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So You Wanna Get To Regionals? Let’s Think About That For A Sec. A Guest Blog By Brent Fikowski and Antony Lo

Wanna get to The CrossFit Games Regionals? Let’s think about that for a sec... Written by Brent Fikowski...with some editing and opinion from Antony Lo at the end.

It is my pleasure to have Brent Fikowski guest write this blog about making it to Regionals. in case you don't know, Brent came in 6th in the Australian Regionals with only 3 points between him and 4th placed Matt Healey. He is now competing in Canada West and killed 14.1 with a score of 443...

What Brent wrote:

Trying to make it to Regionals? How many people have you heard say "I think I've got a shot this year" or "I'm training for Regionals"? I know I have heard everyone and their uncle tell me this. Do some have a shot? Absolutely! But some are being unrealistic.

Lets go over some things you need to realize before you make this lofty goal.

  1. Every year it gets more and more competitive. If you have been doing CrossFit for a while and you haven't made it yet, you need to have made some VERY large improvements in the last 12 months. Or if you are new you need to have a background in power/endurance/strength and have learned all the skills quickly.
  2. Last year the 48th placed individual male in Australia finished with 372 points. So on average he placed 74th in all the WODs. Now compare your previous Open scores to the 74th rank score. How close were you? Which one were you the farthest off and why? Are these weaknesses gone?
  3. Still think you have a shot? Pick your two worst movements and decide whether you prefer short or long WODs. Put those two movements together in your least ideal WOD length. How well would you place in that WOD against the best in your region? Or make the same comparison but with your 'perfect' WOD. Would you rank in the top 74 with your performance? Remember these are Open-Style AMRAPs, 4-17min long with repeating movements, standard equipment, easily judged.
  4. STOP FOCUSING ON YOUR 1RMS! Quit comparing your strength numbers to Games athletes. You need to spend your training time becoming better for The Open. If you can't do 50 unbroken double unders because you have spent every extra minute this year increasing your PRs by 5kg, you probably failed miserably at 14.1. When you qualify for Regionals, focus on becoming stronger so you can be more successful at that level. Until then become good at Open workouts. Do lots of wall balls, burpees, and high repetition barbell movements with medium weight.
  5. 48 individual athletes qualify each year… but realistically how many spots are there available? -In each region there are probably 10-20 individuals that are a LOCK into Regionals. The top athletes. The athletes that have been to the Games, the athletes that have been to Regionals three years in a row. The ones who were in the top 10 last year. The ones sponsored by some brand. Make no mistake, they WILL qualify. -Then there are the other 28-38 athletes that qualified last year to Regionals. They made it last year, they know what it takes to get there, and they have been training to try and get there again. -After that you have 20-30 athletes or more that have made Regionals in previous years. Maybe they were out due to injury, a new life commitment, or they ranked a few places too low last year. But they are training hard all year, and are ready. -Don't forget the individuals that have never made it, but have been very close to qualifying. Maybe they would have made it last year if their muscle-ups were more efficient, or their overhead strength was better. They've worked all year and you can bet those weaknesses are but a memory now.
  6. Lastly there are all the unknown newbies! Every year there will always be a new face at Regionals. This is one reason why The Games process is so exciting. -So be honest with yourself, where do you fit in? Can you beat enough of those other athletes to steal one of those 48 spots? Because you do not have to 'qualify' in the top 48, you have to beat out the rest to get there.

This is not meant to discourage but rather to give you a realistic look at what lies ahead so you can enjoy the most exciting time of the year as a CrossFiter. Stop staying up late 'Leaderboarding' and just enjoy exercising with your friends. Getting upset after the 3rd week because you are 200th is not where you want to be right? All you can do is give 100% in the Open WODs. That is it. In an interview with Chad Mackay at Regionals 2013 they asked him about what his goals were halfway through the weekend. Did he say win? Got back to the Games? No, he said he was just trying to give his best every WOD.

Brent Fikowski

What Antony thinks:

I back Brent 100% on these points. What I would like to add are the following points as a PT who specializes in improving the performance of CrossFitters from Games-Level Athletes to the newbie...

  1. Technique, technique, technique. I simply cannot stress this enough! I have seen seriously good competitors (Games Level Athletes) improve simply because I corrected their movement a little or gave a different cue. These little things might be awkward to start with but they are for training...if you train to move well, you will move well during competition time. Far too many people trying to break into Regionals push themselves to go harder and faster and rarely consider that they need to back off the weight and intensity and fix their form issues. When you get your house in order, your performance will soar!
  2. Stop wasting time on routines that can take an hour to get through because you are "prehabbing" this and "rehabbing" that. In my experience, I can usually cut down your accessory work and "mobility" work down to about 15-30mins per day. When you combine that focused, mindful training, that is what will help you achieve high-level performances. You need to see someone who can pull all the threads together and consdense your warm-up, rehab, prehab and accessory work into a tight, focused program. If you can't find someone, ask me...I now do Skype consults!

Let us know what you think. Brent and I are happy to take any questions or comments you have.

22 Responses

  1. Great article guys. Brent a quick question about the level and attitude towards the open over there in canada. Firstly, The level of competition here in Australia has sky rocketed in the past few years, how does it compare to Canada? And second, do boxes and gyms support each other (the average crossfit tear) or is there competition between them?

    1. Brent Fikowski

      Hey cheers for the question. I have not been here for long, so I haven’t really experienced first-hand the way in which boxes support each other. I live in the Okanagan Valley (Central BC), from what I have seen here based on a local competition I visited, is that the level is a bit behind Australia. Seeing female muscle-ups, butterflies, proper squat snatch technique, handstand walks etc… was very uncommon. In Australia those things seem almost expected now!! I have heard that the Vancouver area however is more experienced.

      I crunched some numbers for you too: If in 2013 you were an individual male and qualified 48th in Canada West, you would have ranked about 150th in the Australian Open. If this year you placed 48th in 14.1 in Australia with 383 reps, you would have placed 13th in Canada West with that same score.

      Hope that helps!!

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    1. Brent Fikowski

      Thanks! I was happy with my result as well!

      I bought the belt off eBay, this is the link to it. http://www.ebay.ca/itm/6-Nylon-Velcro-Back-Support-Weight-Lifting-Belt-Good-Quality-all-Sizes-/261096652737?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&var&hash=item3cca92bfc1&_uhb=1

      It is super cheap and simple setup. After a few uses though the velcro wears off and it becomes useless. Mine did that after about 2 months after using it about twice a week for heavy lifts. I also had to cover up part of the velcro so I could slip it on and off easier and use the strap to tighten it.
      So ya, now you know where I got it, but I wouldn’t recommend it! Sorry I wasn’t more helpful

    1. Brent Fikowski

      Hi Dan. That is a pretty loaded question! haha.
      There are no secrets. Everything I will tell you you’ve probably already heard. You need to be consistent and patient. Focus on moving well and technique and feeling healthy, the results will come over time. Don’t rush it.

      I do some mobility every day before and after I train. Mostly stuff from my Supple Leopard book. And in the evening as well. I try to get about 8 hours of sleep a night, but usually it ends up being more like 7-7.5. I eat based on some excellent advice given to me by Amie Cox of Target Nutrition. Following mostly a zone/paleo-ish type diet, with added cheese and oats. I’m not super strict with it, but when I go to the grocery store I ONLY buy what is in the plan. If it is free somewhere during the week, I eat it. If I go out for a meal (rarely) I will eat whatever I am craving. Mostly I eat lots of sweet potato, veggies, meat, fruit. I get my programming from RAW Strength and Conditioning. He programs differently for everyone based on their needs/abilities. For me it varies, but typically I have 5 days of 90min training, Sunday is a rest day, and in there is a 7th day of training, but its is not ‘heavy’. So its maybe rowing, technique, swimming, prowler intervals etc.
      Supplementation: by far the least important of all the things I have mentioned. Spend your time and money creating a consistent schedule for 1-3 months that works for you. Eat well, sleep well, and train well (but not too much!). Then and only then look into supps, in my opinion. I recommend a simple whey-based protein shake for post-workout. After that maybe look into creatine, bcaas, beta-alinine, a good pre-workout like infra-red. Talk to someone you trust who has a lot of knowledge in this area and take their advice. I am not an expert, everything I know was told to me by someone else that has the knowledge!

      Hope that helps,
      Cheers, Brent

      1. Dan p

        Brent,
        Dude thanks so much for the response. It’s always cool when a “top leaderboarder” takes time to dish out some insight. I’m going to take you up on your “ask me anything” post :p Good luck at regionals and hopefully cf games!

      2. Dan p

        How much strict strength are you mixing in there? Is it a regular part of your 90 min sessions? Olympic lifts etc?
        Thanks Dan

        1. Brent Fikowski

          Hey Dan, again that is a pretty loaded question! Strict strength is a weakness for me, so I am regularly doing strict work. Dips, pull-ups, presses, deadlifts, squats. And of course, I am regularly doing Olympic lifts as that is a massive part of being a competitive CFer. I have noticed a big improvement in my kipping gymnastic movements after doing lots of strict weighted pull-ups and dips. Again though, you need to work on your weaknesses. If your CF total is massive, then don’t spend much time on your strict work. Spend it on technique, endurance, explosive power etc

  5. Dan

    Brent, thanks for the response. Here’s another. Are you squatting (i.e. Barbell squat, only lifting, air squat, wall ball etc. Basically any hip below parallel movement) everyday??? I find that it’s doable, but is it smart?

    1. Brent Fikowski

      For starters, I don’t think I have done an air squat in 12 months. For the rest of your question… honestly, find a program, and stick to it. Whatever they say, do it. I doubt you’ll go ‘heavy’ in a squat motion everyday. And it is unlikely you will need to go into a ‘squat’ motion every training day in a week. Look at any solid program, I doubt you’ll see it.

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  7. Brent

    Hey Brent, names Brent. Question about programming. In preparing for the open is it more beneficial to do one high intensity metcon instead of several different lower intensity metcons?

    1. Brent

      Hey Brent it is Brent. I don’t really know what you need because I don’t really know you as an athlete. But generally speaking as you get closer to a competition the volume of work should decrease but the intensity should stay high or increase to the level you plan to compete at.

  8. Jak

    Hey Brent, I follow Ben Bergerons program, but have been skipping the rest days to run and midline work (poor decision I know) and was curious on your thoughts of that program. I was also wondering how you work on your muscle-ups and DU, do you break them down or just go for it when you first start crossfit? Also wondering your macro count. Thanks and good luck.

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