October 17, 2016
Written By: Emir Merzeci
With the “Fight at Foundry II” competition coming up, it’s a good opportunity to talk about how to prepare for a CrossFit competition. Here are some general tips and suggestions:
BEFORE COMPETITION DAY
In order for your body to function properly, it needs to be well hydrated. I can’t stress this enough. You don’t want to get any muscle cramps, feel joint pain, or feel exhausted before or during the competition. Please note that I didn’t just say “drink plenty of water”. Your body needs more than water to be well hydrated. Make sure you get enough electrolytes too. My favorite sources are:
– Pedialyte (liquid – do not consume more than 2 liters a day)
– Osmo Nutrition (powder)
– Nuun (effervescent tablets)
Do Not Change Your Diet or “Carb-load”
During the week leading up to the competition, people like to search for a magic diet that will maximize their performance. Your body adapts to the food you consume over time and figures out how to function optimally with the given nutrients. Changing your diet before a competition will most likely hurt your performance because it will change your body’s physiology and alter its hormonal response. Consequently, things might feel a little “off” during the workouts. Stick to what you normally eat.
Get Some Rest
We all get the pre-competition jitters and want to train hard before the competition. Keeping the intensity high throughout the week and resting the day before may not be the best idea. Every person’s body is different but try taking a rest day 2 days before the competition, and do active recovery the day before. That way your body will have enough time to heal and get rid of any tightness or soreness.
Bring Food and Drinks
And I don’t mean pizza and beer. You’ll need to fuel your body in between the workouts. I prefer to have some granola bars, energy gels, nuts/nut butter, and a rotisserie chicken in my bag. I really do recommend the rotisserie chicken. It’s not dry like a grilled chicken breast, so it’s much easier to eat, especially when you’re not feeling hungry. Also, make sure you have a couple of protein shakes, plenty of water and electrolytes in your bag/cooler.
Prepare Your Bags Ahead of Time
You should have all of your bags (including your gear, food and drinks) ready by late afternoon the day before so you don’t have to stress over packing right before bedtime.
Go to Bed Early the Night Before
The chances are that you’ll have to get to the competition venue/gym very early in the morning. This might mean a 4-5am wake up call. You’ll be nervous about the competition and lose some sleep over it anyway, but try to get at least 8-9 hours.
ON COMPETITION DAY
Make sure you’re up at least 3 hours prior to your first event.
Don’t Try Anything New
It’s important to refrain from trying anything new on competition day. This includes anything from a new protein drink you’ve never had to the cute sports bra you bought yesterday. You don’t want to deal with any surprises.
Eat and Hydrate
Remember all that food you prepared? You should munch on it in between the workouts. You most likely won’t be feeling hungry due to the high activity level and competition jitters, but you have to fuel and hydrate your body. A lot of athletes skip this step and end up under-performing, or crashing after one or two workouts.
Warm Up Properly for the Events
If you have enough time, start your preparation about 45-60 minutes before the event.
5-10min: Get your circulation going. This might be a light jog, easy row or assault bike. Also, go through your general joint prep routine.
5-10min: General Mobility: This is will be different for everyone. Address some of the mobility restrictions you have and loosen up your body.
5-10min: Event-Specific Mobility: Depending on the movements you have in the event, this is a good time to address specific areas of your body. For example, open up your hips if you have squats, work on your thoracic spine and shoulders if you have push presses, or both if you have overhead squats!
5-10min: Dynamic Prep: Time to wake up your muscles. This phase may include some leg swings, explosive good mornings with an empty barbell etc.
15min Prior to the Event: Start moving up to your weights for the event. Practice the movements and transitions. Mentally prepare yourself for “go time”.