It’s been a long 5 weeks and the cherry on top was some thrusters that caused many to feel flu-like symptons, what’s not to love?!
Overall, we’ve been through a month of higher intensity, higher stress, and possibly more volume than your typical weekly Crossfit experience. Majority of Crossfit Open athletes are at their Crossfit gym to get better at life outside of the gym. Their usual training involves 5 class WODs on a good week and eating habits balancing between eating for health and performance and eating to enjoy life. Regardless, whether you are a Regional bound athlete or the above describes you, you may be feeling “off” now as the Open is coming to a close.
It is totally normal to have that feeling by now. Your body is stressed. Whether you notice it or not all the of the hype, anticipation, comparison and excitement has impacted your internal environment – stress hormones increase and results in a domino effect of physical symptoms. Along with our inner, emotional stresses, we are also experiencing a lot more external stress than our usual class workouts. Some members PR’ed their deadlift at 135lbs during 18.4 then proceeded to lift it 21+ more times!! Engines were pushed and tested during 18.2’s squats and burpees and calves were toasted during 18.3. Then we topped it off with some chest-to-bars and dry-heaves, all maybe PRs as well. The extra push we get during Friday Night Lights causes us to push our bodies to its extreme, which is what makes the Open so amazing! However, our bodies take the toll of it all after 5 tough weeks and we need to return the love when it all comes to a close.
Finishing the Open
First things first, we need to focus on finishing this thing out! While you may be feeling exhausted and over it, tired of so much preparation and planning and the constant soreness and fatigue, keep up your good habits for this one last workout if you haven’t completed it yet! Your body will thank you if you keep up all the recovery/fuel to go into 18.5! If you’ve already completed it, congrats & don’t forget to submit your score!
Eating after the Open
Whether you have been diligently tracking your macros or not, the week after the Open is a very ideal time to take a break.
While tracking your foods is an awesome habit to develop (and was probably so helpful to make sure you were getting enough fuel during the Open), it can still be a little overwhelming for you. It also puts a cap on your intake, which typically is a good thing, but Post-Open it is best to listen to your body. So whether or not you track strictly or have a typical routine for eating, try to pay attention to how you’re feeling as your guide instead of an app. Poor sleep, sluggishness, continued soreness, grumpiness or headaches could all be symptoms of poor nutrition and in this case from under fueling your body and your recovery from the Open!
I prescribe to all of my one-on-one nutrition clients to take a week of intuitive eating so they can let their body take care of itself! This short phase will even help them be more successful when they do get back to tracking because they won’t be deprived of the good foods they love! So take a week off, enjoy what you’d like to enjoy (without going ridiculously over board) and let your body get the much deserved rest, recovery, and refuel that it needs!
Moving after the Open
Similar to needing the mental break from tracking your nutrition, your body definitely needs a physical break! Take a week off from anything high intensity! If you’re lucky enough to go to CrossfitOP, I’ve programmed the week to help you get your movement in but not run you further into the ground :).
Focus on extra mobility and light movement. Go for some walks outside to work away some soreness and get some of the healing powers of nature! Attend a few yoga classes to relax your mind and body and get stretched out. Practice some mindfulness with meditative breathing and enrich your body with plenty of oxygen and balanced hormones! There are still plenty of ways for you to stay active while letting your body recover!
I don’t feel like I need a break, what if I just jump right back into training?
Well, here’s the thing, you definitely need to dial back the intensity some. If you are moving on to Regional Qualifiers, you will especially want to take a few days if not the whole week to physically and mentally recuperate to gear up for even more intensity! This could make or break your performance going forwards!
If your season ends here and you’re headed back into your year of training, this week could also be a make or break for you success down the line throughout the year! Under-recovery can have continuous, damaging effects. It can be as simple as limiting your strength potential (so if you’re the person who didn’t do well in 18.2a and are hoping to build some strength in this off season) to lowering your lactic threshold (if you’re hoping to build up your engine in the upcoming months) to impacting your immune system, energy levels, hormone balance and more that don’t only ruin your gym performance but your day-to-day life as well!!
It should be pretty clear how important this next week can be to your long term success! Taking time off is one of those things that sound easy but it actually turns out to be pretty hard…if you can do what’s hard for this next week your training and your overall health will thank you! Do your light movement, be intuitive with what your body is needing to refuel, and really relax! Take this opportunity to catch up on the things that get put on the back burner; go see a new movie, clean out your closet, organize your tupperware drawer, go visit your grandma…put your usual Crossfit energy towards something else productive and everything will benefit!