Have you ever gotten anxious before a competition? Maybe you have trouble falling asleep the night before or feel sick to your stomach thinking about how well you’ll perform. You train day in and day out with no issues, but this is different…you’re going to have a score for this one. One that represents you and allows you to be analyzed and compared to everyone else. Maybe you think about all the things that could go wrong. Whether it is testing a new 1 rep max, performing a benchmark workout, or trying your hand at a fitness competition there is can be a lot running through your mind before a performance. That is why you owe it to yourself to physically and mentally prepare to test at your best.
1. Stick with your normal routines
When NASA trains astronauts to go into space they have rehearsed the entire morning routine leading up to the launch. The same breakfast, the same checklists, the same drive to the station. By performing these repetitions hundreds of times by the time they arrive at launch day there is nothing out of the ordinary for their minds to be distracted by. It is just another day.
It’s the same concept with a test. Now is not the time to try anything crazy. Don’t have a crazy big breakfast of eggs and bacon if normally you just down a smoothie before you head out the door. This goes for dinner the night before as well. Maybe try that new sushi restaurant after your competition.
Another wise decision is to avoid taking any new supplements. Most folks are tempted to sip on an energy drink or supplement with the hopes of the add performance benefit of whatever is on the label. Maintain your normal caffeine intake. Make sure you consume water.
Treat it like any other day at the office, not an important event with high stakes. By normalizing as many conditions as possible and staying relaxed you will conserve energy and keep your body out of the fight-or-flight mode until it actually comes time to compete.
This includes the days leading up to the test day as well. You want to taper your volume (the total amount of work) you perform in the days preceding competition but aim to keep a high level of intensity. This means powerful bursts of energy that will keep your nervous system primed to perform at a high capacity. If you go too many days without working hard your body tends to “forget” what it is capable of performing.
2. Warm up with a purpose
If you have a normal warm up routine stick with that. Keep in mind that the warm up should consist of a progressive sequence that gets your body in a peak state to begin the workout or lift you are attempting.
Generally this looks like some tissue prep that involves taking your joints through their full range of motion as well as foam rolling, the use of resistance bands aerobic stimulation. Get the blood pumping with a light jog, row, bike, or jumping rope. Follow this up with some dynamic stretching where you progressively increasing intensity and range of motion. Now it’s time for movement specific prep. This could be performing the the movement you will be testing or performing a smaller segment or variation that utilizes similar muscle groups. The goal is to prime your body to recruit as many motor groups as necessary to accomplish the lift.
Some individuals tend to under-prepare in their warm up while others overdo it. Aim for that sweet spot where you feel energetic, light, and springy. You should have gotten your heart rate up enough to break a sweat but you should not be soaking through your tee shirt. Once your body is primed it’s a great time to refocus on your goals for the workout.
3. Get specific about your desired outcome
Specificity is key when it comes to eliminating fear and achieving the outcome you want. Things get a whole lot less scary when you clearly define what you want to happen and how little the negative part would actually affect you. This allows you to decide on a game plan taking into account the highest upside of success meanwhile addressing the potential setbacks and how you will adjust your strategy if any of those were to occur.
Mitigating downside is usually a more effective strategy than swinging for the fences. Even if there is an area that you are particularly strong in, say deadlifts, you can’t expect to win a long chipper workout with a move that you consider to be your weakness. Handstand pushups for example. Your strategy should geared toward getting through the set of handstand pushups as quickly as possible by planning out how you will break up the sets and how much rest to give in between. Once you’ve determined your strategy practice it. Your body will know exactly how it feels on rep number 8, rep 17, and rep 29. You’ll be much more effective and able to improve your performance by planning for your weaknesses.
Test, test, test your equipment beforehand! You do not want your glorious efforts and strategic execution to be thwarted by a loose shoelace or clips that won’t stay tight to your bar. If you might need chalk during the WOD grab your own piece and keep it close by. Talk to whoever is judging you and discuss movement standards and how they will be counting reps. Don’t leave any room for error, after all it’s your score!
Have questions about training for a competition? Get in touch with one of our coaches today!
No one ever got fit working out twice a month, which is why it’s essential to form a commitment to CrossFit if you want to get the most out of your investment.
When you sign up for a program, whether it is at our box or another, you need to be sure you are prepared to put into CrossFit what the coaches are going to expect out of you. Otherwise, you’re just throwing away a significant chunk of your paycheck to sit and watch your CrossFit membership languish away.
The most successful athletes at Grand Trunk CrossFit are the athletes who show up at least three times per week, ready to push their bodies to the limit for one hour. These athletes understand nothing is going to change if they don’t. We explain this to you not to scare you into avoiding CrossFit, but because we want you to understand what you need to put in to get something out of it.
The reason the cheaper gyms make enough money to stay afloat is because they offer a reduced rate that feels like a minor investment, so you are more apt to let them continue to take ten dollars out of your account every month because it’s just ten dollars.
But what are you gaining by sitting on your couch while a gym takes free money from you? (Nothing. Nothing is the answer.)
It’s better to spend a little bit more money to get moving, than it is to watch your bank account dwindle at a steady drip.
A lot of people in this world will pay more for a quality product. We believe CrossFit is a quality product that is worth your time and money, but only if you are ready to make the commitment.
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