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Taking Action: Using the Open to meet your goals

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by Joe Paul

Today is the day. 19.1 will be released and the slow, un-delightful voice of Dave Castro will commence the mania of the 2019 CrossFit Open.

With all of the new rules and format of the Open, I don’t even really know what to expect from the workouts or the top athletes. What I do know is, every Friday Night for the next 5 weeks, Badger CrossFit will be bumpin’ beats and throwin’ down for some amazing community fun!

For many of us, the Open is just for the Friday Nights — to hang out, have fun and be a part of something bigger. But if you’ve done the Open in the past, there’s some value in measuring how you’ve progressed over time. Perhaps, if it’s your first year, it’s fun just to see where you land on the workouts. Whether you’re making it a priority to perform well or not, your training may change over the next 5 weeks.

When you change your training intensity or schedule, you should definitely be considering any changes in your nutrition, which will benefit you the most. The next 30-plus days of the Open also offer opportunity for those changes. Everyone from the gym wants to get better, whether it’s based on performance, health or aesthetics.

As a nutrition coach, I talk a lot about Associative or Layered Behavior. Basically, lumping habits together create an even greater positive impact than on their own. For example, you’ve established the habit of going to the gym four days a week. Then, to make life easier, you prep your post-workout meal for each of those days. As soon as you get home, you eat your meal, saving you 20 minutes of cook/prep in the morning. Instead, you use those 20 minutes to clean up your house, which eliminates clutter so you feel productive to leave for work and refreshed when you come home to a clean kitchen.

The chain can go on, but you get the idea. Stress management is tremendously important for nutrition. So any opportunity you have to associate positive behaviors together, creating a habit (or lump of habits), the fewer decisions you have to make and the more you can enjoy reaching your goal!

Whoa- ok, cool. Habits are good and so is eating well, what does this have to do with the Open?

The Open is 5 weeks long (30-plus days) where members of the CrossFit community are motivated to perform well and generally feel good about their lives. The key is to USE THAT MOTIVATION for the entire Open so your behavior becomes a habit over 30 days and you can leave the Open with one more positive impact in your daily lifestyle. What better time than these 5 weeks to attach a behavior you’ve been considering for your goals? Maybe it’s cutting out sweets or alcohol, or making it to the gym on certain days, or getting more protein in your diet.

Unless you have a serious shot at qualifying for the Open, what better to take away from it than 5 fun workouts and a positive new habit for the rest of your life?

To create that type of sustainability in a habit, I suggest you start with one. What’s one behavior or habit you could truly benefit from through the next month, as well as the years following?

Here are some great places to start:

Sleep

Sleep is without a doubt the No. 1 driver in recovery both physically and mentally. Ideally, this number falls around 7-9 hours a night, but perhaps this is out of the question with your current schedule around work and children. However, I’m willing to bet there is at least ONE WAY you could improve your sleep or increase the amount. Some examples include the following:

  • Screens off 1 hour before bed
  • Light chores and preparation for the next day to relieve stress
  • Keeping your room dark and cool
  • Reflect with a journal or write out the following day’s to-do’s
  • Stretch/Yoga/Mobility

Eat enough

If you’ve been feeling drained or super-sore from CrossFit workouts, have afternoon energy crashes, or feel like you’re cramming food after work in addition to your workout, you may not be eating enough or at the right time. Try navigating your intake around your day in a way which provides enough energy for your primary responsibilities at time of day. Maybe you’d benefit from a lighter breakfast and an additional snack in the afternoon. Start having your post-workout meal planned (could be prepped, or you just know exactly what you’re going to have).

In many cases, CrossFit athletes are lacking the protein intake to support their goals. Everyone is different, and your training intensity does have a factor, but 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight is a safe place to start. (i.e. Barry is 185 lbs so this calculation would have him eating 150-185g of protein per day).

Also – CrossFitters NEED carbohydrates. Our workouts demand higher intensity and carbs are the most efficient fuel for CrossFitters. Start by getting a minimum 25g of carbs and 25g of protein within the hour following your workouts.

Water intake

There are MANY different methods for improving water intake. To associate it with the Open, deliberately drink 8 oz of water before your workout and 8 oz after. I also think having a fun water bottle makes drinking water much more inviting.

Get out of the gym!

What good is all this fitness if you’re not going to use it in the real world?!?!

Tyler and I have had many conversations about this because it’s amazing what our bodies can do. Climb, hike, snow-shoe, ice-skate, ski, snowboard, or get out of the cold for a weekend have some fun in the water! Don’t worry, BCF has your back. Just check out more info on our tubing trip at The Rock in Franklin next weekend!

If you’re doing the Open workout each week, training three days a week additionally, and planning one other non-training activity, you’ll have plenty of fitness to perform for the Open.

We know there will be plenty of opportunities to make memories at the Open, how else can you create something positive and sustainable over the next 5 weeks?