The Open doesn't scare me...but monsters do.

The Open doesn’t scare me…but scary monsters do.

Open Workout 13.2
5 Shoulder to OH (115,75)
10 Deadlift
15 Box Jump (24,20)

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Custom CFNE Leaderboard on TheBoxHQ

Hey Guys, Check out the Custom CFNE Leaderboards for the Open here at TheBoxHQ – pretty flipping cool!

TheBoxHQ will be coming to a box near you (literally) soon!

Coaches Corner…with Coach Doole

Managing Game Day Anxiety

There are plenty of ways to manage game day jitters – Music, Breathing, Positive Thinking, Visualizing yourself as different Muppets over the course of a day.  Never done the latter?  No problem, we’ll step through a typical “Muppet Progression” together:

The night before:   Be “Bunson” – Everyone analyzes each WOD and strategizes each movement all the way down to the transitions and chalk breaks.  This is part of what makes the Opens so much fun!! I can’t tell you how many times I come into the gym the next morning and get my mind blown by different ideas.  It’s so fun to see what people come up with. Speak with plenty of members and coaches to get their input.

The morning of:  Be “Gonzo the Great” or the “Swedish Chef” – Actually, be both.  Gonzo is known to be extremely optimistic and intellectual. The Swedish chef kills it in the kitchen, serving up Del.ici.ous, healthy meals.  Mel and Harry trained under the master chef in Paris in the late 90’s. They’ve passed on some of his wisdom on to you in previous posts re: game day nutrition.  There are great nuggets in these posts, take a look!!

Mel –

Harry –

Walking into the gym: Be “Kermit” – The quintessential Muppet.  The MAN  – or whatever.  He’s one cool cucumber.  He oozes confidence.  He stinks like success. He’s focused.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it’s ok to be a splash of “Fozzie” when you arrive.  It depends on the athlete.  If you’re too tight, you may need a little bit of light joking around to relax. Not too much though, you want to be able to flip the switch and get into the zone pretty quickly.  A lot of people use music to get into the zone. It’s the only time of year I think I see people walking around CFNE with headphones on.  Set up your music before you get to the gym.

During the WOD – Be “Animal”.  Obvious.  However, as Ben says “Don’t blow your WOD early” and go balls to the wall from the get go (unless the WOD requires that e.g. Fran).  You want to be able to channel your inner Kermit at the beginning WOD and stay focused and stick to your strategy.  Become Animal as soon as you can.  Animal should be the main Muppet in this stage of the game.

Post WOD – Be “Fozzie”. The Opens are supposed to be fun and judging by the responses on the site and by the energy in the classes, the first WOD was a BLAST!  People setting PR’s, taking their fitness to a whole new level, just absolutely murdering WOD’s. Don’t be Statler and Waldorf a.k.a. the mean old men that sit in the balcony and negatively critique everything.  It’s important to recognize what went well in the WOD.  Recall what worked for you and carry that forward to future WOD’s. Acknowledge what didn’t go well but don’t dwell on it.  Keep your thinking positive to help you at upcoming events.  The opens are FIVE (5) long weeks.  Move on quickly.

Other things that Muppets don’t have to worry about:

Breathing – Pre WOD,  check your breathing.  Keep yourself relaxed.  Deep belly breathing stimulates the Vagus nerve that controls your parasympathetic nervous system – the nervous system that is dominant when you are at rest and relaxed. When the sympathetic nervous system is dominant, or when we are in “fight or flight” (aka when we are working out), our breathing becomes quick shallow breaths. So if you want to relax yourself, stimulate that Vagus nerve and breathe from the belly.  Confused?  Watch how a baby breathes.  Stomach rises up first then the chest.  Be a baby.

Visualization – An absolute must.  You have to visualize yourself being successful. If you have already been successful in your mind then your body will make it happen.  Think of how much better you are when you’re doing something for a second or third time around.  You’re more confident, you know what to expect.  The great thing about it happening in your mind is that you can control what happens and make the outcome a positive one every time.  Try this – Visualize yourself either in third person (like if you were watching yourself on video) or in the first person (how we normally see the world).  Start at the very beginning of the WOD before 3.2.1 GO.  Try to make everything as real and detailed as possible.  If you’re unfamiliar with the location, go on the internet and find a picture of the place so you can help create the environment.  Then go through each rep of the work out.  Picture yourself hitting each rep, making smooth transitions etc.  Make your feelings positive throughout your visuals.  When you picture something negative happening, stop, and rewind and picture it again and again until you’re successful in your mind.  If you are successful in your mind you will be less nervous come game day because you have already achieved your goal many times in your head.

The following points are not really techniques for managing pregame jitters but need mention because they are integral to your success in WODs and you have to use these techniques during your visualization:

Positive Action Words (PAW’s) – Action words are processed at a lower level of the brain – like reflexes.  The conscious mind processes qualifiers for verbs but not the unconscious.  When we say to our self in a WOD, “Don’t stop” our unconscious mind hears “STOP!!”.  “Don’t quit” becomes “QUIT!!”.  “It’s not heavy” becomes “IT’s HEAVY!!”  When you find yourself saying these things, PAW’s and pick some new words to motivate yourself.  See that?  See what I did there?  A homonym for pause?  So crafty.  So cheesy. Anyway, choose Positive Action Words – “Keep Going!!”  “I’m FAST!!” “Light Weight!” etc.  This also applies to when you are cheering someone on.  Yell positive things.

Positive Thinking– Another absolute must.  We talk about it all the time.  Books and books have been written about it.  You have to be positive when it’s the toughest to be positive. We have over 60,000 thoughts a day.  The best way to know what we are thinking is to pay attention to how we are feeling.  Thoughts create our feelings.  If it feels like the weights are super heavy during a WOD it’s because we think they are heavy. One of the easiest ways to change our negative feelings is to be thankful.  As soon as you start to feel sorry for yourself or self doubt creeps in, think about something you are thankful for.  I have my go-to’s.  Establish some pre WOD so you can just think about it and picture it. I will say to myself mid-WOD “I’m thankful to be able to do this.  I am thankful to have the ability to stand and walk” Over and over again. You get the picture.

Try some of these techniques to manage your pre game jitters.  Find what works best for you and establish a routine.  Maybe it’s coming in and meditating, maybe its music, maybe it’s playing angry birds.  It’s probably not acting like some of the Muppets…or perhaps it is?  It’s a judgment free zone. Let that freak flag fly. Find a routine and stick with it.  Routines are comforting and the opens are long.

Why are fish so smart? Give up? ‘Cause they swim in schools.  Wocka Wocka Wocka! – Fozzie the Bear