The yearly fitness event that tests the metal of athletes worldwide.
Maybe this is the year you make The Games? Or the top of your gym’s leaderboard? Maybe you just want to prove something to yourself? Or maybe it’s about being a part of the excitement happening in the gym?
In defining your goals this year, it’s important to set yourself up for success by first addressing the simple question of why?
What’s Your “Why?”
Like a well-run company, understanding your core mission helps guide your actions along the way. Before throwing yourself into the ring, ask yourself this important question:
Why are you doing The Open?
If you’ve invested in this training program for health and wellness, your actions should reflect those priorities. It would be counterproductive to go through physical and mental anguish for something that doesn’t move you closer to where you want to be. But if you have been putting in the work to be your very best and are excited by the competition, then embrace your competitive side and sacrifice a bit.
The Health Mindset
It’s not crazy to participate in The Open if your only concern is being healthy because there are many positive things about this competition unrelated to the leaderboard.
Here are just a few things that come about during the 5-weeks:
1.Community– There is a deep feeling of community as everyone goes through the same weekly challenges. It’s really fun to encourage and be encouraged through hard spots and then celebrate the many victories that happen on a week-by-week basis.
2. Overcoming Obstacles– Most people want to get the most out of their workout time. For that reason, when hard things come up during daily workouts, most choose an option that pushes them physically rather than working on the harder skill. But in The Open, there is a good chance something will come up with no other way around it.
For example, thousands will get their first double under or pull-up because they’ve got no option but to work on it, and many will accomplish something they’ve never done!
That overwhelming sense of accomplishment is an important motivator to continue on your fitness journey. Ultimately making it a time well-spent, even if a warm-up and trying really hard at something was the only thing accomplished during that workout.
3. Do Hard Things– We become complacent with the modern-day conveniences that life pretty easy. What’s forgotten is that maximal life enjoyment is found when we stretch ourselves. Get through that uncomfortable place, and you will find an afterglow of joy and satisfaction on the other side.
4. Test Yourself– The Open is structured so that certain workouts repeat themselves. Assuming that trend continues, it allows you to see how you’ve improved. Seeing this progress is not only motivating, but it helps guide the formation of new goals and directions every year.
5. Fun– It generates some buzz and excitement. It’s fun to watch the workout announcements and hang out with friends. If anything, beer is often at the events, sometimes provided by the gyms for free.
As you can see, The Open is beneficial on many levels, but it’s very important to assess the risk vs. reward during each workout if your sole focus is on health and wellness.
The following guidelines will help you stay on track with the priority of being a happy and healthy human.
(Remember, we are focusing on reasons for doing this other than the leaderboard. If you are concerned with workout scores, you are in this as a competitor, which we will address shortly.)
One and Done
There is no reason to do a workout more than one time during The Open. Understandably you want to put up your best effort, but rather than agonizing over the question of a repeat and then enduring the physical stress of another attempt, focus on active recovery, a couple of good training days, and go into the next workout geared for your best performance.
This also eliminates the ability to compromise with yourself during the workout. As soon as things get uncomfortable, if you’ve got an exit plan of doing it again a few days later, you’re asking for a disappointing result. But if you only got one shot, there’s no other option but to give it your best.
Pain & Injury
If your primary goal is personal improvement, do you feel that hammering through pain is a good representation of this? If you’re dealing with pain issues, it’s time to step back and reassess what will move you closer to your goals. It would be a better alternative to take 5 weeks to address any pain holding you back. After all, you are only competing against yourself, you can always tackle The Open at a later date.
If you’re into The Open for the comradery, enjoy the community by volunteering to judge your gym mates. They would happily repay you when you’re pain-free and want to go through your own personal competition.
Max Effort Lifts
There is a chance that you will see a lift in this year’s competition at a weight you have never done before. It’s important to approach this cautiously, as it can have bad results if things go south.
We recommend that if you reach a point where strength is your limiter, then that’s where your workout ends. If you’ve been working at peak capacity for the last 10 minutes, it’s a bad time to go for a PR attempt on a big lift.
So sign on the dotted line:
Any lifting that comes up in The Open will be at weights I have already performed exceptionally well outside of the context of a timed workout.
Rx’d vs. Scaled
The great conundrum for many is choosing between the Rx’d or Scaled workout option.
Using the above guideline, if the question is centered on a weight involved, have you done the lift at that weight as part of an untimed workout?
If so, long as there is no pain, proceed with the Rx option.
Otherwise, take a deeper look at your purpose, and let that guide you to the correct answer (hopefully, you have a coach to help you with this as well.)
The Competitor Mindset
If you are doing this for the glory, it takes a different approach, and we respect that. There’s an acceptable level of risk for the competitor, as there is a valuable reward for accomplishment.
This obviously includes the athlete vying for a spot at the next level of competition, but also the person who’s in this to compete locally or even among their gym nemesis. We strongly believe that a healthy level of competition is a good thing.
Just don’t be a jerk about it! In the grand scheme, your capability to do thrusters doesn’t make you more important or better than anyone. So practice good sportsmanship, enjoy the competition, and take some risks to finish on top.
But consider this one important thing…
Did you “Pay the Man?”
Showing up at the stadium doesn’t mean you’ve earned the right to play. If you want to compete at a certain level, there is a necessary level of training to get you there. Problems are bound to come up when competition drives an athlete beyond their level of preparation.
Before beating yourself up over sporadic gym attendance, it’s understandable that life circumstances can get in the way. Things like work and family are important and can sidetrack the life of a semi-pro fitness athlete. If you’ve been on weekly work trips for the last 2 months or just added a child to your family, you’re probably working out when you can. Appreciate where you are physically, and try to tune your expectations accordingly. Maybe this year, it would be wise to play for fun and ignore the leaderboard.
Lack of preparation also goes beyond missing workouts as well. If you’re in pain, coming off an injury, or missing the mobility needed to complete the movement standards: you are not physically prepared for the demands of competing in this event. Hopefully, we can help correct some of those issues within this success guide but go into The Open with an understanding of the level of competition you’re ready for.
A purpose usually leads to a goal. However, at this point, it’s limited to just one possible achievement…
Submit a Score on Every Workout!
Any goals to perform at a certain level should have been made many months ago when you could execute a plan to achieve them. Now is the time to trust your preparation and do everything possible to show up at every workout to give it your all.
To achieve this, you will need a plan of attack to stay healthy and perform at your peak for the entire month.
We will help strategize a game plan going into the next 2-weeks with a taper. This will help maximize what you’ve got leading into the first workout. Then week by week, we will be delivering a plan for recovery and preparation for the next week’s workout.
Stay tuned and be sure you are signed up for our newsletter to get these updates!
All the best with your Open competition this year!