Competing in Crossfit has been a 3 year adventure for me so far, and I plan on adding a few more years to my résumé. Each year I learn more about myself, how far I can push my body, what steps I need to take to get the most amount of work done, how to recover my body between sessions and how to compose myself during competition. This year was my best to date, I won competitions and managed to qualify for the Games. I am over the moon with my accomplishments, but I am not satisfied, I want to make changes and perform even better next year. 1. Identify Weaknesses One of the first things I did when I got back to Dubai was to send Neil Flannigan a message asking for help. My performance in the endurance events this year was poor, I will be working with Neil all year to try and improve on them. More often than not I see people avoiding doing the things they hate most in training. This is something that you have to get over mentally. If you want to be ‘fit’ you have to be good at everything, there is no room for weaknesses. 2. Stretching and Body Maintenance Now this is one thing I have hated doing for the last 3 years and anyone who knows me knows that my biggest weakness is my poor mobility. I have always just avoided stretching and foam rolling, to be honest, because it’s really boring and it hurts. Since coming back from the Games I have really tried to dedicate 30 minutes a day to stretching and trigger point therapy. The extra mobility in my hips in working wonders for my overhead stability in both the snatch and jerks. 3. The Red Zone! The Red Zone program is my own project that I started with the help of Marcus Smith earlier this year. It is competitive programming designed to help athletes improve all aspects of fitness. I have previously been lost at times for some direction in my training, but after 3 years in the sport I am confident I know how to program for peak performance and different times of the year. There is a small group of athletes taking part in the program and plenty more developing in the daily classes that will be invited to join the program within the next year. Having this core group of people to push me on a regular basis is excellent as an athlete. 4. Recovery Time All the competitions and training has taken its toll on me this year. Most people do not realize how much punishment your body takes in a 3 day competition, where you push yourself to the limit over and over again. I don’t want to let myself get to a point in training where I am having to miss things or avoid things because I have small injuries or I am too sore. Some days it is better to leave the gym feeling like you could have done a little more, rather than leaving feeling like you did too much. I am still sticking to my 2 rest days a week, one of which I will do some recovery work, like swimming, the other will be complete rest. In addition to this I will take 4-7 day breaks or periods of really low intensity training every 4-6 weeks to keep my body feeling 100% healthy. One big problem that I see is that people smash themselves too much in training, without any rest and then by the time it comes to a competition, their body is already broken. This is definitely something you have to learn as an athlete over time. 5. Positive Mental Attitude The main thing for me this year (since the games) is that I have actually learned to enjoy what I am doing. I have tried to be positive about all my training and not spent time stressing about what other athletes are doing or thinking that other people are better than me. If you go in to a workout genuinely believing you will beat someone else, then more often than not, you probably will! Now I am not saying that I won’t be stressed about things come the Open (which Matt Jones will be very happy about) but I know that I will feel far more confident than last year and I am sure it will reflect on my performance. By: Phil, Hesketh, InnerFight Performance Coach The InnerFight “App” is now live. Click here.