The CrossFit Games are the biggest event of the year in the world of CrossFit. Thousands of athletes all around the world prepare all year to qualify for and win the Games. Travis Mayer, 6X CrossFit Games Competitor and Owner of United Performance in Alpharetta, Georgia, is preparing to take the podium in July 2021 during the Games. Before starting CrossFit, Travis grew up very active playing every sport including basketball, hockey, baseball, golf, and even running cross-country. His main sport was motocross, and he raced for 10 years.
My goal this year is to take the CrossFit Games Podium in 2021. I am taking a whole new approach this year as I prepare, which includes tracking my sleep to optimize my recovery, working with a mental coach, and adding a wider variety of coaches into the mix to get the most out of my training.
I have already started training for the CrossFit Open that starts at the beginning of March. The CrossFit Open is the largest participatory sporting event in the world, setting a record of more than 415,000 participants across 172 countries in 2018. Due to COVID-19, the CrossFit Open will be held at local gyms and/or athletes’ homes online this year. Depending on your performance during the Open, you will qualify for the Quarter Finals and then the Semi-Finals. Your performance during these events will then determine if you qualify for the Games in July. This will be my 10th year participating in the CrossFit Open.
One of the big things I have learned throughout competing in CrossFit is to run your own race, control what you can control, and prepare to have things not go your way. You have to be able to accept whatever happens and know that when you walk off the floor, you laid it all out there.
I am achieving my goal of getting to the Podium by setting daily targets for each movement in training, dialing in my nutrition and the quality of my diet, and tracking my sleep.
I try to keep the same schedule throughout the year. With three little boys at home and our 4th child arriving in February, I have to plan out my days. I train from 8-10:30AM for my first session which is typically strength-related, followed by movement work. I take a break until 1PM, then train from 1:15-2:30PM for my second training session. During the second session, I do an all CrossFit, high-power output workout. Then, I complete another session at home typically around 4-5:30PM that consists of high-skill gymnastics mixes with weightlifting or another CrossFit session. After each workout, I get on a bike or rower and cool down for typically 5 minutes before I go into some light stretching. My workout routine changes throughout the year as I get closer to competitions, but this is my routine as of the start of 2021.
My favorite ways to recover are at night, after my wife and I put the boys down for bed. I’ll spend an hour doing movement work, stretching, and meditating. Night time is when I have time for extended recovery.
Sleep is one of my favorite recovery tools and it doesn’t take much work; it just requires learning about how to shut off your mind and relax. I try to get to sleep by 9:15PM and wake up at 6AM. Sleep is a major part of my recovery and I will continue to make that priority for my lifetime.
The Eight Sleep Pod Pro has been a huge game changer for my sleep. Controlling the bed temperature to keep me cooler throughout the night enables me to stay in a deeper REM cycle and helps me feel well rested when I wake up. I set my Pod initially at +3 , then throughout the night I have it set to change to 0 and then -2. I set my wakeup temperature to +7 so I wake up with heat instead of sound.
The Pod has also made me aware of certain sleep habits including how long it takes me to fall asleep, the consistency of my bedtime and wake up times, and how long it takes me to get out of bed in the morning. I have actually PR’d my back squat, split jerk, and metcon retest after sleeping on the Pod Pro. So, you can say the Pod is helping me hit all the PR’s.
Focus on giving your best effort every day that you walk into the gym. Try to set an intention for your workout and focus on that. Don’t worry about the outcome or hitting a PR and, trust me, the more you are able to focus on being in the present moment, the more you will gain out of the day. Then the PR’s will start to happen.