How to prepare for and rock your first Competition!

Written by Scarleth Castro

Hellooo! Hellooo! My beautiful souls! I hope your week is getting off to a good start!

For me this week started off with enjoying a two day rest from the gym. I used Sunday and yesterday (Monday) as a recovery day to recover from my SuperNova Trilogy competition (If you keep reading, I’ll talk about it shortly…don’t go away just yet).

To be honest, lately I have been testing out which days are best for me to work out and which days are best for me to rest. Reshuffling my days usually happen at the beginning of each season. This is because I am not a big fan of winter and I don’t do much then, but rather crawl in the comfort of my heater at home hahaha! –which allows me to be more flexible on working out pretty much any day versus in the summer when it’s my favorite season. I always have something to do and somewhere to be.

So, to have a balance with my fitness routine and having fun at the same time, I try to accommodate my days where it works best without having to stress out by missing one or the other.

Also, every other season our gym, Nova CrossFit, puts together an in-house, fun and friendly competition for our athletes at the gym. It’s called SuperNova! So, when this time arrives, I change up my training days to be able to train more and get ready for that day.

Super Nova was born last year, summer 2016, bringing athletes from various levels together to have fun, get to know each other, and partake in a friendly in-house competition. A competition that was designed to motivate us, to push past our comfort zone, to help showcase what we’ve learned in the gym, as well as, gives us the ability to discover our strengths and weaknesses. This also helps give us that feeling of what competitions are like in case we are interested in participating in future competitions.

I have participated in three Super Nova competitions. The first competition I did was in summer 2016 when my husband, Alfredo and I, were new to the CrossFit world. We had only been members at Nova Crossfit for six months. This was unfamiliar territory and a bit intimidating, just like anything else when you try it for the first time.

Looking back today, I like to compare my performance level both physical and mental. I can see where I have grown and where I still need work.

The first SuperNova I entered was in the novice division, then for the second SuperNova I signed up in the intermediate division and this year I did RX!

Each season, I’ve seen a great amount of improvement. In my first competition, I was shy and less confident, I didn’t really train for it and I wasn’t able to lift as heavy as I do now. My technique and form weren’t even close to how they are now, but hey! Remember we always start somewhere, it doesn’t matter if at first we don’t do our best work, things take time to flourish. I took that leap (I spoke about taking that leap in my previous post) and once you make that same decision, you’ll give yourself the opportunity learn everything you need to know and improve with time.

 (My first Super Nova, Summer 2016 doing single unders)

 (My first Super Nova, Summer 2016. You can see my form and technique was not quite the right one, but I gave it my all, that was for sure!)


In my second competition, I had gotten a little better than the first. I had gained more confidence and I was more familiar with the movements, allowing my technique and form to be better than the first Super Nova. I was also lifting slightly heavier. This time around, I partnered up with Vanessa and it was a wonderful experience to work with another female. We both worked very well as a team!

 (My second Super Nova, Fall 2016 doing some wall balls, at this point, I was a bit more confident and my strength had improved since the summer, I did Wall Balls at 14lbs)

 ( My second Super Nova, Fall 2016, being judged by my dear friend and peer, Stacie)

 (Super Nova, Fall 2016)

 (Super Nova, Fall 2016, performing a Snatch, not quite the clean form we always want to aim for. If I compare this picture with a recent one, it can speak for itself, huge improvements. Only by going through experience can we become better each day. Let’s keep pushing forward!)

In my third competition, I had done things a little different, this came with a year of experience and two Super Nova competitions, that led me to understand how competitions work. Although, this is a friendly in-house competition, I still want to do my best. After all, it’s a competition designed to make you work on the things you lack and practice the things that you are good at.

 (Super Nova Trilogy, Summer 2017- a whole year after, and I am lifting  10 deadlifts at 155lbs for three rounds. Only time can make you stronger!)

 (Super Nova Trilogy, Summer 2017, at this point, I can now do Double Unders, still working on both form and technique, but I have come a long way since single unders. Hoooray!)

 (Super Nova Trilogy, Summer 2017, you can see Vanessa and I working together. We both have grown together and having her as my partner for the second time has been such a pleasure, she is a very strong woman, who I admire.)

 (Super Nova Trilogy, Summer 2017, listening to the coach! He is making the rules clear, oh boy!)

I love to work in teams, and having a partner to work with and help one another, to me is my favorite part of it – knowing that you have someone to push through the pain with and knowing that equally, you have someone who is depending on you and you are depending on them to survive an intense workout is very motivating.

This season, Super Nova consisted of three workouts, we needed to complete throughout the course of the competition.

WOD 1:

AMRAP(As Many Reps As Possible) For 8 Minutes

2 Thrusters

2 Burpees

4 Thrusters

4 Burpees

6 Thrusters

6 Burpees

8 Thrusters

8 Burpees, 10, 10, 12, 12 and so on for the 8 minute time cap

RX: 135lb for Men/ 95lb for Women

I think this WOD was by far my least favorite, as I have mentioned time after time, my weakness is weight, and Thrusters at 95lbs can be heavy for me. Luckily, for my partner, weight is one of her strengths, which adds the perfect combination to our team. She was able to pick up where I lack and create a nice rhythm and pace. She is a beast!… and this is where you are able to witness the perfect blend between Vanessa and me. She was able to get those Thrusters in, while I would focus more on making my way through those Burpees, which happen to be one of my favorite movements. We were able to reach to the 14 Thruster mark and 1 Burpee. Not, bad for our first RX competition!

WOD 2:

For Time:

100 Double Unders


Pull ups

Goblet Squats at 73lb/55lbs

100 Double Unders

Honestly, this was my favorite work out, out of the three, and the one we both did and performed the best. Both my partner and I felt like we moved at a good pace throughout the entire work  out, again we helped each other with our weaknesses. Vanessa, is really good at pull ups and she was able to get those pull ups unbroken in each round, and I was able to do all the Goblet squats unbroken too, allowing each other to move well and efficiently by working on what was best for each other.

We shared the Double Unders so that we wouldn’t gas out. I’m not going to lie the Double Unders can be very tricking sometimes.

WOD 3:

3 Rounds For Time:

10 Deadlifts at 155lbs for women and 225lbs for men

50 Double Unders

12 minute cap and each teammate had to perform the 3 rounds before your partner could move on to doing their part.

What can I say about this WOD, this one for me was the most mental one, I felt like giving up a few times, between the heavy sets of Deadlifts and the three rounds of Double Unders fatigue can creep on you, but overall it was proven that we could survive it, if we just pause for a sec, gather ourselves and keep pushing.

Overall, it was a super experience, that we both are looking forward to doing next season and just pushing, improving and doing the best we can!

I encourage you, YES, YOU to try out a competition, even if you are shy, feel less confident, and are a bit intimidated, just go for it, it will leave you a great experience, one you can always look back and compare to your new self. It is worth it, I promise.

If I happened, to convince you to and you are leaning towards the idea to do the Super Nova 4 here a few things I put together to help you with your journey to perform the BEST you can!

These are the things that have helped me prepare to perform my best in this last Super Nova Trilogy III.

Weigh out your strengths and weaknesses: Whether you are doing this competition solo or with a partner (this was a partner WOD competition for us), one thing you want is to be aware that not all of us will share the same strengths and weaknesses. It is important to understand the two to know where you stand, to be clear on what you need to focus your time practicing.

In our case, my partner, Vanessa and I,  both took the time to get together and practice. This helped us assess each other’s weaknesses and strengths which in turn helped us achieve a method to balance one another. At this moment, we knew who needed to work on what and how we were going to help one another on the day of the competition. After all, it’s a team effort!

Invest more time training: Regardless of what level you are in, whether it is Novice, Scaled, or RX you should invest time in training, try to practice the movements more often to get acquainted with the correct way of moving your body. This will allow you to get familiarized with the movements and increase strength if you’re lacking it and help prevent any injury on that day.

In the weeks leading up to SuperNova, I decided to invest more time in my training by alternating my weeks, and working out 5-6 days a week followed by the next week only doing 3-4 days of training.

Every other day, I would practice after class either my kipping pull ups, thrusters, or double unders. I would put extra work on the thing I lacked for the competition.

I started to implement the ROMWOD, Range of Motion, to my weekly activity. This truly helped keep my joints flexible, reduce pain while improving balance and strength. I found that this had played a huge improvement in my overall workouts, and saw a difference in my performance this time around.

Train your mind “Mind over Matter”: Competitions are designed to challenge you and the workouts are typically harder than a regular everyday workout; the length and difficulty are much more. That’s why you need to mentally prepare. Remember your mental game is equally or more important than physical at this point. I find the way you train your mind is by preparation, when you are training physically, that’s when you are also training mentally.

Don’t sweat it: Don’t sweat the trivial things. Control what you can control and that’s it. When you are in that moment where your adrenaline is pumping, your heart is racing and your mind is focused on getting through those intense workouts, you cannot allow yourself to get distracted to try to control what the person next to you is doing, so don’t sweat it. You have to concentrate on doing what you have prepared all along to do and that is to be the best YOU can and do it to the best of your ability.

I want to share a quick observation I learned from watching the Cross Fit open this year. This year for the CrossFit Open, Katrin Davidsdottir and Sara Sigmundsdottir competed against each other for 17.5 and I noticed one thing:  Katrin Davidsdottir was focused on her performance and not once did she lose her concentration to think about what Sigmundsdottir was doing, while Sigmundsdottir would always lose her focus to see where Davidsdottir was.

I think this is a perfect scenario to learn from. Davidsdottir won 17.5 because she did not allow other things to get in her way to prevent her from losing focus.

This is something I learned and began implementing thereafter. It has helped me so much! Not only looking at what your competition is doing, but also looking at the time is something I recommend you do not do.

Get some rest:  Granted, all the above things are crucially important but what is possibly most important of all is sleep. I recommend that the day before, we don’t completely stay inactive, but stay away from high intensity workouts. Take this day to stretch and get some rest. Go to bed early to allow your body to be well rested for the big day. On an average, we should get our 7-9 hours of sleep.  This is because we don’t build muscle at the gym, we build muscle while we are sleeping, this is our recovery time.

Get your nutrition on track: I cannot promote this enough. I may be like that old scratched CD, but this is SUPER imperative! Our nutrition is the most important part of our lifestyle. Without proper nutrition our body CAN NOT perform to the best of its ability.

We should always focus on our nutrition, but if for some reason, you have slacked in this area or are new to this lifestyle you need to make this a focus if you want to competitively compete. I believe that starting right away, once you decide to compete and partake in heavy workouts, then the sooner you should get your nutrition on track then the better your body will perform.

I have been very consistent with my nutrition for the past five months, and in the weeks closer to the competition the only thing I did different was end my fat loss cycle and reverse my diet by going back to a maintenance phase to allow me to fuel more for the high intensity workouts that I would be enduring.

This truly helped me be able to lift the 95lb thrusters that at the beginning of the year I would have not been able to do.

Don’t change anything on that day: On game day, do not change anything, do not try to be spontaneous, do as you have practiced. The day of, isn’t that day. You had plenty of time to figure this out beforehand. Stick to the way you hold the bar, the way you jump your double unders, use the jump rope you have always used, stick to the shoes you always wear, etc…

Don’t freak out: Don’t panic, just go with the flow and think about how it is just another workout on one of those days at the gym. Just do it like you’ve done all the other times. Remember that being nervous is a good thing, important things make you nervous, so it’s OK to feel this way.

On game day it’s impossible to focus on where your peak falls among the competition. Game day is all about proving to yourself you can do it and have fun, remove any regrets and celebrate regardless of how you finished. Whatever the outcome is you did your BEST, you had the courage to do it and you survived! This is enough to make you a champ!

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