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How to Cope With Fear and Anxiety in CrossFit Open Workouts

The Open is upon us and alongside all the excitement there is always a bit of underlining fear / anticipation. This is perfectly natural, and in many ways will help you to perform well. However it’s important to not let that fear overcome you and have a negative impact on your performance and enjoyment of the experience.

We put together a checklist to help you stay mentally focused on your Open journey.

Human responses to fear, anticipation and stress can manifest themselves in many ways that we don’t see as obvious or directly related. Go through this list and use the points to get your mind as mentally prepped as it can possibly be for the final Open workout (and beyond).

Crossfit athlete handsSource: Ryan Edy
Crossfit athlete hands


Illnesses, coughs, colds etc can’t be helped and are unbelievably common in the weeks/days leading up to a comp!

  • Do accept it for what it is – not worse than what it is
  • Don’t focus on it, talk about it to everyone, or internalise it
  • Do treat it and recover
  • Embrace the additional rest, there are many others in the same boat


Opinions – everyone has one right! You know this is going to happen and you will be subjected to many opinions from family, friends, fellow Crossfitters, Facebook, Instagram etc. Most are harmless but some we internalise.

  • You only want to take on board the ones that matter. Generally these come from your coach, programmer, physio, mental conditioning coach and the mentors you trust.
  • Don’t take negative comments personally. These could be in the form of your appearance, ability, strategy, prep etc
  • Do try and create a mental answer machine auto response, let the opinion/comment go and move the heck on!


With your nutrition you should hold tight! The middle of The CrossFit Open is not the right time to add new foods or supplements into your training. Stick with your current plan and don’t change it.

Do what you have been doing and fuel your body for your sport.

fear and anxiety in OpenSource: Ryan Edy
Trust yourself


Whether you are an athlete aiming for Regionals or The Games, or you are scaling the workouts and/or it is your first time ever competing in The Open, these tips will help.

  • Focus on you ( it’s not selfish) and do your best.
  • Then support the rest of the gym


What often happens is that we fall into the trap of over competing and under training during The Open. This translates as hitting the open workouts multiple times and having to rest all week to recover in time for the next one, meaning no meaningful work is done.

Its game season just like any other sport and we want to maintain or elevate our fitness levels, that’s why we do what we do right!

Remember your ‘WHY’ (why you do Crossfit) and stay in your lane. Here’s a easy visual of controllable and uncontrollable elements of competing from our previous article.

Take Control Now – 3 Tips to Help You Succeed in the CrossFit Open 2017

Crossfit open 2017Source: Emma Hackett
Stay in your lane

Make sure your energy and focus is on elements that you can control. This can be a massive physical and mental benefit but with emotions running high, we can often find ourselves focusing more on the uncontrollable elements of what is happening around us. Use the diagram to check with yourself.

The Human Body is an incredible machine, but most people only get out of that machine what their mind allows them to. ‘Rich Froning’

The hard work and preparation has been done. Now it is time to go all out for the final Open Workout. When 3-2-1 goes, its time to turn down the expectation and turn up the passion!

Reebok CrossFit TynesideSource: Reebok CrossFit Tyneside
Turn it up!

Train with purpose, compete with purpose, rest with purpose, Support your community with purpose and embrace the journey with purpose.

And enjoy the ride!

The CrossFit Open & Beyond: Mental Conditioning & Goal Setting

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