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What is a CrossFit Competition? (And How to Prepare

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Are you looking to push yourself and take your CrossFit training to the next level? Then a CrossFit competition might be just the thing for you.

CrossFit competitions test the strength, speed, agility, and endurance of athletes in a series of challenging workouts. Whether you’re a seasoned competitor or just starting, understanding what to expect from a CrossFit competition and how to prepare for it can help you perform your best on game day.

The CrossFit Games vs. Local Competitions

At the highest level, there are the CrossFit Games. This annual event is where top athletes from around the world compete to become the “Fittest on Earth.”

To qualify for the CrossFit Games, you must compete with hundreds of thousands of athletes in the Worldwide Open. CrossFit releases event instructions weekly, and competitors have four days to complete the event and upload their scores. About 10% of athletes from the Open move onto the Quarter- and Semi-Finals, which are eventually whittled down to 40 male and 40 female competitors.

Though anyone is welcome to compete in the Open, local CrossFit competitions are typically a better place to start.  These events pull from a much smaller pool of athletes and allow you to test your skills. To be licensed by CrossFit, these competitions must be organized by a Level-1 CrossFit certificate holder and be sponsored by a CrossFit-affiliated gym.

What to Expect at a CrossFit Competition

Photo of a gym with a bunch of people training on deadlifts

CrossFit competitions come in many shapes and sizes, but many are similar in structure. Most events last between a few hours and a full day or weekend. During the event, you’ll be expected to complete one or more workouts that test your skills across various physical tasks. Many competitions ask you to complete 2-3 WODs in a single day!

Workouts usually include strength-training exercises like Olympic lifting and bodyweight movements such as pull-ups, push-ups, and burpees. Depending on the competition, you may also complete a “metcon” or “metabolic conditioning” workout, which is a combination of cardiovascular and strength exercises designed to test your physical endurance.

Part of the challenge of preparing for a CrossFit competition is that you don’t know what movements you’ll be asked to complete until you arrive at the event.

How to Prepare

Whichever competition you’re preparing for, these key elements will help ensure you perform your best on game day.


Good nutrition is essential for a successful competition. Eating right and staying hydrated will help keep your energy levels up throughout the day, allowing you to perform at your peak. CrossFit’s recommended diet includes meat, vegetables, nuts, seeds, some fruit, little starch, and no sugar.

I prefer to calculate macronutrients to find the ideal diet for my body. Macronutrients include carbs, proteins, and healthy fats and are the main nutritional building blocks your body needs to thrive. Protein assists in repairing muscle tissue, carbs give you energy, and fat helps your body absorb nutrients (among other things).

Calculate your macronutrients when you begin your training program and monitor your energy and hunger levels over time to ensure your body is getting what it needs. Then, on competition day, eat 1-2 hours before your first WOD and refuel frequently.

Workout Strategy

Having a workout strategy is key to success in any CrossFit competition. Since you likely won’t know anything about the competition WODs until a day or two before, you’ll want to focus on building overall strength and endurance.

Strength training is essential, so make sure you have good form in all your lifts and practice Olympic lifts to increase your strength. Doing a variety of workouts and focusing on compound movements (such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, and hip thrusts) will help you build functional strength that you can use for any type of workout.

When it comes to cardio, try to get in as much HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) as possible. This type of training helps you develop endurance and stamina for competitions that require longer sessions.

Lastly, take a couple of days off from training before the competition to allow your body to recover fully.

Mental Preparation

The mental aspect of a CrossFit competition can be just as challenging as the physical. The best way to prepare mentally is to focus on positive self-talk and goal-setting. Take some time to visualize yourself completing the workouts and achieving your goals. Be realistic, but also remember that you are capable of more than you think!

Another way to mentally prepare is to train with competitors in your surrounding area. Training with other people can help you stay motivated while preparing you to compete against athletes who may have more experience than you.

Lastly, don’t forget to breathe and stay calm during the competition. To help combat stress, try some relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation before competing.

Are You Ready to Compete?

Competing in CrossFit is an incredible experience that can help you push yourself to new heights and improve your overall fitness. If you’re training regularly in CrossFit, you’re more than capable of participating in a competition. Because just like your regular WODs, you can scale competition workouts to YOUR fitness level.

If you’re interested in competing but need help with your training program, contact me today. I can create online or in-person workouts to help you meet your goals and excel in competition. Let’s get started!

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aleks pavlovic

I am a personal trainer and health consultant based in San Francisco. I specialize in senior fitness, women’s and post-partum fitness, athletic training, nutrition coaching, corporate wellness programs, and health app design.

About Me

I am a personal trainer and health consultant based in San Francisco. I specialize in senior fitness, women’s and post-partum fitness, athletic training, nutrition coaching, corporate wellness programs, and health app design.

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