My Crossfit Games 2017 Experience
Written By: Tommy Vinas, American Gainz Athlete
Leading up to the Games
Well, the intense and amazing feeling of “I made the Games” was short lived after the South Regional. As the Games approached, the nervousness kicked in to the point where just thinking about it made me sick to my stomach.
I was early to recognize that this year would be a “learning year” if I did indeed make it beyond the Regional. After all, this was the goal at the start of the 2017 season. Although my goal was reached, I had just made it to the Games, so in no way was just showing up going to be good enough. It was then when the doubts set in and I started challenging my training with defeating questions like, “did I do enough? Am I really a Games level athlete? Am I ready?”. So yes, making the Games is incredible and now I know being incredibly nervous is a part of it.
The first day was one of my rougher days of competition strictly due to event selection. Being a 200lb guy has its advantages, but aerobic based events at the Games level is not one of them. I honestly finished Day 1 being disappointed. After beating myself up for a bit I decided to pull my head out of my ass and attack Day 2!
Looking forward to some heavier barbell work was a refreshing change of gears from Day 1. I learned on this day that confidence goes a long way in terms of performance. I couldn’t think of a better way to walk away from Day 2 than with a new 1RM Snatch PR (302lbs).
I went into Day 3 with the mindset of “have fun, but execute”. This was the part of the competition where I truly started to see myself perform.
Now that the butterflies were gone and the nerves settled, Day 4’s events were truly just me and my lane.
Highlight – 1RM Snatch Event
By far, the most exciting moment in my athletic career was hitting that 302 lb. snatch PR in that arena where the energy from the stands was so visceral and so alive, it was feeding my lifts.
Lowlight - Amanda.45
On paper, this is an event where I can crush souls. During execution however, I let nerves get the best of me and was thrown off at the pace set by other athletes. This was rookie mistake. I need to run my own race and stay head strong.
After competing alongside so many Athletes this year, my one take away was how utterly hard these athletes work to be at this level of competition. It made me think that anything is possible. I simply need to work harder than everyone else - which of course, is easier said than done!
Training Adjustments for 2018
- Spend more time on recovery. I’m sure there are plenty of Athletes with full-time jobs (hats off to them as this year was not easy!), but looking forward, I’m focusing more on recovering and cutting back hours of work where possible.
- Increase Aerobic Capacity – Longer Everything (running, swimming, biking, etc.)
I’m remodeling the Pain Cave because I’ve decided to stay there awhile. One of the biggest faults this year was getting too comfortable with my training crew. On the floor, it became apparent to me that I mentally shit the bed when noticing that to the left, and to the right of me, were athletes that were as good if not better than me. This was a simple unexpected mental preparation gap, consider it filled.
Overall, through this humbling experience, I’ve learned that the athletes with the strongest mental games are also the athletes winning events. This single lesson acquired from this year’s Games alone will no doubt make me a much better athlete when training for the 2018 season. Can't wait to do it again!!!