Tips to Prepare for Your First Competition

We love that so many DCCF-ers have signed up for their first CrossFit competitions this summer. There are a handful of people signed up for the beginner division of Kentuckiana’s Fittest as well as the team division of the End of Summer Throwdown. As we mentioned in our latest enewsletter, we’re going to program classes to help everyone prepare for these events.

Here are some other tips to consider for the weeks and days leading up to your first competition.

1. Nutrition – Hopefully you’re already subscribed to the Eat-to-Perform Nutrition Program and are reaping the benefits of a little food monitoring coupled with a bit of meal preparation. If you haven’t yet, or if you’re signed up but not actually using the advice given to you by ETP’s experts, then you should. Unfortunately, you can’t benefit from improved nutrition overnight, and you can’t undo weeks of bad eating overnight. So, you should be eating better “now” to prepare for the competition “later”.

Also, the night before your competition is the wrong time to experiment with a new eating plan. If you’ve been eating bread without any ill effects, keep eating bread. Don’t try to throw in something weird that you’ve never eaten before. Your body has acclimated to your nutrition, so don’t surprise it the night before your comp. You don’t want your bowels to be irritated with you during a comp.

Ok, so let’s say you’ve been eating well for the weeks leading up to the competition, but what about the competition day? Again, stick with foods you’re familiar with, and between events, try to fit in small meals or shakes with a little protein, high carb, and low fat to refuel. Consider protein shakes with coconut water, and add some real food like “Best Ever Bars” and easily digestible carbs like bananas, mashed sweet potatoes, or white rice. Tuna and chicken can be easily digested as a protein source besides just whey protein powder, and they taste fine when eaten cold out of a small container.

2. Feedback – The smallest things can have a huge impact on your performance in a competition, if you begin to work on those things now. So, ask for feedback on all of your movements, your lifts, your bodyweight gymnastics, how you tie your shoes, your posture, how you hold your phone when you text, how you walk… seriously, the smallest things can have a huge impact on how you perform. Your coaches will throw as many tips at you as we think you can handle, but don’t be afraid to ask for more feedback. We want to help, but we also don’t want to overload you, or annoy the sh*t out of you with small details if you don’t really care.

3. Week Prior – The week before the competition is a deloading week. So, you should consider backing off the intensity & weights in class and adding some additional at-home mobility work. Whether you have or haven’t done the physical preparation, the truth is you won’t be any more fit this week than you were last week. Your fitness is what it is, so let your body heal this week. Accept your current fitness, strength and skill level as it is today. There is no need to stress over the movements you don’t possess great command of yet.

Also, take good care of your hands this week… there’s nothing worse than showing up to a competition with already-ripped or sore hands. Keep them sanded and moisturized.

4. Prepare Your Gym Bag – Your gym bag for a competition is usually bigger than it is for a normal day at the gym… if for no other reason than all the food/shakes you’ve packed. But, also, bring some extra shorts, shirts, socks, etc… as you may feel better in each WOD if you’re performing each in dry clothing; not the same sweaty shirt from your first WOD. Also, make sure you’ve got your gloves (if you use them), wrist wraps, athletic tape, belt, weightlifting shoes, jump rope, lacrosse ball, VooDoo wrap, deodorant, whatever… this isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a decent starting point.

5. Mental – Ok, the first four points were just foreplay for this fifth point, as it’s easily the most important factor for beginner competitions. You need to prep yourself mentally so that you can relax and be “in the moment” during each WOD. Don’t overanalyze and stress out leading up to the comp or especially the day-of the comp. Don’t worry about your performance or how well you place. You can only control you. Enjoy the experience and learn about who you are as an athlete and perhaps as a person. Enjoy spending a day with your gym friends, meeting other athletes, vendors, etc… Sure, it’s a competition but it’s also a celebration of your fitness and your life. So when the events get hard… SMILE! You’re doing exactly what you wanted to do today and that’s pretty damn cool.

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