Five Habits To Being Successful During The Open (And In Life)

With The Open right around the corner, it is inevitable that you are experiencing some degree of heightened excitement. For some athletes, this can turn into irritability, emotional sensitivity, and even difficulty sleeping. These are undoubtedly symptoms of the incredible stress athletes put upon themselves to perform during the test that determines whether all of your effort, time, pain, and sacrifice will pay off. Each year athletes destroy training and achieve levels of physical fitness that were not even possible. However, due to the stress of The Open they perform to only a fraction of their physical abilities.

It is no secret that the lifestyle of preparation is all about the things you can control. Rather than thinking about how well the hundreds of thousands of other athletes are doing, you must focus inward. Here are 5 things that you can do to ensure that you are confident and mentally prepared for whatever The Open throws at you this year.

1.  Be Present! 

There is a term for the confused, unsettled, insecure thoughts people have all the time. It is called the “Monkey Mind”. I would argue that CrossFit athletes take this to a whole new level, the “Silverback Mind”. Spending time alone, quietly bringing focus to only your breath can develop mental tools to be in control when it matters most. Daily mindfulness or meditation goes well beyond a mental state. Physiological changes occur that can give you the type of control that can be used during the most stressful and challenging moments of The Open. This can make you a very dangerous athlete.

Here is a simple mindfulness practice:

  1. Find a quiet place where you can be alone
  2. Establish a comfortable position that will allow you to take full, deep breaths. This can be sitting, standing, or lying.
  3. Focus your attention completely on your breath. It helps to have your mind follow your breath all the way into your diaphragm and then all the way out as you exhale.
  4. As thoughts enter your mind, do not react or become frustrated. It is normal for even the most practiced meditators. Just refocus on your breath and allow your thoughts to be exhaled away.

2. Affirmations

While it was highly comical, research has shown that daily affirmations can have a powerful influence on success rates. This isn’t about just saying things and wishing they happen. Nor is it about convincing others you are something you are not. Too often we have not convinced ourselves that we have what it takes to achieve success. Verbalizing and writing out your strengths and positive qualities can help reinforce your purpose for doing what you are doing and remind you what makes you who you are. Have you been on the verge of regionals for the past couple of years? Tell yourself “I am a regionals athlete” and you will act accordingly.

Here are a few steps than can help you with your affirmations:
Step 1: List 3 Qualities you believe are your strengths

I am…._________________________________________________

I am …._________________________________________________

I am ….._________________________________________________

Step 2: List 3 Things you have done to prepare to achieve your goals

I have prepared by…._________________________________________________

I have prepared by…._________________________________________________

I have prepared by…._________________________________________________

Step 3: Write your affirmation statement

I am …._________________________________________________

3. Visualization and Practice 

Visualize yourself having success in the Open Workouts. Imagine 18.1 is announced and you take a deep breath, tell yourself that you are really fit, good at the movements, and are going to crush the workout. This is a great exercise that can set you up to expect success.

Sample Visualization Technique:

Prior to going to bed the night before:
1. Set the Mood – Make sure you are in a calm, comfortable, relaxed state.
2. Pre Game – See yourself waking up the following morning and going through your morning routine. Be as detailed as possible without creating any stress. See yourself going to the gym, and performing your pre-workout rituals. Envision who will be there, what music might be playing, etc.
3. Movement Prep – Now focus on the movements. If the workout has Thrusters think back to a time in training where you did a similar workout or set of thrusters. Think about the things that you did during that training piece that resulted in success. See yourself bouncing out of the bottom of the squat, extending your hips, and finishing the rep smoothly.
4. Gametime– Now you are ready to visualize yourself performing the workout. Make sure you have goals for the workout and then visualize yourself achieving that goal rep by rep, round by round.

4. Goal Board

The majority of the people at our gym don’t set high goals for themselves.  Many of you have had a bad day or encountered challenges that have caused you to change your outlook and goals or at least contemplate whether or not doing “this” is working out. It is important to write your goals down so they can withstand these types of moments.  Writing them down can make them feel even more real. Furthermore, putting them in a public place can insert some accountability from your support network. Write down 3-5 goals that you will die to achieve and post them in a place that is visible to you every day. Think “I will let nothing stand in the way of BLANK” or “I will do everything in my power to achieve BLANK”. Be hungry to achieve these goals like you are hungry for food each day. Many of you have already done this for the year, but don’t be afraid to do this on a weekly or even daily basis.

Remember these goals must be:
1. Specific
2. Realistic/Attainable
3. Measurable

5. Reflect

Check in on yourself every day at the end of the day. Ask yourself if you did all of the above things to the absolute best of your ability. Journaling is a great way to keep track of this and hold yourself accountable. It is important to understand that if your goals are truly important to you, nothing will get in the way of doing these things. If something comes up that prevents you from doing these things do not stress, and do not make excuses. Rather, immediately re-commit to doing them and do not let it happen again.

Some things to remember when journaling:

1. Be honest – what you are writing needs to reflect how you are truly feeling. No excuses.
2. Be specific – spare no details. The more you have to look back on the more effective it will be.
3. Be positive – come to a positive resolution. Even if you had a shitty day, write something you can do to fix it and make it positive the following day.

You all spend a ridiculous amount of time and energy on maximizing your physical performance. Making a habit of the above can help ensure that your mind is contributing to your performance rather than holding you back. Best of luck!

-Coach Jason

Beyond The Whiteboard Is Here!!!

Beyond the Whiteboard is finally available for CrossFit Habu members. We will begin posting workouts now! If you have never used Beyond the Whiteboard, it’s an awesome way to track all of your fitness. Jason has been using Beyond the Whiteboard for years and now wants to bring it to Habu. Here is how it works for you as a Habu member. You sign-up for Beyond the Whiteboard at BTWB. You can sign up for free using our gym code or you can sign-up monthly ($5 a month) or a full year ($50). Once you sign up, request to join CrossFit Habu and follow the directions from there. Every Sunday, Jason will post all the workouts for the week into Beyond the Whiteboard, instead of Push Press. We primarily use Push Press as a scheduler and will continue to do so. When you complete your workout, you log into your account and post your scores. You can share with all the other gym members or you can keep it private. Beyond the Whiteboard keeps track of all your significant lifts, benchmark workouts, and shows you the last results of workouts you repeat. If you have any questions, please feel free to hit up Jason or Alaina to explain to you and show you why Beyond the Whiteboard is the best way to track your fitness.

For the record, CrossFit Habu does not make any money off of you joining Beyond the Whiteboard. We offer the service to you as a gym because we strongly believe it is a great app.

If you need/want the gym code so you can receive the service for free (as part of your unlimited membership), please email us at or message us at

What if I’m not perfect at this nutrition thing?

Oh, you’re not perfect at this?! Neither is anyone else! We are all going to “mess up” tracking our food sooner or later. The key is to not dwell on a bad day or allow it to turn into consecutive bad days. Let us come to terms with the fact that it is going to happen, to all of us. When it does, we will get over it and get back on track the following day.

There are two ways that most people run into trouble:

  1. You miscalculated your day and are left with an abundance of one macro, and ran out of the other two.
  2. You go completely off numbers for a day.

Although we are athletes and have certain goals, sometimes life does get in the way. This does not mean we should try and “make up for it” the next day by limiting what we eat. It means we should continue to try and hit our numbers correctly and move on from our slip up. One day will not destroy you.

The beautiful part about this and balancing macronutrient intake is that it is building a metabolism that is functioning strong enough to deal with “bad days”. I really want to make a point here to say that a miscalculation, or a meal that you know is outside of numbers, or of incorrect proportion, does not need to turn into a whirlwind of irresponsible eating. There is no need to forget what we know about nutrition because we know the day got away from us. My best coaching advice here is get through the day, drink lots of water to help flush the excess sugar and salt you likely consumed, and get back to your numbers the following day.

If it is an ongoing problem for you to stay within your prescribed numbers, then its time to react and bring it up! Whether it is difficult to reach your numbers, you notice you do well for a few days and then become uncomfortable, are having trouble with one macronutrient in particular, or are so hungry at the end of the day and find yourself eating too much to deal with the hunger – say something! I am here to help you be successful and these are all signs we need to make some changes! Unless you are on a hard deficit (which won’t be the majority), you shouldn’t feel hungry or unsatisfied at the end of the day. There are plenty of adjustments we can make together to keep you comfortable!

Trust the numbers and trust the system. If you have a bad day it is OK, let us move on and have a better one tomorrow!

Using CrossFit to Train for Distance Running


As someone who has ran a marathon or two I know firsthand the pain that is training for and finishing 26.2 miles. With that, recently, I have had a few athletes at the gym run a marathon or half marathon so my curiosity too over. Can you train for a marathon solely using CrossFit training as the preparation parameter?

Traditional Model vs. CrossFit GPP

Before I dive into any of this, its important to understand what “traditional” means.  This is what most runners model their training program off of which is call the “LSD” model, also known as Long, Slow, Distance training. It revolves primarily around volume. You are preparing to run a marathon by logging in miles at a lower, aerobic based attack (around 70% of your max heart rate). A sample of this is running 4 days a week slowly then adding volume each week, ultimately building to a total weekly mileage of 40+ miles. This emphasizes the development of the “long run” which helps build up to being able to run 20+ miles, unbroken.

Here is a sample:

Tuesday: 6 miles easy
Wednesday: Cross-training, i.e. elliptical training, cycling.
Thursday: 10 miles easy
Saturday: 4 miles easy
Sunday: 20 miles easy

Contrary to this model of just doing volume to gain endurance, CrossFit focuses on three main aspects. Constant variance, functional movements at a high intensity (CVFMHI). The idea is that when structured properly, anaerobic based workouts can be used to develop a significant amount of aerobic capacity while not letting your muscles waste away with high volume, aerobic work.

So instead of building to a 20 mile long run at an easy pace, your long run might top at 13 miles. It would be at a faster “race” pace and the focus would be on improving mechanics, being consistent and intense versus “volume, volume, volume”. This allows you to recover better and less injuries due to overuse from high mileage running.

Mechanics is the key!

For the sake of brevity, Ill keep this plain and simple and won’t go too deep into the weeds of different running techniques. The main takeaway to this is the adoption of a mid-foot landing versus heel strike.

When using the mid-foot landing technique, the joints and muscles act as a natural shock absorber. With the heel strike, all the impact is jarred through your joints and puts additional stress on your body, which creates nagging, crappy injuries. Imagine dropping into a new box and the WOD consists of running and squat cleans. If you were to start cleaning the bar with a rounded back, receiving the bar with elbows down and zero midline stability, any coach worth a shit is going to immediately step in and correct your form so that you don’t hurt myself. If your running form were equally as bad, how many coaches would step in and correct you? Not many.

Yes, running is a movement that comes naturally to humans so it’s kind of assumed that you know how to do it. An air squat also comes naturally to humans too, just watch any two year old squat and you’ll know what I mean, but like running, it gets lost as we age, sit and start buying ultra-cushioned sneakers. Long story short, we should be treating running as a skill just like cleans, squats or kipping pull-ups.

Using Constantly Varied, Functional Movements with High Intensity

Now that we know the differences between traditional and CVFMHI, how do we implement what for the next race? If you have a certain time goal or want to set a new record then there is no getting around the fact that you’ll be doing some race specific training. Yes, high intensity anaerobic training will improve your aerobic capacity to a degree. If your goal is to maintain an 7:00 minute mile, then in addition to high intensity intervals at faster than 7:00 mile you also need to train long runs at that pace.

Volume is essential to prepare your muscles to withstand the pounding of a long distance run. How much should you run in preparation for a race? It’s really up to you and your personal goals. As little as 5 miles is good if you simply want to finish. Race distance, current fitness level and goals will dictate how much you should run. The good news is, if you’re already following a balanced CrossFit programming 4-5 days a week then you only need to supplement with a few additional aerobic capacity specific workouts a week.

Here is a sample:

Monday: CrossFit WOD + Strength

Tuesday: AM: CrossFit WOD, PM: Aerobic Capacity work, with 1:1 rest intervals

Wednesday: CrossFit WOD
Thursday: Rest and Recovery
Friday: CrossFit WOD + Strength
Saturday: Aerobic Capacity work only
Sunday: Rest and Relax

As Greg Glassman said, “The needs of Olympic athletes and our grandparents differ by degree, not kind.” Volume against intensity is not the subject line here. When it comes to endurance training, I do feel that a lower volume CrossFit program is the best approach for recreational runners and something that all runners can benefit from by incorporating functional movements into their training. If you’re not sure how to correctly implement drills to improve your form I highly recommend talking to one of the coaches or me and we can program accordingly.