How to Prepare for a Crossfit Competition

Take the leap, and sign up for that competition.

The CrossFit Games season is in full swing, as many top-level athletes in all divisions are making their way through Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and eventually the CrossFit Games. Perhaps this has sparked interest in your own dreams of competing, whether that be with the ultimate goal of making it to these high-level competitions or enjoying some good local events where you will walk away with incredible experiences and memories.

Athlete Hope Cicero at the CrossFit Game Competition

If you have considered competing in CrossFit before but have always been nervous about giving it a try, here is your sign to take the leap. Competing forces us outside our comfort zone, and although it is hard, it is fun and makes us stronger. 

competition Preparation

Finding your Division

Before my first competition, I was unsure if I should have gone RX or Scaled (Intermediate divisions are occasionally offered). There were workouts at the gym that I still couldn’t RX. I wanted to challenge myself, but I didn’t want to go into something I wasn’t ready for. 

A few competitions will provide standards and what will be expected from RX, Scaled, and Intermediate athletes. If this information is not provided upfront, you can often contact the competition organizers. This is also a great time to seek advice from a coach to find a division that will challenge you yet be doable. If you are consistently coming to class, your coaches can talk you through the best option for competition. That is what I did, and my coaches helped find the perfect division for me. 

Many competitions also provide both team and individual options, so decide how you wish to compete. Both team and individual have merits, and I recommend trying both out at different times to see which you prefer. 

Team has the added benefit of (sometimes) allowing athletes to split work. So, perhaps you pair with others with your weaknesses as their strengths, and vice versa. This can lead to a fun and exciting first competition. It also helps to have teammates to ease the nerves of competition. 


Especially if you are competing for the first time, you do not need to do anything crazy with your training. Keep coming to classes, as this will best prepare you with various workouts to keep your body ready for anything you could face. Consistency is key. 

If you have time for extra training, it will be most beneficial to focus on your weaknesses. If you struggle with your level of conditioning, maybe throw in 1-2 miles of running after class. If you have trouble with specific skills, you could perform a 12-20 minute EMOM of focused skill work after class. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but even a little extra time working through the things you struggle with will help you better prepare. 

Once (and if) the workouts for the competition are released early, mix in some of these workout movements in your extra skill sessions. You could also take a day where you test a few of the workouts in lieu of a CrossFit class. If you are competing on a team, make sure you and your teammates have a couple days of practicing together. 

Local Competition at CrossFit Billings

Properly Deloading

The week of your competition is the time to deload and let your body rest up. If you are only doing a one-day competition, you could even begin your deload on Wednesday (if you compete on Saturday). 

Your deload does not need to be overly drawn out. Train as you normally would up until the week of your competition. You do not need to cut down your workouts weeks or a month out. 

Your deload also does not need to be overly complicated. If you know the workouts you will be completing, you could hit modified versions of these on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. On Thursday, you could go for a short run and a little practice session on any movements you still struggle with. Friday could be a rest day, and then you compete on Saturday. 

The Day Of competition

Don’t change anything

Competition day is not the time to try a new pre-workout or eat a drastically different breakfast. Keep things normal. Your body is used to this, so try to mimic a typical morning as best as possible. Any supplement you want to try should be tested weeks before you compete so you do not go into your competition uncomfortable or with stomach issues. 

Same thing for your fuel and hydration: don’t make any drastic changes. Bring food, water, and supplements that you know your body does well with. Make sure you have a good source of carbs between events, and stay on your hydration. 

Warm up for each event

You should warm up at least 30 minutes before each event. Completing is different from training—we are going at max effort, so you need to make sure your body is prepared for that effort. 

Take 10 minutes to get your heart rate up and mobilize. This could look like a five-minute jog followed by five minutes of dynamic stretching. 

Take another 10-15 minutes for a specific warm-up. If the event is high-skill, you may want a little more time here to make sure you can hit on each movement. 

Take the last 10 or so minutes to hit some ‘primers’ of the workout. These should be short but intense and get that initial heart rate spike out of the way, allowing it to feel better for the workout. 

Cool down and Recover

After each event, spend 10-15 minutes cooling down. This will make your next event feel significantly better. Hop on a bike or machine for at least 5 minutes, then spend another few getting in more dynamic stretching. 

Drink, eat, and recover for your next event. Even if you don’t feel like cooling down, it will help. 

have Fun!!!!!!

Competition is full of ups and downs. That is the beauty of CrossFit. There will be events that go better than expected, and there may be some that go worse. Either way, we can learn so much from competing, and you will walk away with some valuable experiences. So, dive in, have fun, and challenge yourself to do something new.

If you have any other questions about competing, reach out to coaches or other gym members. Everyone has their own unique experiences when competing, but there is still much to be learned from others. They can give advice on what division best suits you, and your coaches can point you in the right direction on what skills to give your focus to while you prepare. If you are looking for a gym that will challenge and prepare you to compete, check out CrossFit Billings.

people working out in a group fitness class


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