The CrossFit Open season is less than two weeks away and most gym owners have their hands full in terms of planning and preparation for the weekly workout.
The CrossFit Open is a great time to encourage your athletes to take on a new challenge, which in my experience usually allows them to take their mental game to the next level.
It’s during this time that athletes usually discover their “next gear,” with the added pressure of being judged and competing against their peers.
With that said, the CrossFit Open presents many advantages, but it also creates additional stress and anxiety which can have ill effects on your athletes’ performance and overall health.
To delve into this training stimulus a bit further, imagine this: you’re attending regular classes at your local CrossFit box. You know who your competition is and, like any competitive person, you want to beat them in a workout whenever you’re given the chance.
In the case of the CF Open, your score and performance are going to be on display. There isn’t the chance to simply “mail it in” when you’re not feeling it, or avoid posting your time online. There is nowhere to hide.
This element of the CF Open can be seen is an advantage and disadvantage. Let me explain:
It’s likely your athletes may find a new level in terms of the pain they can endure, but what is the cost of doing this on a weekly basis, for some twice, if they decide to repeat the workout?
This added element of stress adds to the inherent stress that high-intensity training presents. This is why it’s so important to NOT allow your athletes to repeat these workouts.
Typically after the Open athletes are feeling “burnt out” (I’ve felt this way after nearly every single CF Open) and it’s not due to an increase in training volume, but more so the increase in stress and anxiety of putting your best performance on display, as well as measuring yourself against others.
After the CrossFit Open is the perfect time to introduce a specialty program. Not only does this provide the added break of “breathing,” but it keeps your athletes engaged and more likely to stay training at your facility.
Clearly, there are benefits in terms of increasing the revenue of your facility in the short term, but the biggest benefit is for your clients’ overall longevity and staying away from things like overtraining that will take them out of the game and likely leave a bad taste in their mouths about CrossFit.
It’s so important to remember the overall objective of giving your clients a place to train for their lifetime. Without being mindful of the mental burnout that occurs from regular competition, it’s likely your athletes will become disenchanted with CrossFit and find a new challenge to tackle.
Specialty Programs that don’t offer the same level of competition. Things like Barbell Clubs that focus on getting stronger and building lean muscle mass. Olympic Lifting programming that focuses on Olympic Lifting technique and accessory work to improve your clients lagging muscle-groups that directly assist the lifts. Summer-Shred style programs that offer more focus on low-skill hypertrophy work with the overall aim of getting leaner for beach season.
All of these options can be beneficial to your clients’ health and longevity, as well as the health of your facility.
As coaches, we want the best for our clients. Offering specialty programs that offer a change of pace is not only important for physical health but mental health as well.