Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tips for the CrossFit Games Competitor

Games season is upon us. Many of my clients at CrossFit Marin are preparing to compete in the Northern California sectionals next weekend in San Jose. I am very confident that they will represent CFM proudly, that being said there are a few things that all games competitors should be aware of during the final week before the competition. Here is my list of the top five pieces of advice for the first time games competitor:

1. You need to realize that your performance in the Games will be a product of the training that you have done over the course of the last one, two, three or even five years of your life. Do not use this week to make up for lost time. What I mean by this is do not trick yourself into thinking that the more work (working out) that you do this week, the fitter and more prepared you will be for the games on Saturday. In fact, it is just the opposite. This week needs to be a taper week. A week in which you might do one or maybe two hard workouts early in the week and the rest of the week should be spent resting, icing, doing mobility work, and maybe doing a contrast shower or two (check out my post titled: “Recover” from November 18th for more information on contrast showers.)

2. Eat the way that you have been eating for the last two to three months. Don’t decide to change your diet this week. Ideally you have acclimated to a paleo (or very close to paleo) diet at this point and all you need to do is bring along a cooler with the types of meats, nuts, fruits and veggies that you eat regularly. If the vast majority of what you eat could be purchased at a 7/11 than stop at the 7/11 on the way to San Jose and pick up the stuff that you normally eat. Worry about changing your eating habits after the competition so that your body will be able to acclimate to a new nutritional protocol and so that you can tinker with the nutrient timing and the types of foods that you run best on.

3. Utilize relaxation techniques (see “The Mental Approach” 12/16/09 and “The Art of Olympic Yawning” 2/17/09) before your events. Bring your ipod and play some tunes that you like to get your brain producing dopamine (makes you feel good) before you compete. There are going to be a lot of people at the sectionals and I guarantee you that you are going to be at least a little bit nervous. So take deep breaths, relax, envision yourself speedily and successfully completing the workout, and have fun. Use your nerves to fuel your performance.

4. I alluded to this one in #3, but it is so important that it needs to be stated again. Use visualization to power your performance. Visualize yourself successfully completing the workouts the way in which you want to complete them.

5. Have fun. The adrenaline rush of competition is unmatched. So do not put any pressure on yourself and just have a blast.


  1. ben, you forgot a very important one: don't get sick. unfortunately, that happened to me and i am now likely not even a starter this coming weekend. i have a fever, cough, congestion, etc. great.

  2. These are very wise tips. Thanks Ben

  3. Thanks for the helpful info, Ben. As one of those competitors myself, I am indeed pretty nervous. I was considering trying a recovery drink or supplement during the sectionals because I wanted to give myself all the extra help I can get -- but you're right, I better experiment with new stuff after the sectionals are over.

    I'm thinking of putting iron-on letters on my t shirts with my name on them, because next to having an audience watching you (per your most recent post, which I enjoyed), having them actually yelling your name must be pretty motivating.

    Thanks as always for your wise advice and great tips and training over at CrossFit Marin. I'll bring some pictures back from San Jose. For now, I'm envisioning myself running fast and lifting steadily.