How To Peak For The CrossFit Games Open with James Fitzgerald


The CrossFit opens season’s upon us. Let’s think of it as one real hard piece over a 5 week period. We have to discuss aspects of peaking and tapering and periodizing things to prepare for a fitness test whether that be mental, it doesn’t matter what happens on paper, that’s called periodization. If you’re not going to do Murph the day before the CrossFit Open because you want to get prepared to do the opens really well, that’s called planning, and planning in general is periodization. The first thing I think about when we talk about peaking or tapering: there’s one group of people who can go in with high training volume and good intensity, walk right into the workout, and do very well. We’ll call them high volume pre-competition. These individuals actually perform better when they’re in periods of higher amount of work or intensity and they can turn their central nervous system (CNS) on in a way where it’s almost dampened. They’re less anxious, they think less about that, and they make each contraction more a better state of arousal that’s required for that intensity. Then there’s another group who actually does better by doing a lot of volume and then dropping volume down prior to an Open workout. They can actually compete and do absolutely the same amount of good intensity as the person who the work hard going into the Open workout. We’ll call the groups low volume pre-competition and high volume pre-competition For the first group that I talked
about, a lot of people get very anxious. They think that they can’t wake up on
Friday morning, do let’s say a really hard 1k row, and then 4-5 hours later perform really well in the Open workout. They think that that energy wasted is going to take them away from their work. Actually, what we have seen is that even in some training sessions is that people have higher absolute power and output when they do a specific 7 min workout that looks
just like that, they can do a lot of work in the morning and then perform really well because of that prior work. The other folks, most times it’s got to do with the balance of their their CNS, and they need to come down to the right kind of balance so that they can pull all that energy that’s required to compete very effectively. The second thing we have to consider are people’s energy patterns within a day. We see that people have these adequate levels of cognitive and neuromuscular ability at times where the sun is at its peak. In some cases for your training, you need to figure out where the best time of day is for you for your best energy output. You have to know where you feel you know more robust more cognitively aware because you’re going to have better neuromuscular stimulation at that period of time, and you can also change up macros and food and hydration to allow you to go into that Open workout at the perfect time. The way people generally screw this up is that all of a sudden during the open season they change up what they’ve been for training all year, so they may have two days of the week where on Tuesday evening and Saturday evening they train and they always feel fantastic. Yet, they train on Monday and Wednesday and Sunday, they don’t look at the fact they did those workouts mid AM and never felt really good. You need to know exactly where that best timing is. The worst thing for you to do is say “Oh, it’s the Opens, so I’m gonna do it on Saturday cause everybody else is doing it.” Meanwhile, you haven’t done it all year at that time and Sat 11am is NOT the best time for how you feel. In most cases for most humans, if you want to think about the Sun, I would argue you train or do these workouts 3 hours after waking or 9 hours after waking or 3 hours after sunrise or 9 hours after sunrise. Those are probably one of the two best times you could look at. Number three, you have to know exactly what the workout is. If you see it on Thursday you can, manipulate food and you can manipulate your body weight relatively for a couple days. You see the workout come up, and you know you’re at an area where you can afford to drop cals a tiny bit, lower the volume possibly that goes with it depending on how you feel with number 1 and keep yourself lean and light in terms of food. If you think that way contextually, you’ll feel less heavy and will approach a workout like bar muscle ups (BMU) + light power snatches (PS) more “lightly.” BMU + light PS, which may require you to be lean and ready to crush it. Let’s say something comes up that’s more load and ground based, more muscle endurance or higher CP system (challenging heavy rep’d cleans for ex), you need to be mentally acute, aware, and feeling strong. That’s where you may shift the calories for what’s required for your body weight in the workout for that session. Last point for peaking: You have to recognize that your fitness is not going to change a whole lot when you’re peaking for an Open workout. The only thing that can affect that is you doing too much shit and getting too excited, but there are levels of fitness that you can maintain and keep. So, what I like to think about, especially your peaking per workout, is that you want to do stuff that sharpens and
refines the characteristics that are required within the CrossFit Open. Sharpening means that you want to go into that CrossFit Open feeling sharp, fast, accurate, and that, no matter what you face, you can perform at your peak potential. In order for you to set that up best, you
need to recognize that being sharpened coming in requires you, in the off days, to ensure you do the right kind of training that doesn’t really change your fitness, but it’s going to set you up for success for that specific workout. Part 5 is also all the training that goes into that in the offseason certainly sets you up for the big peak. Like we say, if you want massive peaks and massive potential, there’s got to be a big base And, there’s got to be some work put into
that. I hope you can take a couple of things and put them into your plan. Best
of luck with that!

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