The first weekend of the WOD Travel Series is only a few days away. With that in mind, we’ve provided some general tips to help guide you through your day of competition, and to make you a better competitor:
Rule #1 – Have Fun!
DO NOT WORRY ABOUT YOUR PERFORMANCE IN YOUR FIRST 5-10 COMPETITIONS. It’s that simple. Too many people go into a competition completely freaked out about how they’re going to perform or how they’re going to look on the competition floor. A little nervous excitement is fine, but plan on your first 5-10 competitions being nothing but a learning experience. I know Games competitors who will go to competitions with no intention of winning, just to see where they are with their training and to gain valuable competition experience. This Saturday should be all about having fun, hanging out with your fellow athletes, and learning a few things along the way.
Everyone wants to go 110% on competition day, often at the expense of their own body, or at the expense of others. If your clean PR is 200lbs it’s not going to be 300lbs on competition day. Pick weights and reps that you know you can handle, do your reps in a controlled fashion, and be aware of the competitors around you. I’ve seen too many athletes try to go for obscene PRs and almost fall into a rig or dump their bar into the athletes in front of or behind them.
Eat the Same Food you Always Eat the Day Before the Competition
Don’t “carbo-load” or eat some magical competition prep meal that you read about in a magazine. Drink plenty of water and consume the same healthy foods that you normally eat the day before the competition.
Get up Early and Eat a Good Breakfast
Breakfast is going to be the primary meal that will help fuel you throughout the day. I know way too many competitors that get up an hour before a competition, have some coffee and water, then try to compete. Even if this doesn’t leave you feeling tired immediately, the results will begin to show later on in the day. Fatigue sets in more quickly and your ability to recover between heats is reduced. I suggest waking up 3 hours before your competition, giving yourself ample time to eat breakfast (and for food to settle), and ample time for your body to become completely awake.
Post WOD Nutrition
I would suggest doing 20oz of water and 20g of protein along with 20g of carbohydrate post workout. I prefer to do SFH (protein) along with dextrose powder (carb) in shake form, but do what works for you. If you’ve never done protein/carb shakes post WOD, I don’t suggest testing them out at your first competition. Consume what you typically eat and know won’t upset your stomach. A good alternative is a protein bar – I suggest Rx Bars or Perfect Foods Bars. Both have all natural ingredients and a good balance of protein and carbs. Considering the WOD Travel series is a shorter competition (9am – 3pm), you should be able to get by with a protein shake or two and a couple bars during the day. If you were at an all day or multiple day competition, I would suggest getting in an actual meal (meat, veggies, fruit, fat) when you have a large gap between heats.
Warm-up for 30min Before Every Heat
I’ve never seen someone warm-up too much. One of the biggest mistakes I see at competitions is inadequate warm-up by competitors. Give yourself 30-40 minutes before your heat to start warming up. You should break a sweat, and then start focusing on the movements for the upcoming WOD. Space will be tight and warm-up equipment will be sparse at most competitions, so do as much as you can with bodyweight and a small space, and make the most of your time on a barbell. Continue to move until you have to be in the staging area for your heat. Even if you’ve already completed reps at the weight you plan to use in the WOD. Take a breather, and then complete a few more reps. Continue this cycle until it’s go time. One of my favorite competition warm-ups is below:
4min, 15sec ea of:
Gradually move up in weight and practice several reps of WOD specific movements
MAKE YOURSELF MOVE SLOWLY AND SMOOTHLY. You will be excited and your adrenaline will be jacked when you hear, “3, 2, 1…GO!” I’ve rarely, if ever, seen someone come out of the gate too slow at a competition. 99.9% of athletes move extremely fast at the beginning of the WOD and then gas about ⅓ of the way in. Focus on slow, smooth, consistent reps, as well as your breathing. You will naturally push harder than you’ve ever pushed before because of the competition setting. The real trick is governing yourself. I’m a big fan of the 80/20 rule when it comes to competing → Try to push at about 80% capacity for the first 80% of the WOD, and then when you get to the final 20% of the WOD, give it everything you’ve got!
Row 1000m, Foam Roll, and Stretch After Every Heat
You don’t want to go from 100mph to 0mph instantly. This will leave your body feeling wrecked for your next WOD and for the next few days. A proper cooldown after each WOD is huge for performing well throughout the day. There are several different strategies for cooling down properly depending on the type/duration of WOD, but let’s not over complicate things for now. After each WOD row 1000 meters at a slow/easy pace, and the foam foll and stretch for 10 minutes. This will help pump lactic acid out of your system and will keep your muscles from knotting-up before your next WOD. Immediately after your cooldown follow the post WOD nutrition guidelines above.
Follow the guidelines above and you’ll have an awesome competition experience. Stay on your toes. At first glance it may seem like you’ll have a lot of downtime throughout the day, but if you’re warming up properly, cooling down properly, and getting adequate nutrition, you’ll find that as soon as you’re done refueling, it will likely be time to start warming up again. Lastly, and most important, don’t forget to HAVE FUN! That’s what the day is all about.