It is officially Open Season in 53 hours (2 days and 5 hours from the time I'm writing this) and with it comes a host of emotions. Namely, anxiety, fear, nervousness, and, for some, hope and excitement. I name the negative 3 first, because many people experience these feelings much more than they experience hope and excitement. As with anything, these feelings come down to mis-steps in expectations and preparation. Think back to when you were in college or high school. When you had a big test coming up and didn't study appropriately, how did that make you feel? Probably anxious about how you would score, right? Now remember the one time you actually prepared and studied appropriately. You felt confident. Ready. EXCITED. Because you knew you were going to do well. Let's work on resetting your CrossFit Open Mindset for 2018 to the hope and excitement end of the spectrum.
If I were to ask you, "why do you want to start CrossFit," listen to your answer, and ask you at least twice more, maybe then we would start getting to the truth. It is no different here. Maybe you signed up because your coach pushed you to do so - or maybe you're telling yourself that's why. At the end of the day, everyone who signs up for the CrossFit Open does so for a reason deeper than outside pressure.
I'll give myself as an example. In 2017, I didn't want to sign up. I hadn't trained how I felt I needed to in order to be happy with my performance. Yet, I felt it was my responsibility as a box owner. I had missed 2016 since we were in the process of opening, and legitimately didn't have time to train. 2017 I felt that I needed to do it because I was encouraging my athletes to do the same. Or at least, this is what I told myself outwardly. The truth was a lot deeper: I needed to get over my fear of not being enough. As a former Division 1 athlete, and an affiliate owner, I felt like I had some sort of responsibility to be "good" at CrossFit. I knew the Open would show just how not "good" I was, and that felt like public embarrassment. I knew just competing would get me out of this absurd mindset. So, I took the step. It was a blast, and it felt like a weight was off of me after that first workout (but please, Dave, don't give us 17.1 again. I'm begging.)
There is no difference in the expectation you set for yourself and how it affects you between the tests you took in school, the presentation you're giving next week at your job, or the CrossFit Open. I would imagine if you've signed up, you take your health and fitness seriously. You're in the box 4 or 5 times every week. If you travel, you do workouts in your hotel room. You treat your body right by getting enough sleep, fitting some mobility in at least three times a week, and are paying attention to what goes into your mouth.
But, let's be honest, you are not Mat Fraser, Katrin, or Rich Froning. Which is great. You don't need to be them. Therefore, your expectation for the CrossFit Open cannot mirror their expectations. CrossFit Games athletes such as them devote so much time to their fitness. These 5 weeks are just the start of the payoff for the 12 months of hard work leading up. If Katrin goes out and bombs the workout, she will understandably be crushed.
You, however, have a different level and a different goal: do your absolute best, because that is enough. It is what I love most about CrossFit and fitness as a whole. You get out exactly what you put in. You have other priorities in your life outside of the box. You have kids to take care of, a demanding job to excel in, and a home to maintain. The fact that you can even make it into the box consistently is a huge win. The CrossFit Open is all about testing yourself, not worrying about what the person next to you is doing.
One of my favorite authors, Tim Ferriss, talks about this process often. It was first published in the 4 Hour Workweek, and it is all about taking what you fear is going to happen, and bringing it into your reality. For example, you're nervous about the CrossFit Open. Ask yourself why. Is it any of the following? 1) you are worried the workouts will be extremely difficult and you'll feel terrible during them, 2) you're scared you're going to embarrass yourself in front of a crowd on Friday Night Lights or your Saturday Open Party 3) you simply don't believe you can do what Dave and the CrossFit HQ team are going to come up with. Let's address these one by one to improve you CrossFit Open mindset.
CrossFit talks about being prepared for the unexpected and unknowable. Never is this more true than in the CrossFit Open. However, there are 5 areas you can always control: training, recovery, nutrition, sleep, and mindset. We're already talking mindset here, but I'm going to spell out one way you can improve in each of these areas leading up to this weekend's workout.
Follow these steps, and I bet you'll feel better come your Open workout than you typically do at the end of the week. As they say, fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Don't let that be you. Your CrossFit Open mindset is going to determine that preparation level.
This is a 5 week celebration of all your body can do. Whether you're a 25 year old trying to make Regionals for the first time, a 45 year old who has found new energy to play with your kids again, or a 60 year old who just found CrossFit in January, the next five weeks will be an amazing experience. You'll surprise yourself with what you can do. Take note of all the incredible things your body can do, and don't take it for granted. You're going to do great. Your CrossFit Open mindset determines how much fun you're going to have. Take a few minutes before it begins to really set yourself up for success, and go crush these next few weeks.