Although it’s too late to register and compete in the prestigious Wodapalooza online qualifier, there are plenty of fitness throwdowns that have moved in the direction of offering a preliminary multi-week, multi-workout Open-style qualification process.
Even if you don’t expect to qualify for the actual event, or even if you don’t intend to travel to wherever the competition might be, there’s still huge value in registering and completing an online qualifier test of fitness. Here are 5 good ones:
5. CrossFit Open practice
If you’re like me, you probably get at least a little bit of anxiety (in my case severe anxiety) during the CrossFit Games Open competition. From the moment the workout gets announced on Wednesday evening to the final Monday of the 5th week, I usually spend most of my time thinking about the workout of the week and/or checking the leaderboard. While I know it’s not healthy to be so consumed, I can’t seem to help it!
A local throwdown that offers an online qualifier is good practice to learn how to handle the stress of the Open: A good way to practice the mindset you intend to have during the Open.
To do this, I suggest you keep a log of what’s going on in your life during the course of the qualifier. Pay attention and make note of things like:
1. Your anxiety levels when the workout is announced
2. Your anxiety levels the day of the workout
3. Your sleep
4. Your diet
5. The emotions and the self-talk that goes through your mind on game day/just before the workout/during the workout
6. Your warm-up
7. What goes right and what goes wrong
An online qualifier is a great chance to tinker with what works and what doesn’t when it comes to things like self-talk, warm-up and diet. It’s your chance to try new things in a competition-like environment, so when the Open comes around you will have dialled in the little things that make a big difference.
Think of an online qualifier as a dress rehearsal for the big show: A learning experience and a chance to put yourself in the best position for the real deal.
Learning how to stay calm during a competition, online or otherwise, is key!
4. Training versus Competition
While most of your time at the gym should be spent training, competition is also important to truly test yourself. When you pay the fee and register and see your name on the leaderboard roster, the workout will feel different than a normal training workout does. You will likely push a little harder than normal, which is a great way to truly see where your fitness is at. Then you can use what you learned about your fitness during the qualifier competition to reassess where your training intensity should be.
In this Cascade Classic blog, world renowned coach James FitzGerald, the owner or Opex Fitness in Scottsdale, Arizona, talks about the importance of figuring out how to pace yourself in competition in a way that optimizes your performance and your recovery. Often this means going at 80% intensity, as opposed to red lining at 100% intensity. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to know exactly what 80% effort is if you don't know what 100% effort feels like. A great time to learn this is to put yourself out there in competition.
3. Bang for your buck!
Online qualifiers are great because you can fit them into your individual training schedule for the week. You don’t need to give up an entire weekend to travel to a competition three hours away. Instead, it’s a stress-free environment in which to compete that you can work into your week in a way that doesn’t interrupt your big picture training plan.
2. Adapting to a new stimulus
A huge part of fitness comes down to being able to adapt to anything that is thrown our way. I don’t care how good your coach is, I think it’s always healthy to do something that falls outside your normal routine from time to time. Keeps your body guessing and adapting.
1. Ease you into competition
If you fall into the scared to compete category—meaning you want to sign up for your first competition but are scared to put yourself out there—it’s an absolute great introduction to competition. You’ll feel the nerves and anxiety of a competition, but you’ll be in the comfort of your own gym. It will help you build the confidence you have been looking for to put yourself out there in front of an audience at the next local throwdown.
Lacing up in the comfort of your own gym!
As an added bonus, most online qualifiers only cost in the neighbourhood of $25, so the next time one comes up, don’t hesitate to put yourself out there.