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How I Prepare for the CrossFit Open: Chad Mackay, the Newbie & the Veteran

CrossFit Open Tips

Guy: With the CrossFit Open underway, we asked three varied competitors perspectives on preparation, recovery and diet over the next 5 weeks. Whether you are CrossFit Regionals competitor or a complete beginner, there’s some great tips here for everyone.

Over to the ‘Unit’, the newbie and the veteran…

Chad Mackay CrossFitThe Unit: Chad Mackay – Crossfit Active

How do you structure your training & recovery leading up to the open?

Training and recovery, believe it or not, same deal. I train most days with Patrick Fitzsimmon and he is a good training partner for me as we have different strengths and weaknesses. I tend to do well in the strength/heavy workouts and Pat does well in anything bodyweight related. I think this is a great tip for anyone looking for a training partner, don’t just go looking for someone of the similar body shape / strengths as you – find someone that will challenge you. If I change anything during the Open different to day-to-day training its recovery. If the Open WOD is something overly taxing on the body i’ll spend some extra time recovering, even if the WOD isn’t heavy or even a heap of reps, the exertion that you put your body through in competition is at another level and that sometimes means an extra session for massage, chiro or yoga.

Describe your diet, leading up and during the open?

To be honest I try not to change anything all year round. I’ll give myself a treat post Games season with some pizza and ice cream but I feel better when eating clean and tend to keep to that all year round. My diet doesn’t change much day-to-day, read my food diary here it is very similar to what I’ll do most days.

What supplements do you use to support you through the open and why?

Same with my supplements, I stick to my 180 nutrition as my post WOD protein and occasional use for meal replacement if I’m on the run, my PurePharma Fish Oil and I’ve been trying Cell Charge for the past few months which I’m finding to have good results. Just like the diet, I won’t change this through the Open and wouldn’t encourage any athletes to change what they do in training especially for competition. Your body is used to what it goes through during your training, changing something in competition is likely to have adverse affects.

Renee Lynch CrossFit BondiThe Newbie: Renee Lynch - Crossfit Bondi

How do you structure your training & recovery leading up to the open?
I’m no professional so I treat the Open workouts like any other workout that pops up throughout the week. You never know what they are going to throw at you, that’s the (exciting?) part. Like any other day if I am sore I will rest the next day or work on my mobility pre and post WOD. A swim in the ocean after training also does the trick.

Describe your diet, leading up and during the open?
My diet remains the same all the time. You could label it low-carb high-fat, paleo-ish, sugar-free but for me what it’s really about is eating real food. I make everything from scratch and never go hungry. I have three solid meals a day and don’t really snack. I won’t be changing this during the Open.

What supplements do you use to support you through the open and why?
I generally take magnesium, fish oil and vitamin D. I go through stages of taking Curcumin (turmeric) tablets. You could say it’s a fairly anti-inflammatory concoction I take which is great for when those muscles get sore. I also have two canisters of gelatin, one which mixes straight into a glass of water or a smoothie and one that makes me delicious berry jellies. Gelatin (as I’m sure everyone knows), is so good for joint health and recovery, sleep quality, great source of dietary collagen and helps aid digestion.

Ewan Seaford CrossFit BondiThe Veteran: Ewan Seaford – Crossfit Bare

How do you structure your training & recovery leading up to the open?
I started my specific ‘open’ training towards the end of January, I’ve stopped doing the super heavy sessions and swapped them for more metabolic conditioning and skill sessions. I’ve also moved from 3 on 1 off 2 on 1 off, to 3 on 1 off. My percentage strength gains each year are small, realistically I’m not going to add anything to my max back squat over the next few weeks, whereas by focusing on a weakness I’ll hopefully be able to improve my efficiency of that movement.

Describe your diet, leading up and during the open.
Inspired by some of the 180 podcasts you have broadcasted recently, I’ve seriously upped my fat intake. I’m feeling fantastic for it. Other than that the diet is mainly primal. Lots of vegetables, meat, fish, nuts, seeds and some dairy.

What supplements do you use to support you through the open and why?
I won’t be doing anything differently for the open. Now isn’t the time to try something new. The supplements I take are 180 nutrition. The PurePharma range of fish oil and minerals and glutamine. All the supplements in the world won’t help a bad diet. I’ll be paying extra attention to the back of any label to make sure it isn’t supplemented with any nasties.

Guy – Ewan covers more of his lifestyle and training regime here.

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Alcohol: How we’ve come to love the stuff. So losing your head may not be so bad.


By Guy Lawrence

I’m not a lover of horse racing, but you only have to go to Randwick races for the day sober to get your money’s worth of entertainment, whether you pick a winner or not.

I’m the first to put my hand up, and say I’ve been guilty of this. Everyone comes in at about lunchtime immaculately dressed to impress, and then by the end of the day, they leave looking like they’ve just rolled down a 20m hill full of brambles.

We all have our reasons, whether we get blind drunk, or a social glass or two…. or three. But what are our driving reasons behind all this? Here’s a question for you. If you had to give alcohol away, permanently, could you do it? And why? What would it take? Do you drink out of habit or for the feeling you get from having it?

This is all well and good, and questions we can only answer ourselves. But lets remove our heads from the equation for a second. What if our body was doing the thinking? Would it actually want it (alcohol)?

If our body were to make the decisions, and not the brain inside our head, it would probably say something like this…(if you want to know the effects of alcohol, read on).

“Hey, I know you like to unwind with a drink, but like it or not, alcohol has many side effects if consistently appreciated. But I’m just going to ease you in gently, and focus on its relationship to weight loss, as this seems to be the most common question regarding why you can’t seem to shake off those love handles. So we’ll leave the rest out, like what it does to the central nervous system, hormonal imbalance, liver & kidney function, overall dehydration etc, let’s keep that for another day. Fair enough?

Anyway, as alcohol is a toxin, I treat it like a foreign invader, and it’s taken straight to the liver to be processed. The liver is the main driving engine that works my metabolism. And now it’s slowing the detoxifying process of the liver down and killing hormone receptors, where metobolisim of nutrients take place. Hence, slower metabolism.

Also, we store our carbohydrate in the liver, but because of the drink you’ve just had, there’s  no more room for carbohydrate storage, so the carbs get stored in the muscles, but, because you don’t exercise me as much as you’d like to, my muscles are usually fully stored. And after that, you got it, the carbs get converted to stored body fat.

So over the next few days after a drink, you can guarantee you’ll be burning off the alcohol in the liver before you even think about burning off any fat. Half a bottle of wine is 30-40 min run!

One nip of spirits contains the same amount of energy as two slices of bread. Six nips and you’ve scoffed a loaf! That would be an interesting site to see the next time you’re out with your mates.

And what about the mixers you have with that?  The Lemonade and coke etc. They are absolutely loaded with sugar.  You are now doubling your energy intake of the nip. How many loafs do you want to eat?

Also, you’re always feeling peckish after a few drinks and eat those dodgy bar snacks and party nibbles; do you honestly think I actually need them? Not to mention the walk home take away food at the end of the night. Do you have any idea of how many empty calories you’ve just fed me with? It’s about as nutritional as eating a house brick. Don’t you know by doing this to me you’re putting us at dis-ease?”

So let’s put our heads back on. Think of alcohol as more of a weight loss preventive, and along with that, the mixers and nibbles as the weight gainers.

But the question is, where’s the line between a social drink and it actually becoming a needed crutch which could effect your overall well being? Unless you remove your self from society and go and live on a remote hill some where, and pop down to pick up your groceries from time to time, you’re going to have a tough time not being around alcohol. It’s simply ingrained habitually in our culture. I can really just imagine me being back in Wales, and catching up with a few mates over a herbal tea. They’d think I was a raving lunatic!

Anywayyyyy, whether it be a herbal tea or a glass of wine or three, we all have our reasons. So I’ll finish where I started.

What are your driving reasons behind all this? If you had to give alcohol away, permanently, could you do it? And why? What would it take? Do you drink out of habit or for the feeling you get from having it?

Where do you draw the line?

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