Written by: Coach James “The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential...These are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence” – Confucius The CrossFit Open is back again, and with it, nervous excitement and apprehension in the air. To the seasoned veteran, the Open marks another year of continual self-improvement, an opportunity to showcase the previous 12 months of hard work, or possibly a chance to reprioritize their fitness if their performance isn’t what they had hoped for. But to the rookie CrossFitter, the Open can be a bit daunting, if not a complete mystery. They’re told the Open is the first step en route to the CrossFit Games, where some of the world’s best athletes battle it out over more than a dozen tests in a week-long test of fitness in Madison, WI. They may say, ‘I’m not ever going to be a Games athlete, why would I bother signing up?’ And they would likely be right. Only the top .01% of competitors make it to the big stage. But that isn’t the point of registering or competing. To the other 99.99% of CrossFitters, the Open is an excellent way to reinvigorate the commitment we made to ourselves when we started our respective fitness journeys and remind us all of why we put ourselves through this discomfort week in and week out: to shed our self- imposed limitations, to appreciate the results of our hard work, and to do it in an environment where each of our fellow competitors want to see us succeed. For those of you who don’t typically view yourselves as competitive, I challenge you to look at the Open a little differently. Your lives are often incredibly complex and busy, and you might find it difficult to keep fitness in the forefront of your mind all year long. You’ve heard us talk about consistency, long term progress, the “grind”. You may struggle to find balance, and for good reason: there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day. You’re overworked, overstimulated, underslept, and undernourished. For the next 5 weeks, let’s aim to change that. The Open gives us the opportunity to hit the reset button, to make time to take care of ourselves, and to see just how much change is possible in a month’s time. One of the least sexy topics to think about, but one of the single most important items to optimize is sleep, both quality and quantity. Bodies thrive on rhythm and routine, so to the best of your ability, aim to wake up around the same time every day. Yes, weekends also. Your body doesn’t know or care that it’s Sunday. Sleeping in on the weekends just makes those Mondays that much more difficult to wake up for. Of course, we’d like you to get 7-8hrs of sleep every night, but if you can’t commit to that yet, let’s settle for going to bed 30min earlier than usual. Bonus points if you can set your phone down an hour before that. Next up is hydration and fuel. Drink more water! An alarming percentage of adults are chronically dehydrated, which is evident by the number of people asking to borrow water bottles over the past month in the gym. Proper hydration has been shown to improve people’s energy and mood, while increasing mental clarity and athletic performance. A good place to start for an active adult is to drink 1oz per pound of body weight per day. The feeling of having to run to the bathroom constantly will subside after a couple days, I promise. As far as nutrition is concerned, for the purposes of this challenge, just eat as much real food as possible. There are so many rabbit holes to dive into with regard to nutrition, but let’s start by filling our plates and bellies with food, not food products. The less ingredients, the better. Not to be ignored is the importance of skill development. As we’ve discussed in the past, skills are qualities that need to be practiced. Whether you’re learning to play guitar, shoot a basketball, or string together double unders, intentional practice is necessary to take yourself from where you are to where you want to be. It doesn’t have to be exhaustive, in fact it shouldn’t be. Practice takes a lot of focus, and it helps if your heart rate isn’t redlined with the music at full volume. If you truly want to improve in an area of your fitness, spend 10 to 15 minutes each day before or after class practicing specific skills you want to improve. Last, but not least, is mindset. We talk often about mindset in CrossFit, and for good reason. What we do is hard! It’s easier hit the snooze button, to lay in our nice, warm beds, and to say we’ll make it there tomorrow. It’s easier to go through the drive-thru, rather than the grocery store after a long day at work. Even in the workout itself, it’s easier take an extra 10-15sec rest when our legs and lungs are on fire, rather than to earn those extra few reps at the end of a long AMRAP. Choose the hard way. Seek progress, rather than perfection. Keep the self-talk positive. Give yourself a little grace on days you don’t feel 100%, and throttle down on the days you do. Always be more impressed more by effort than by talent. Most of all, when you want to give in to the struggle, remember that we’re all in this together. The 2019 Reebok CrossFit Games Open is the largest fitness competition on earth, with over 400,000 participants last year alone. It begins on Thursday, February 21st at 5pm PST. For each of the following five weeks, CrossFit HQ will release a workout to the community, offering both Rx and Scaled options, and gyms around the world will have until Monday at the same time for their athletes to perform these workouts and submit them online. Here at CrossFit Infinite Strength, our plan is to perform these workouts in classes on Fridays, with a Friday Night Lights style event during the 1st and 5th weeks to kick off and wrap up the Open season in place of the evening classes. More details on how to sign up for these heats will be sent out via Facebook and email, so stay tuned! To register officially for the CrossFit Open, sign up at games.crossfit.com and make sure to write your name on the board in the gym next to the workout TV’s!