If you have been following along, you know that it’s CrossFit Open time! This means that you have traded your aesthetics for performance, and you know that you need to prioritize RECOVERY above everything else.
But what about fueling and recovering from repeated attempts?
What about the fact that you are doing less overall volume now?
What about the added stress of leaderboard watching?
Listen, I get it – it’s a stressful time of year – but as always, I am going to guide you through this SUCCESSFULLY.
In this week’s blog, we are going to dive deeper into how to fuel and recover from multiple attempts, and how to handle the stress of the five week phase known as the open.
Don’t hit the panic button, just keep reading, and rest assured that I am ALL iN with you!
How many times?
Every week, the question is asked – Should I repeat this workout?
We could debate this question until the end of time, but I’m not sure we will ever get full agreement on the possible answers.
The “gurus” will tell you that you should only repeat workouts if you have a serious chance of getting to regionals.
Your gym owner will probably give you the green light to do whatever you want.
And as always, the real truth probably lives somewhere in between.
To be fair – this article is not about debating this point, it’s to help you understand how to move forward no matter what you decide.
Understanding Dose Response
Every dose of training requires a subsequent dose of recovery.
With this in mind, it is logical that every dose of competition requires a subsequent, larger dose of recovery.
If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you know that this should come in the form of additional carbohydrate as well as adequate sleep. Other recovery modalities like body work, breathing work, and even movement work are encouraged – but from a performance nutrition perspective, lets focus on CARBS!
Most notably, extra carbs in the immediate post workout window are advised, typically at a minimum of 25g.
For most, an additional dose of carbohydrate will also be recommended later in the day to assist with sleep quality, and to assist with keeping the cortisol curve “normal.”
In the context of a seven day window, this should be relatively sufficient…..
BUT WHAT IF YOU REPEAT THE WORKOUT?
To be completely honest, this answer will vary from week to week – and will be largely dependent on the dose response of the workout as well as the recovery debt that has been created over multiple weeks of competition.
For the purposes of this blog, we will use week 1, or 18.1 as the stimulus.
This workout was relatively aerobic in nature, and while you likely hit your aerobic threshold at some point, you should not have redlined too hard, and there was no significant overload form heavy weights in the workout.
With that in mind, the strategy outlined above (post workout carbs + extra evening carbs) combined with the fact that this was the first open workout (no recovery debt) should be more than sufficient to create an environment of recovery.
Even if you chose to do it again, you should’ve been plenty recovered and ready to crush it.
Obviously every attempt should result in the same attention to recovery, but understand that multiple attempts will begin to create to aforementioned recovery debt.
This can manifest itself in two ways:
1 – The need to begin increasing daily macros. I typically recommend this to someone trains with higher volume, or is a more advanced trainee.
2 – The need to consider a small “load” the night before week 2. This will be recommended to trainees who aren’t performing a lot of volume and/or intensity during the week, but still need to observe the beginning of a recovery debt.
Either way, as you can see the goal is to COMPLETELY RECOVER from each attempt, and recreate the same fueling environment you were building prior to week 1 of the open when you were completely fresh.
I will address this again in the coming weeks as we see what 18.2-18.5 look like, but for now this will leave you perfectly recovered, and fueled for week 2.
The Mental Aspect
OK, so you have the fuel and recovery piece – but I would be remiss if I did not mention the fact that the Open is likely the most stressful five weeks of the year for CrossFitters.
On the surface, The Open is just 5 weeks of intense workouts designed to qualify you for Regionals – but let’s be real…it’s so much more than that.
It’s talked about for weeks and months prior to its beginning….
It’s analyzed a million ways from Sunday….
And ultimately it’s how you will (unjustly) base the efficacy of your training this past year….
Talk about STRESSFUL!
As you know by now, fitness is all about STRESS, and subsequent ADAPTATION. As stressors are increased, we MUST increase our ability to recover if we desire to see RESULTS (in this case, a higher placing on the leaderboard.)
Nutritionally speaking, this CAN mean an increase in carbohydrate. This won’t be the case for everyone, but if your stress levels are abnormally high, I would highly recommend that you consider two things:
1 – Shifting a larger percentage of carbohydrates to your pre-bed meal.
2 – Increasing your carb count for the day, and adding those extra carbs directly to your dinner or pre-bed meal.
This will help with sleep quality, which will be your greatest ally in controlling the nervous system through these stressful five weeks.
Non nutritionally speaking – RECOGNIZE THE STRESS.
Stop mindlessly refreshing the leaderboard – you can’t control the scores coming in.
Maximize what you can control – YOUR EFFORT AND YOUR RECOVERY.
At this point I’ve given you the tools for recovery, and your training should’ve prepared you to execute within your effort!
If you have followed this blog all year, you were fueled on Thursday when 18.1 was announced.
You periodized your nutrition, you recovered throughout the year, and you kept yourself hormonally healthy.
Now let’s put it to use!
Crush the workout – recover from the workout – control your stressors – continue recovering – and then CRUSH IT EVERY WEEK!
I will update you each week for the rest of the open, and ensure you have the tools to continue maximizing your open performance 🙂
Until next week…keep eating and sleeping!