How about 18.3 for a kick in the gut….err…I mean a pleasant surprise 😉

Seriously, did anyone EVER expect an open workout to contain 800 double-unders, and 48 total muscle ups?

If you just answered yes, I call BS, or I urge you to go play the lottery….or both?

Regardless, I have to be honest – even typing this blog is somewhat difficult…the shoulder soreness is real!

However, unlike last week, I am not battling any of the mental fog, headaches, or even fatigue that was experienced post 18.2 and 18.2a.

But what does soreness and lack of fatigue mean in terms of recovery?

How much more fuel do we need to move forward?

Well, this blog is being written to help you address just THAT – and to ensure you are in a position to CRUSH 18.4, whatever craziness it will be!

Let’s dig in!


I rarely do this, but I will take a moment and recognize that our iN3 clients all have customized recovery protocols built around them and their individual lifestyles.  This is not simply to “advertise our services”, but rather to point out the fact that I believe EVERYONE should have this if they are truly trying to maximize their results.

OK, cheap plug aside, let’s begin looking at where we currently sit:

Have you recovered from each workout?

Now I asked you this question last week, but today I am going to go deeper.

The question itself addresses the workouts singularly – meaning did you consume extra carbs in the post workout window, did you do any movement or breathing work, and did you consider extra carbs later in the day to address the overall systemic effect of the workout.

But this week let’s also consider recovery from “The Open”

While it often goes unspoken, the mental stress of these five weeks is real.

Even if you “don’t care” about your score, I’d be willing to bet you have thought about these workouts more than you think about your typical training….

Thoughts of PR’ing your clean in week 2…

Thoughts of those dreaded double-unders in week 3…

Perhaps thoughts of your first muscle up…

Whatever it is that has been occupying your mind, it is likely a mild stressor to the body which must be considered when addressing overall recovery.

How do we quantify this?

BIOFEEDBACK of course 🙂

Have you noticed hunger fluctuations?

A decrease in hunger this time of year is NOT what you should be experiencing, especially given the nature of the workouts.  However, a lack of hunger is often associated with under recovery during more intense training phases – so if you are experiencing a decrease, consider some sort of refeed.

Has your sleep quality changed?

If you have followed this blog for any amount of time, you know the effect that intense exercise has in terms of cortisol release, and what that does to sleep quality.  So if you are experiencing sleep disturbances, we recommend adding ADDITIONAL CARBS (not just moving carbs) before bed to help reduce cortisol before bed, subsequently increasing the quality of your sleep.

Has your energy or ability to focus changed?

Obviously we want to maintain energy throughout all five weeks of the open.  Soreness and some fatigue are normal, but it should not be altering your overall ability to live.  If you notice that your physical and mental fatigue are affecting your overall quality of life, you absolutely need to be creating more recovery in your training week.  This can come in the form of more food, less stress, or other recovery modalities like body work, movement work, etc..


Last week we made you aware that you ARE in a recovery debt, but we also informed you that this is very normal.

This week we will remind you of this, and mention the fact that your recovery debt has increased.

However, as mentioned above, I believe this comes more so from the CNS, and less physically.

Obviously your shoulders and calves are a bit fried, but those will recover just fine before Thursday/Friday.

But mentally you have now spent three weeks leaderboard watching, three weeks breaking down your movements more than you have all year, and three weeks beating yourself up because “you know you can do better.”

Listen – none of those are bad things, but we MUST draw awareness to them, and understand their potential impact on your recovery.

We have already outlined the strategies to combat this above, so I will not be redundant here.


We are officially, IN THE OPEN – over halfway there…but still with two more weeks to maximize our position on the leaderboard.

Even if you have no regional aspirations, you should always aim to maximize your efforts – so don’t sell yourself short.

Contrary to week 2 where we recommended an increase in carbohydrates in the form of additional calories to bridge the gap, this week I do not think that a ton of extra calories are needed.

Instead, I think we need to shift your energy intake.

If you followed our 18.3 advice, you know that I talked about having some clients shift their fat intake down, and subsequently increasing their carbs – but still remaining at the same calorie intake.

This was done in an effort to provide as much direct fuel as possible, while keeping bodyweight down for the gymnastic movements of the workout.

As we move forward, I am going to recommend a similar protocol for moving into 18.4.

There are so many reasons that you NEED the carbohydrates; (ironic, given that they are a non-essential nutrient) recovery, fuel, etc.. But given the nature of 18.3 I do not believe we need a ton of extra calories.

Most people will benefit from something simple like dropping 5g fat and increasing 15g carb, or dropping 10g fat, and adding 25g carb.

This is a gross generalization, but should give you somewhere to start.

Additionally, because this was one of the first workouts where we saw a large stimulus to one muscle group directly, localized inflammation is likely very high.  To combat this, minimize any foods that may trigger inflammation in your body early this week.

NOTE – YOU MUST STILL HIT YOUR NUMBERS, so do not sacrifice quantity!


18.2 and 18.3 both had the potential to create a significant level of inflammation which WILL show itself on the scale.  This can be a recipe for DISASTER if you are one of the population that believes a less than 1% movement on the scale (i.e. gaining 1 lb if you are more than 100 lbs) will actually affect your gymnastics.

Personally I feel like less than 1% is not significant enough, but we all know the…ummm….”special” mental nature of crossfitters 🙂


If I had to guess, I would hedge that 18.4 will contain a weighted movement, and will be a workout with a similar CNS effect to 18.2.

This will require extra fuel, and extra recovery (as you learned last week).

Be sure to follow us on Facebook as well as our blogs here to know whether you need extra carbs Thursday night, and if so, potentially how many 🙂

Here’s to another great week – GO CRUSH IT!