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20 Tips to Prepare for your First Crossfit Competition

Olie Pellet from CrossFit Clitheroe recently entered his first ever Crossfit competition. In the run-up to the event he asked for advice from the UK CrossFit community and received a great response to help him out! From nutrition tips and psychological strategies through to simple pieces of kit that should never be forgotten, we’ve collected all the information below, so that hopefully it can help you out as well.

1. Write down your kit list before you pack your bag for the competition

Tick each item off as you pack it to be 100% sure that you have it. When 100 toes to bar are announced in the first workout, you want to be totally confident that you know exactly where your hand wraps are!

2. Bring spare t-shirts

You don’t want to sweat right through the only one you have in the first WOD if you then have to walk around in it all day.

3. Eat a large breakfast

You may have to workout at different times from your normal schedule, and you will need the energy to perform, and the fuel to recover quickly after every tough workout.

4. Warm up for every workout

This seems to be a no brainer, but in reality, every competitor is warming up for event one only. I barely see any Crossfit athletes in the warm up area after event 2 and 3.

Warm up should stay in the sub 20 minutes time frame. There is no need to warm up for a whole hour, especially when four events are coming that same day. I personally have a 3-time 5 minutes rule. Five mins of a general warm up (row/run), 5 minutes of specific (movement prep for the particular Crossfit workout) and 5 minutes WOD flow prep where I test upcoming movements.

5. Cool down after every workout

Even if you feel crappy, try to hit the rower for 5 minutes after each workout. Slowly decreasing your heart rate will speed up your recovery.

6. The judges are always correct

Even if they aren’t, you must just accept their decision, and get on with the WOD. Getting frustrated with them no repping you will only help you to lose focus and energy. It’s easier said than done, but this is an important point to consider if you want to perform well.

upper body strengthSource: RX'd Photography
Competition time!

7. Bring a camping chair

For sitting down comfortably in between WODs.

8. Accept what you can and cannot control

If you have trained hard, eaten well and prepared mentally for the competition, and you hit it with the right attitude, then you will have fun and do well. Your training, diet and attitude are things you can control. Other things may happen that are out of your control. What happens if the time of the workout changes, or you have to switch to a different heat, or your assault bike is faulty for example. With these external factors, you just have to take them on the chin, don’t moan about it and just get on with the day.

9. Don’t use any gear that you’ve never used before

If you have a favourite pair of lifters that never let you down, use them for the competition. Don’t take a brand-new pair that you’ve never used before. If you feel good in the kit that you have, then it will help you perform well.

10. Break your meals down into smaller portions

On game day I pack the same food I pack every week day for my meals. However, I have found that breaking the meals into smaller divisions is beneficial to accommodate the different schedule of the competition.

11. Hydrate properly!

Ensure you hydrate adequately in the day or two prior to the competition, and sip water continuously throughout the competition.

12. Compulsory toilet stop before each WOD

Because of drinking a lot of water throughout the day, you should have to urinate a lot during the competition. I generally make a pit stop about 20-30 minutes before my heat to ensure I don’t get the urge during the WOD.

13. Don’t freak out

I know that’s easy to say and difficult to do, but seriously, what is there to worry about? As I said earlier, your level of performance is pretty much a given on the day of the competition. You can’t magically do something just a little different and become 20% stronger or faster, so relax. When I’m about to launch into a WOD I’m thinking, “It’s just another workout. Just do it like you’ve done all the others.” Important things make you nervous. They should, and they always will. You can’t avoid being nervous, but you can avoid completely flipping out and degrading your performance.

14. Be proud of entering the competition

It’s a big step to compete for the first time. Do everything necessary to ensure you perform at your peak, but on game day it’s too late to worry about where your peak falls among the competition.

15. Enjoy it!

Have fun, eliminate regrets, and then celebrate–regardless of where you finish.

crossfit competition memeSource: BOXROX
Give it your all!


16. Don’t eat anything you wouldn’t normally eat

17. Stretch and rest in between WODs

18. Don’t look at what other athletes are doing (before, after or during)

19. Stay positive

20. Try your absolute hardest and most of all enjoy the comradeship and community


first crossfit competitionSource: Active Stills
Olie in action

  • Name: Olie Pellet
  • Age: 37
  • Box: CrossFit Clitheroe

How did you first get into CrossFit?

I was looking for a gym to get back into lifting weights and a friend of mine in Sheffield had been going to his box for a year or so and told me about the ethos of Crossfit and how it’s based on functional movements performed at high intensity. I decided to go and have a look and talk to Chris who owns the gym. I liked the raw feel of the gym and the fact that WODs were coached and lasted an hour as well as a focus on Olympic lifting which I loved as a younger man. Being a dad of 3 and a teacher I didn’t have loads of time to spend at the gym and my problem in the past was spending a lot of time not doing much so it was perfect for me.

Favourite exercise?

My favourite exercise has always been the squat. I have always been strong in my legs but as I progress in technique I’m enjoying more technical movements like snatches.

Least favourite exercise?

Being a big guy bodyweight exercises like pull ups, handstand push ups and burpees have always made me die inside a little bit, but I’m learning that technique and mental attitude makes all the difference.

first crossfit competition weightliftingSource: Active Stills
Olie competing hard!

How did you find your first competition?

Friends within the Crossfit community have always raved about how inclusive and well run the Rainhill Trials have been so looked it up on facebook and entered my name in the ballot

What motivated you to enter this competition?

I am by no means an elite athlete but I love this sport and wanted to test myself to see if I could make it to the end without quitting. It’s one thing smashing a metcon in the gym and another being judged and watched by dozens of people.

Did your training differ in the run up to the competition?

Not really. I asked the crossfit community what I should or could be doing before, during and after the comp and got loads of great responses and advice as well as support. I looked at the movements involved in the comp and practiced my technique so that I wouldn’t get no rep’d. I worked out relatively gently the week before the comp and concentrated on my mental state so I wouldn’t get too nervous.

Thanks Olie

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