Brutal but incredibly wonderful, like the sport always is.
I’m going to tell you about:
- The competition itself
- What I did this time in preparation, and…
- How I am going to change it next time.
We drove to Rochester on Friday, myself and three others, then stayed the night before driving to Buffalo early Saturday morning. Mistake #1: Not enough sleep. I woke up at 5:30 am, had breakfast around 6:30 am, and had 2-3 cups of coffee in me when 11am hit and it was time to compete. My only meal was breakfast, which I know for a fact was a mistake.
In past competitions, I’ve been smart and snacked every 30-60 minutes on fruit or homemade trail mix. I didn’t do that this time, most likely because of the combination of nerves and lack of sleep. When it was time to compete, my heart was beating out of my chest (stress), and I didn’t spend enough time warming up, although I felt warm enough.
During my event, I immediately felt the effects of a lack of glucose in my system, under-warm muscles and lungs, too little rest, and too much caffeine. I immediately learned from my mistakes, and realized that it was likely not that I could have lost all strength and endurance from a few days off, but rather that my body was ill-prepared to handle strenuous activity from a lack of preparation.
My event was a 10 minute AMRAP (as many reps as possible) of:
- 20 wall balls at 10#
- 15 power cleans at 65#
- 10 calorie row
I completed 2.5 rounds. I should have been able to complete at least 4. Here’s what I did wrong.
Do’s and Don’ts
DO: Get a good night’s sleep. And by this, I suggest at least 8-9 hours.
DON’T: Spend the evening traveling and then get to bed late with a 5:30 am wake-up call.
WHY: I’m convinced that, because I didn’t get enough sleep, I over-did it on the caffeine and under-did it on the food. We’ll get to the food point next. My body most likely wasn’t fully recovered with the lack of sleep, which affected my performance.
This is my exhausted face, walking off the floor after my event. I wanted to collapse at this point.
DO: Eat frequently.
DON’T: Try to compete on a 5-hour empty stomach.
WHY: Your body needs fast fuel, dangnabbit. At my last competition, I made sure to bring fat- and carb-dense snacks to keep me going, and this my friends, was smart. I had a small-medium breakfast, and then snacked frequently, about every hour. According to this article, it’s best to have carbohydrates 20-45 minutes before exercise for the best insulin response. Otherwise, you risk a hypoglycemic response to your food and that’s just no good.
- Whole fruit
- Homemade trail mix with unsweetened, dried fruit and coconut, raw nuts and seeds, and a handful of chocolate chips if you’re like me and love chocolate
- Cookies like these ones
- Larabars or homemade Larabars
- Dried figs with almond or sunflower seed butter
Cleans with my friend’s cool husband FTW.
DON’T: Blast your loud music, jump around, do some stretches, sprint a little, and then think all is fine and dandy because your heart rate is through the roof. (we’ll get to that in more detail in the next one)
WHY: Your muscles (and your lungs) need to be properly warmed up in order to work to the best of their ability.
Suggestions for good warm-up exercises:
- Dynamic stretches
- PVC pipe and foam rolling
- Moderate weightlifting
- Air squats and wall balls
- Kettlebell swings
It’s typically best to warm-up with exercises that complement the workout you are about to do. For example, if I were preparing to do Fran (21-15-9 of thrusters and pull-ups), I would row, foam roll, use a PVC, and then do air squats, a few pull-ups, and some kettlebell swings. You don’t want to do the workout, but you want to do exercises that warm the muscles you’re about to use.
DON’T: Over-do it.
WHY: Caffeine will help boost your performance (a cup of coffee’s worth of caffeine about an hour pre-workout), but too much increases your risk of injury, heart complications, and rhabdo. Being sure to get plenty of sleep (back to #1) will avoid being over-zealous with the caffeine, but only to a point. Be conscious of your intake, and adjust accordingly based on your body size and typical consumption. For most people, a cup will do.
NOTE: Please avoid energy drinks at all costs. They are just stinkin bad for you. If you take an athletic energy supplement, follow the directions accordingly.
DON’T: Get down on yourself or use negative reinforcement.
WHY: Have you ever heard of the Pavlov’s Dog experiment? People, like dogs, repeat behaviors that are rewarded. Remind yourself of times that you have worked hard and achieved a PR or knocked a goal off of your list. Create patterns for success and visualize yourself doing well in your event. Winning, even. Visualization patterns will help you to believe that you can achieve whatever goal it is you are setting for yourself and making it happen. Find your happy place, and use the visualization of success – not fear of losing – motivate you.
A FEW THINGS:
Thank you so much for your patience with these sporadic blog posts. When I first started blogging, I was pretty smart and scheduled all of my posts for about 6am, which kept me on a good schedule and feeling like a happy camper. Plus all of you started to figure that out and come at this time too. So, we’re starting that again. Bright and early, these posts will be up for you.
So far, lots of great feedback on yesterday’s post about local businesses and your dolla dolla bills, ya’ll. Check it out!
Currently: Sipping on Coconut Cocoa tea and making my schedule for the week. Including: CrossFit, working time, eating time, and possibly most importantly, resting time. Fail to plan and plan to fail.
- What are your do’s and don’ts before a workout or competition?
- Any additions or subtractions to what I said above?
- Are you a CrossFitter? What’s your favorite competition event? (I love anything heavy)