-ups, handstand push-ups, pull-ups? Work on progressions. Don’t know how? There are hundreds, if not thousands of resources online to guide you. If you are unsure of where to start, your coaches can guide you, and official CrossFit videos on YouTube are always great places to begin.
GIVE UP YOUR EXCUSES.
~If You Always Do What You’ve Always Done, You Always Get What You’ve Always Gotten~ Tony Robbins
Last year after the open, you knew you had some weaknesses to work on. You continued to follow your regular programming (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), but did not take the time to work on anything extra. How did that work for you? If YOU want to improve, YOU have to take the responsibility of adding in some “self-programming.” It’s just like any skill you have learned through life – it doesn’t just appear if you try it sporadically. Developing skills takes regular, if not daily, work. And to the people who “don’t have time?” You don’t want it bad enough. Period.
So, here’s your assignment. After you rest and recover, physically AND mentally, get a pen and paper and PHYSICALLY WRITE YOUR GOALS. Not only do you need to write your goals for the next year, but under each goal, write your action steps to achieve these goals. Then share this information with a coach as well as a WOD friend in order to keep yourself accountable. Finally, FOLLOW THROUGH. You’ll be AMAZED at what you accomplish!
I look forward to seeing you on the leaderboard for 2018!
*Side note! One more activity that will assist you in furthering your development as a CrossFit athlete is competing. There are local and regional competitions all year round all over the world. By competing every couple of months, you help to keep yourself accountable, become more comfortable with your skills, learn tons of new lessons, and meet many amazing people! Perhaps our second assignment for this year should be committing yourself to at least one additional competition other than the open? Let’s do it!
This is a guest post from Gina Sobrero, Ph.D., ACSM EP-C. As well as a Crossfit L-1 Coach and Consultant for several national fitness, nutrition, and supplement companies. Gina is deeply committed to educating people how exercise and proper nutrition can improve the physical and mental health of people in the southern United States. She currently resides in Bowling Green, KY and coaches at Vette City Crossfit, runs a nutrition consulting and meal prep service (Primal Plate), and is currently working with health specialists in the area on development of a therapeutic fitness program for people living with eating disorders.