The 2016 Open will kick off in a few hours.  You clicked on the “Games” website, registered yourself, and eagerly await the announcement of the first workout.

One thing is for certain….

What is uncertain is how good of an experience you will have during the next five weeks of competition for your first Crossfit Open.

Today, I’ll give you a couple of important tips to help you successfully run the gauntlet that is the Open.


Competition can do funny things to you.  Don’t let it ruin your life for the next five weeks.  Remember, your value as a person will not be determined by how well or how poorly you do in each workout.  Chances are, you aren’t a “professional exerciser” (See below) and if that’s the case, you should use the workouts as markers of your current fitness.  At the end of the five weeks you will have a load of data on areas where you are strong and areas you need to improve.



If you have not been properly taking care of your hands already, give them some extra love and attention over the next five weeks.  There will undoubtedly be lots of Crossfit workouts doing barbell cycling and high rep gymnastic movements like pull-ups which could result in your hands getting banged up and ripped open.

Make sure you invest in a good callus shaver and some quality hand moisturizer.

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I really like the Burt’s Bees Hand Salve, which is available at Whole Foods.  You can pick up a decent callus shaver from your local pharmacy/drug store.  A pumice stone will work as well, but I have had better luck managing my hands with a shaver.

Trim excess calluses at least once a week and moisturize your hands right before you go to bed.


While adequate hydration is something that should be happening every day, during the Open it becomes essential.  Consume at least 1/2 your bodyweight in ounces in water.  This does not mean coffee, juice, or any other beverage.  Maintaining proper levels of hydration ensures that your body is able to flush toxins and junk accumulated during the previous day’s training and also allows all energy systems to function efficiently on game day.


One of my old track coaches told me that, “a hungry lion will run harder to catch its prey.”  I recommend that you workout on a stomach that is pretty well emptied during your Crossfit training.  Digesting food steals blood away from the muscles and heart.  A hard working stomach will not help you move those thrusters.  If you must eat something, make sure that it is a higher glycemic index and low acid carbohydrate.  A banana would be a great choice.  Sweet potatoes are another one of my favorite standbys.  If you can handle fruit juices or sports drinks, those are also simple and easily digestible sources of carbohydrates.


is an endurance sport first before it is a strength and power sport.  While you may need to be ready to perform maximal lifts, the majority of work done in each workout is primarily “submaximal”.  In other words, in the range of 80-90% of your maximal intensity.  As a result, you need to make sure that you can stay as aerobic as possible during each   workout.  Why?  By staying within the realm of the “oxidative” system longer, we can save our “anaerobic” power (think of this system as your afterburners; when you really need to push hard, when tired, this is the system that kicks in) for the final push home at the end of a workout.

However, if you do not adequately prep this system before each Open workout, you will not be able to mine as much power from it.  That’s why we spend more time than usual on our general warm-up prior to a OPEN workout.  A good general aerobic warm-up should include cyclical aerobic movements like running, rowing, cycling on an Airdyne and then more movement specific exercises with a low eccentric demand.  For example if you see a workout with lots of hip hinging movements like deadlifts, cleans, or snatches, we might include a couple of rounds of moderately heavy kettlebell swings.  The general warm-up elevates the heart rate, primes the body’s aerobic enzymes and systems to generate ATP on the double, and finally helps send blood to the areas that will be most needed during your workout.  Not only will a good warm-up help you with the workout itself, but properly warming up helps you recover from the day’s test, too, as a more active aerobic system will help process accumulated waste material out of the fatigued muscles once the workout is completed.


So there you have it, folks.  Make sure to follow these simple tips for a more enjoyable and rewarding Open experience!

If you have any questions about training here at Steelworks Strength Systems and someone will contact you within 24 hours!

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