On Saturday, November 1st a number of CFW members will be competing at the Prairie CrossFit Fall Throw Down. Designed for first-time competitors, this one’s gonna be a blast. For CFW members competing, we’ll be holding a prep class on October 25th where we’ll expand on the ideas below and practice some of the movements. For everyone not competing, mark November 1 down on your calendars and come cheer everyone on!

1) TRAINING FOR COMPETITION

Changes to Your CrossFit Programming Leading Up to Comp

Simply put: keep doing what you’re doing. Keep CrossFitting. If you have the time to do anything extra, focus on skillwork over strength and conditioning. You’re not going to get much stronger in two or three weeks, but practicing your Olympic lifting technique and any skills needed for the events is a wise move. In the weeks leading up, also make sure to add extra mobility to your daily routine to stay supple.

Workout Strategy for the Week Before Competition

I would keep training as usual until 3-4 days ahead of time and then taper off volume, but not intensity. How? I recommend doing a combination of the ‘fitness’ and ‘health’ workouts (fitness movements with health rep schemes). When we post the programming the week before the competition, I’ll make sure to include coach’s notes on how to do this. If you recover quickly, do 2-3 days of modified workouts. Not so good recovery? Do 4-5 days of modified workouts.

Getting a Massage Before a Competition

Don’t get a massage within 24-48 hours of the comp, as you don’t want your muscles to lengthen out too much – you want to be loose and feeling good, but strong. If you do choose to get a massage in the two days leading up to the competition, make sure it’s a “sports massage” not a therapeutic or relaxation massage. The therapist should know what to do if you tell them about the competition.

Practicing Events Prior to Competition

During our practice session we’ll practice the movements, but we won’t do the full workouts – we’ll do a lower volume version. The reasoning behind this is that we want you to feel what the weight, movements and transitions feel like, but doing the full volume will wear you out mentally and physically. The second reason for this is that when you practice the workouts, you want to end your practice session hungry for more so you kill it at competition time.

Fine-tuning Your Diet Leading Up to the Event

If you have 3-4 weeks, leaning out may be a good idea. Most importantly, work on carb/insulin sensitivity (avoid bad carbs and sugar), so you’re body will be able to use carbs better on game day. Don’t be drastic with your diet, but keep it clean and make sure to keep an eye out for food sensitivities so the day of competition you know what to avoid.

2) THE DAY BEFORE COMPETITION

Preparing the Day Before

The day before competition, take an active rest day. This means walking, maybe some rowing and lots of mobility. Relax mentally and visualize every event. Visualize not just the workouts, but also your warm-ups and the rest of the experience (eating, packing the car, taping hands, etc) – this will help make it feel more natural and relaxed the day of. Take an Epson salt bath to relax and practice your breathing. Most importantly, do whatever you need to sleep well.

What to Eat the Night Before

Eat a huge meal the night before competition. The perfect meal? I would go with steak or fish, broccoli or kale, lots of garlic and onions for antioxidants, carbs you react well to (squash, potato, white rice, quinoa) and lots of good fats to help you sleep well. Avoid overdoing the Halloween candy in a fit of stress and panic.

Mental Preparation

Competition is different than normal training. There’s the crowd, the noise and the mental weight of putting yourself out there.The key is getting in touch with your inner self – getting in the zone. You do this every time you workout, so just approach the events as you would any other day at the gym. Focus on mindfulness. Focus on your cues (knees out, chest up, lock out, etc) and what you need to do in that moment.

 3) COMPETITION DAY

Packing Your Bag for the Big Day

Bring EVERYTHING you might need. This includes tape, food, mobility equipment (floss, ball, roller), extra socks, a whole other set of clothes, extra shoes, lifters, knee sleeves or a weight belt. Also, make sure you bring your camera/phone to get pictures/video so you can show your family and friends that you’re a total badass.

Warming Up for Competition

We’ll be there to help out and also go through warm-up strategy in the prep session. As a general rule, short workouts get a long warm-up and long workouts get a short warm-up. Think of the warmup as three parts: 1) Get sweaty, 2) mobilize joints and 3) work out specific movements. This might mean rowing or burpees to get sweaty, then voodoo floss, arm circles, leg swings etc for joint mobility, and finally practicing event-specific range of motion with or without load. If it’s not feeling good at that point, go back to mobility and stretch things out. One extra tip is to not warm up too early.

Eating Enough the Day of Competition

Most people don’t eat enough, so make sure to bring things that you can eat regardless of the situation. For breakfast, eat foods that will sit well when you’re nervous. Shakes are good, because your digestive system might be strained.

I recommend a protein shake with BCAAs (powder or pills) with some source of carbs (maltodextron, etc) in the shake. Drink a shake after each workout. Protein bars are fine too, although it will be harder to digest (I recommend the Elevate Me brand). The longer and sweatier the workout, the more carbs you need. The heavier (more central nervous system) the workout, the more protein you need.

If you don’t know what to buy, we carry and sell pre workouts (yes, they contain mild stimulants), supplements for during your workouts (with BCAAs/electrolytes) and post-workout blends (Carbs, protein, electrolytes, BCAAs).

 4) COMPETITION STRATEGY

Getting to Know Your Judge

Try to demo a rep before starting the workout. For example: show him or her your squat and lockout so you’re on the same page. Make sure that you communicate to them that you need to know if you’re being no repped and how to fix it. Be nice and keep the lines of communication open.

Pacing, Resting and Focusing On Your Strengths

I find that focusing on your strongest events can help. If it’s a triplet, and you know you suck at one movement but you’re great at another, try to save time by really given it your all on your strong movement. Also, make sure you have a strategy for pacing and resting. At some point you’ll want to stop and won’t want to keep going. So what will you do about it? Give yourself a number of breaths before you pick the bar back up. And try to get at least half of the set done in your first round – psychologically, that helps a lot.

Find Yourself a Helper (Slave)

Have a helper who can check your schedule, bring you food or shakes and fill up your water. Essentially you need a slave. Have a partner, fan, CFW member or family member worry about those details so you can focus on doing what you need to do out on the floor.

Give It Your All and Have Fun!

Focus on fun fun fun – be there to have fun. The more fun you have, the higher your placement. And watch out for attaching too much significance to your results. Focus on this mantra: Full Effort, Full Victory. The worst thing that can happen is that you do pretty well and leave feeling like you could have done more. Give it what you have so you can say that you gave it your all. In the end, that’s the only thing that counts.

5) AFTER THE COMPETITION

Eating After the Competition

Everything. Eat it all. Get lots of fat, protein and carbs and reward yourself.

Be Proud and Make Sure to Treat Yourself

After a comp is the perfect time to take a couple days off, get a massage and lick your wounds. Be proud that you put yourself out there, faced your fears and actually did it. Competing is all about taking stock of how far you’ve come, celebrating your dedication to fitness and being a badass. No matter how you do or where you place, be proud that you showed up and pushed yourself to your limits. Enjoy it, buy yourself a cake and set your sites on your next competition!