Be kind to yourself

The Crossfit Open is a time during the year where athletes can test their fitness, strength, skills and mental toughness. Many athletes sign up with the aim to make it to Regionals, others do it for the pure sense of community and because they love doing Crossfit. This year, I signed up for the Open because I wanted to see where my skills and abilities featured against the rest of the Crossfit world. I know I am nowhere near the best, but I am the best that I have ever been.

When 17.1 was released, all I saw was a shit tonne of dumbbell snatches and many burpee box jump overs in between, which happen to be quite a mental goat for me. After watching Samantha Briggs crush it in 10:14, I figured I could do it in under 15:00. Saturday abruptly arrived and it was time to face the burpees… and 150 dumbbell snatches. I started off feeling great and set a good pace. But, once I hit the set of 40, my back and hamstrings started screaming and it took everything I had to keep going.

Those last 50 snatches were painful and difficult and I slowed down A LOT! I took way too many breaks to try shake out my back and legs and ended up with a disappointing time of 18:20.

For the last couple of days I have been looking at the leader board as well as all the social media posts with everyone’s times and I just could not help comparing my score to theirs and kept telling myself how poorly I performed. I then attempted to redo the workout, but gave up in the round of 30 snatches. My back just was not having it.

Upon reflection, I have been way too hard on myself and have realised that ONE workout does not define how good of an athlete you are. I kept telling myself that I’m just not good enough because my score is so average. This is ridiculous negative self-talk that is not going to benefit me in anyway. I did the best that I could given the situation and there are four more workouts coming up where I can redeem myself.

I was punishing myself mentally and emotionally for not doing as well as expected. Don’t do that! Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and that is the reason we do things like the Open, so we can identify the areas we need to work on. Clearly I need to get stronger and increase my back endurance! Probably work on my dumbbell snatch technique too! But that’s OK! One of the reasons I do this sport is because you can never truly be done getting better. There is always something to work on.

So, morale of the story: Don’t be hard on yourself. Give everything 100%. If you didn’t do as well as expected, recognise where you went on, tell yourself it is OK, and move on. Failing is part of the journey to success. No one ever came out on top without failing first.

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The Crossfit Games Open 

  
For those of you who are die-hard Crossfit fans, you will know exactly what the Crossfit Open is. But those who have no clue what I’m talking about, the Open is the first stage of the Crossfit Games. It is a global, 5 week competition of fitness that consists of one workout per week. Each workout is released weekly and athletes have 4 days to do the workout and log their scores. The workout can be done as many times as one wants as long as a qualified judge with you to ensure that each rep performed is to standard. The top ten of each region then moves on to compete in the regionals, where only a few from each region will qualify to compete in the Crossfit Games (the Super Bowl of Crossfit) 

We are currently in week 3 of the Open, and so far the workouts have proved to be a true test of fitness. 16.1 brought us immense glute pain with 20 minutes of nonstop lunging, burpees and chest to bar pull ups. 16.2 was a true test of strength and speed with a combination of increasing weights squat cleans, toes to bar and double unders. We are now amidst 16.3 which is seriously testing our grip strength with a super quick AMRAP of power snatches and bar muscle ups. So far I have really enjoyed each workout and have done better than I expected to do. At the moment I’m sitting at 69th in South Africa in the RX women’s division which I did not expect at all! 

 

bar muscle ups during 16.3
 
I have learnt so much from the open so far with regards to my training and mental stamina. It truly highlights your strengths and weaknesses and forces you to push yourself past breaking point. I have realized what I need to work on for the next Crossfit open as I am determined to make it to Regionals in the next 3 years. 

The most amazing thing about the open is how it brings communities together and allows people from all levels of fitness to put themselves to the test. Each workout has a scaled option which anyone can do. As a coach, I love watching each athlete push themselves to their limit and fall even more inlove with the sport of fitness.

  

crossfit grahamstown
 
If you are competing in the Crossfit open, I would love to know about your experience so far. As for 16.4…there are bound to be wall balls coming up! Bring it on Dave Castro!