If you’re like me or any other average guy or girl around the world, you’re just looking to improve on your score from last year, get sweaty, test yourself and have some fun with your gym buddies.
High intensity workouts are the way forward!
Test Your Limits
Part of high intensity training is that you can test your fitness on a regular basis with its benchmark workouts like Fran, Grace and Cindy to name a few. When the Open comes up you are faced with the unknown and unknowable, a true test of how your hard work and gym programming gets you ready for anything. Every Thursday for 5 weeks a new workout is announced, then you have until Monday to complete and submit your score online. You can scale the workout if needed and still take part, the Open is universally inclusive so it doesn’t matter about your age, weight, fitness level, gender – you’ve got no excuses for not entering.
Apart from just “there’s no excuse for not entering” there’s the other great reason – it’s incredible FUN ! Now some might think people are crazy for thinking a workout that leaves you in a pool of sweat while trying to recover your breath and stand up again is fun, but it really is. The competitive spirit takes over and everyone watching is cheering you on, you dig deep down for as much grit and determination as your body can deliver to edge a few seconds, a few more reps, a further few metres than you think you’re capable of. When the workout is done you can be satisfied you gave it your all, high five the other guys and girls who you train with and relax with a hard earned recovery meal.
Learn About Yourself
The fifth and final workout of the open this year saw a repeat of a 2014 open workout 21-18-15-12-9-6-3:Thrusters and Burpees. Complete 21 thrusters (front squat with a push press overhead) then 21 bar facing burpees (drop into a press up – chest must touch the floor, then jump over the bar, turn and face the bar and drop again) and so on with 18-15-12-9-6-3 descending reps. When you finish the last rep you stop the clock and that is the time you submit as your score. A key to this workout is setting a good pace as there is no clock to save you, so racing for the finish early on can leave you with no energy half way through and make it twice as long to complete and twice as painful so make your reps manageable and break it up into chunks that you can handle.
So the Open is over, what’s next?
The athletes with the top scores within their region will be invited to compete at the Regionals event. These events are held over a weekend and consist of 2 – 3 unknown workouts per day over 3 days so there isn’t a week to recover and prepare anymore – you need to be in peak condition both mentally and physically to get through the weekend and perform at your best.
The top men, women and teams of the region will then go on to compete at the Games in Carson California for a chance to claim the Fittest Alive title in their category. At this point they are the top 1% of the 270,000 plus people that signed up so the competition is at its peak, all the other trial and turmoil has merely got you to the field where it is all decided, the hard work is just about to start.
Again a weekend of competition begins and it is always harder and more incredible to watch than the year before. In 2012 the Games began with a triathlon inspired event at camp Pendleton – home of the US marine corps – this is by far my favourite opening event so far. Swim 700m in open water, bike 8km across ever changing terrain and run 11km on a dirt track with over 1,400 feet of elevation gain… TWICE. With a separate time for the first and second lap. This sort of event may seem too much for most, but these guys have trained all year and dedicate themselves entirely to the pursuit of physical perfection.
Anything can and does happen in this sport, the workouts are always new and exciting, and the favourite athletes come short at times when the workout seems suited to their strengths, and what seems impossible is frequently achieved by those willing to rise to the challenge.
So what’s your plan for next year… Train harder? Work on your weakness? Fit more training into your week? Dedicate more recovery and mobility time?
The list is endless, but it’s a fun journey! See you during next year’s Open… And maybe even the Games 2017.
Images from the Myprotein-sponsored Super Team Cup.