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The Open is Over: Now What?

julieBy Hannah Hudson

You thought this day would never come: The end of the 2014 CrossFit Open. Break out the frozen yogurt and ease yourself onto the foam roller.” Done and done,” you say, “Now what?” It is a question I find myself asking a lot after the rush of adrenaline has slowed to a trickle. You brought your best for five weeks – no excuses and all your fears were silenced by sheer determination. After the rush has settled, what’s to keep you from falling back on your same routine?

After the Open, I have a renewed sense of self-worth that burns strong for a few weeks, and then I’m back to my old ways of sometimes pushing myself and only giving 80% heart during the WODs. Don’t get me wrong, giving 100% all the time isn’t always possible or even beneficial, but more often than not I could be giving more heart to my training. If I trained every day with a sense of purpose, what goals could I reach? If I spent my days preparing to tackle the 2015 Open with the same focus and energy I used the past few weeks, would my mental and physical capabilities be any different?

The problem is the 2015 Open is a year away, and while enthusiasm ran high for five weeks, we need to utilize our strengths, work on our weaknesses, and not lose ourselves to a frozen yogurt coma for the rest of the year. For veterans and beginners alike, here are a few tips to get the most from the Open and ride your motivation into the next year.

Goal Setting

Goals keep us motivated and moving forward, not just physically, but mentally as well. When we set goals we are reaching beyond our current abilities, challenging ourselves to rise up and be more. Setting a goal is one of the most powerful things you can do to change your future, because it forces you to look beyond your current limitations and believe that you will change – that you can change. When we set goals, we are investing in our future selves and making a promise that we will succeed.

So what type of goals can we set? That’s entirely up to you, but I would recommend that you look to the Open for clues as to what to work towards. For me, I know I struggle a great deal with pull-ups and double unders; basic movements that have hindered my performance in many a WOD. I’d love to never scale these two movements ever again, but first I have to set smaller goals in order to attain my dreams of never being slapped by a jump rope or slowed by a resistance band. By setting smaller goals we’re able to check those off our list faster than, say, a Goal to End All Goals, which helps keep our motivation strong. Set some goals and see where they take you!

Find a Local Competition

If you’re saying, “That’s all good and fine, but I crushed the Open, what do I do now?” Congratulations, that’s a huge accomplishment and you should be proud of yourself, but I understand – you want more. If you’re ready for a challenge, but don’t want to compete on a professional level try signing up for some local competitions. Between now and the games there are countless events going on. Outside of CrossFit my new favorite way to stay in shape is by training for obstacle racing, which has become a mainstay among the CrossFit community. If you’ve never signed up for one, you should fix that. Right now!

Obstacle races are both fun and challenging, and with their rise to popularity it’s easy to find one that fits with your current goals. They’re a great way to take your fitness to the next level, whether through endurance or mental performance. These races will push you to every limit you have and leave you wanting more. How? I don’t know, because I’m usually thinking “Why did I sign up for this torture?” Then again – isn’t that what most of us say during a WOD? Consider these races like a graduate course in CrossFit; they’re tough, but you learn a lot about yourself and expose your strengths alongside your weaknesses. Plus, they’re just good clean (sometimes dirty) fun!

Learn a New Sport

Despite what catchy slogans may tell you, we don’t come to CrossFit to leave it all at the box. CrossFit trains us for going out and dominating our everyday lives, it would be a shame if we only used our training for doing regular workouts and nothing more. The best thing you can do is go out into the world and use the tools you’ve gained to enhance your daily life; applying those snazzy new skills to learning something new.

For many of us, these summer months are the perfect chance to get outdoors; go for a trail run, join a community soccer league, or just have some fun doing something other than strict gym work. Not only will it enhance your performance, you’ll meet new people and expand your life experiences, which leads to a more interesting, inspired you.

Whether your aim is to perfect your muscle ups, run your first obstacle race, or just have fun outside the box – you can use your experiences from the 2014 CrossFit Open to continue to set new goals, motivating you to be and do more this year than you thought possible.

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