5 Things That Will Make Your Swag Bags Better

Most competitions offer swag bags for pick-up at the registration table on event morning. What you might not know is that the items in your swag bag can directly affect your event favorability. Athletes expect a well-curated bag, but that is at odds with your goal of keeping costs low.

Here is a list of affordable, sure-to-impress products you may not have thought about including in your swag bag:

1. Strideline Socks

If you are tired of dealing with athlete shirt sizes, custom branded socks may be the perfect solution. There are no order minimums, but you will need a little more lead time than you would for shirt sizes – 3 weeks. However, because they are one-sized, it will be next to impossible to mess up an order. Bonus: You won’t receive any last-minute emails with requests to change an athlete’s shirt size.

 

2. Junk Headbands

Another non-shirt option for your swag bag is Junk Headbands. You can choose from one of their MANY headband options in a color scheme that matches your event branding, or you can have custom headbands made in a variety of styles.

3. Retail Coupons for Vendors At Your Event

Don’t just offer coupons in your bag – offer coupons for vendors that are present at your event, so your athletes can make a purchase right then and there. If you ask for swag bag coupon contributions as part of the cost of being a vendor or sponsor, this costs you nothing!

4. Creative Snacks

You can offer protein sample packets, but you can also get creative with your snack offerings! Consider offering something like Jelly Belly’s Sport Beans for a quick dose of carbs that your athletes will love snacking on between events.

5. Lunch Voucher

If you are running an all-day event, there is one universal truth: your athletes will need to eat at some point. Show them you’ve already thought about this by having a lunch offering on-site (maybe your local meal-prep company and/or a favorite food truck) and giving all athletes free or reduced lunch.

Op-Ed: Hosting Your Competition On Throwdowns.com Will Make Your Event Better

There are a lot of options on the market for competition registration and scoring solutions. Some are companies substantially larger than Throwdowns.com. A few require a smaller investment. Some have been around awhile longer.

We have run 500 successful competitions since we opened for business three years ago. I have personally been with the company for half that time; running all the operations for almost as long.

Why should you choose us to partner with you for your event? There are a few reasons.

We are not a big company with a huge support team you’ll only have email access to. It isn’t our policy to hit you with an FAQ and ask you to figure it out on your own. I will personally partner with you every step of the way. Not a fan of asking questions via email? No problem. You can call, text, What’s App, Facebook message, Skype or Snapchat me anytime. You can even try your luck with carrier pigeon, if that is your preferred method. Leading up to your event we guarantee a 24-hour response turnaround time, and on event weekend, that guarantee is an hour (if that).

We have a robust platform that is highly customizable. If there is something you want your event to be able to do, there is a good chance we can accommodate it. But we are also constantly taking suggestions on how to improve the product, so if you want something we don’t currently offer, we may be able to bake it in. In the grand scheme, we haven’t been around very long, but we are battle-tested and have tons of flexibility. You can relax in knowing that your score system is going to work exactly the way you need it to when it counts. We’ll even travel to run your scoring onsite if you want the added peace of mind.

Another one of our advantages is that we are fully owned and operated by competitive crossfitters, coaches and event logistics planners who also happen to be software gurus. We don’t just know technology – we know CrossFit, and we know events. We’ve been there on every side of the table, so we anticipate what you will need for your competition before you do. And if you need a protein sponsor, a videographer recommendation, an emcee or an apparel company; let us help make the connection for you. We also have relationships with vendors in all different sectors of the competition business.

You care about your people, and your registration and scoring vendor should too. We have a heart for the community and will help with charity events to the best of our ability. At the very least, we will always decrease our rate for charity events.

And finally, our reputation in the community is unparalleled. Throwdowns.com has run 500 successful events all over the world – and our community of highly satisfied repeat customers will agree: we are the best out there. We care just as much about your event being seamless as you do, and we take pride in not just having a beautiful product that your athletes, vendors and scorekeepers will enjoy using – but in having the strongest and most accessible team behind the scenes to help you succeed.

My name is Kate, and I’m co-owner and Director of Operations for Throwdowns.com. You can reach me directly to set up your next event at kate@throwdowns.com or (419)-279-9974.

Watching the Games? You need to see this.

The Games are finally here, and we can’t wait to watch the action in Madison, WI.

We get it. You also want to watch the Games. But you don’t want to be a slug the whole weekend.

We’ve taken the guesswork out of the equation for you and crafted this one-of-a-kind workout for your Games-viewing shenanigans. Grab some friends and your recovery beverage of choice and get to watching!

  1. Announcer mentions Annie Thorisdottir’s smile – 10 v-ups
  2. A rookie is highlighted for more than 30 seconds – Run/Row 400m
  3. Camera pans to athlete in ice-bath or makeshift ice-bath (i.e. forearms in cooler) – 5 tricep pushups
  4. Camille Leblanc-Bazinet says “Dave” (can be either Dave) – 15 sumo-stance squats (with a kettlebell if you have one handy)
  5. CrossFit Mayhem doesn’t win an event but is still interviewed – 5 inchworms
  6. Dave Castro is awkward (open to interpretation) – 30 second plank hold
  7. Emotional commercial makes you think you might cry – 10 backward-stepping lunges (total)
  8. Josh Bridges yells – 15 jumping squats
  9. Male competitor wears leggings – 100 double unders / 200 single unders
  10. Mention of Mat Fraser’s cardiovascular condition (current or former) – 20 mountain climbers
  11. Noah Ohlsen has perfect hair post-wod (aka every wod) – 30 second handstand hold
  12. “Rich Froning” mentioned during Individual events – 5 burpees
  13. Sara Sigmundsdottir eats or talks about eating (to be clear, she is our spirit animal and we love her) – 20 situps and/or go get a snack
  14. You hear the word “varied”  – 10 forward-stepping lunges (total)

What did we miss? Tag us in your Games Workout videos on Instagram to let us know how you fare.

Should Your Event Have an Online Qualifier? (Five Things to Consider)

Should My Event Have a Qualifier?

This is a question we wish more people would ask. Qualifiers can add huge amounts of value to your event… but if you aren’t able to give them the attention they deserve, they could do more harm than good.

There are a few things to think about if you are on the fence about having a qualifier.

  1. Size of the Event
  2. Administrative capabilities
  3. Level of Athlete
  4. Brand Goals
  5. Internet in Your Area

A qualifier requires as much, if not more, work than an in-person event. Although you don’t have to concern yourself with the onsite logistics, you will have to deal with every athlete concern under the sun – from accurately communicating and enforcing standards, video upload issues, validating submissions and beyond. A qualifier is not for the faint of heart.

Size of the Event

Large competitions are natural contenders for qualifiers, however, having an event with a lot of people does not inherently mean you should have a qualifier. If your venue can accommodate many athletes, you may be better off letting people register from the get-go. Also, if you have a large event but people hold off on registration until the very last minute, you may wish to skip the qualifier.

The last thing you want to do in the weeks before your competition is worry about validating online videos. That said, you can still incorporate a qualifier component into your event without having a full-blown qualifier. Consider having one workout for athletes to submit prior to the final event to decide your heats.

Administrative Capabilities

Some large events are run by a robust team where the duties are distributed. Some large competitions are run by a solo administrator. Neither option is wrong, but if you are running lean, you may not be able to give your qualifier the attention it deserves. Consider this: If you have 300 would-be competitors, three qualifier workouts over the course of three weeks and every competitor has one question per workout, that is 900 questions over the three week time period. Do you really want that many Facebook notifications and emails if you don’t absolutely need them?

There’s also potentially a ton of work involved in reviewing and keeping track of video submissions. Be sure to pick a system that simplifies this as much as possible. We’ve designed our system so that athletes can easily include video links in their score submission, and you can optionally configure whether or not the videos appear publicly on the leaderboards. If they do appear publicly, you’ll have the benefit of other athletes helping to police and maintain standards. If you prefer to keep the videos private, you’ll still have a streamlined way to review and keep track in our easy to use admin interface.

Castle Games preferred to keep video submissions hidden from the public leaderboard for their qualifier event.

Level of Athlete

Qualifier events are not suitable for every type of athlete. If the event you are throwing is popular but not exceptionally competitive, a qualifier may dissuade athletes from signing up because it feels more official. You know the kind of athlete you want to attract to your competition, but keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be an all-or-none decision. A hybrid approach is also possible. For example, you might require a qualifier only for your RX or Elite divisions, but allow registrations into Scaled divisions without a qualifier.

Brand Goals

You have to get honest with yourself for this one. What are your goals? Are you looking to have a successful event once or twice a year, or do you want to build a competition-throwing empire? Maybe you are looking to branch into programming for the masses, or becoming a memorable event franchise. A qualifier may be a natural thing to incorporate into your competitions.

If you are thinking about ways to expand your brand footprint and generate some extra revenue without too much additional overhead here’s an idea for you: host a live event each year, but host an online virtual event at the halfway point through the year to stay in touch with your community of athletes. It’s easy to offer incentives such as free registration or discounted registrations to athletes who place well in the virtual comp.

Internet in Your Area

In some parts of the world, access to video hosting software is less than optimal. If you know that your athletes will have a hard time uploading their workout videos, you may be better off not requiring video submissions or skipping the qualifier component altogether. Ultimately, if it makes your athletes’ lives harder and makes them think less of your event, it is not the right choice for your competition.

You know what your community of athletes will appreciate. If a qualifier is the right choice for you, make sure you have the right scoring and leaderboard platform in place to simplify and reduce as much of the work as possible. The team here at Throwdowns would be honored to support your next qualifier event with our tried and true registration and scoring system. It’s been designed to streamline online qualifiers as much as possible, and we’re committed to your success. Get in touch with us here to get started.

The Ultimate Functional Fitness Shoe Comparison

Finding your perfect shoe can be a tall order.

There are so many shoes on the market for all your functional fitness needs. Ultimately, the best way to figure out what you like is to take them for a WOD or two. We have compiled a list of the most popular options with pros and cons to help you make a decision, whether you are new to the functional fitness shoe-buying game or a veteran looking for a change.

Nike Metcon 3 – Starts at $97.48 (sale prices – full price $129.95) 

With a beautiful mesh upper, re-imagined sole and outsole, classy plastic TPU for stability in the heel, a subtler heel clip that the 2s, and the standard swoosh we’ve all come to know and love, the Metcon 3 is a thoughtfully designed shoe. The Metcon 3 is best for an athlete with a standard width foot. If you prefer a more sock-like feel, you might want to give the DSX Flyknits a try. They are a little more expensive than the Metcon 3 but offer more pliability. Heavy sweaters beware.

 

Nike Metcon 3 starts at less than $100 while they’re on sale. Get them here.

 

Best quality: Flex Appeal. These shoes are incredibly attractive and multi-functional.
Worst quality: Squeaky sole, although an improvement from the Metcon 2. If you *like* the box jump squeak, then the downside isn’t a downside at all.

Reebok Nano 7.0 – Starts at $79.99 (sale prices – full price $130)

A vibrant shoe with creative colorways and subtler branding than previous models, the Nano 7.0 is a great option on the market. They have a durable coating on the shoe called “Nano Weave” that will hold up to whatever you throw at it – and the rope climb guard on the inside adds an extra pop of color and added durability. Reebok has also added TPU plastic at the heel to this iteration. The Nano 7.0 runs a little narrow and will be better for narrower-footed folks. Their toe box runs a bit big, though, so you’ll want to try these on if at all possible.

 

Make every nanosecond count with the CrossFit Nano 7.0. Get yours here.

 

Best quality: Highly durable
Worst quality: Overstated color options; a little stiff (on account of the durability)

NOBULL – Starts at $129.99


The NOBULL trainer has a classy, understated design with a Toms-style appeal. The upper is a single piece, made of what NOBULL calls SuperFabric® – a durable, breathable, comfortable fabric that won’t scuff or damage with whatever you throw at it. The NOBULL logo graces the side, so there’s no mistake about the brand, but the sole and upper color options are classic and understated (with the exception of the Lemon Drop Trainer). NOBULLs are also suitable for casual wear, and their look fits the bill of a crossover athletic/casual shoe. But, at the core, the NOBULL is a no-gimmick training shoe that holds up to metcons, barbell movements and looks good at the coffee shop after your workout. You may have to try a few sizes to get the right fit, but once you find the right one, you are sure to be pleased with your purchase.

 

These are one of the most durable functional shoes you’ll find anywhere. Get a pair here while they last.

 

Best quality: Classic no-gimmick shoe – versatile, comfortable and functional
Worst quality: Innocuous logo that some may not like; a little wide

No matter what functional shoe you choose, Rogue is sure to have what you’re looking for at the right price. It’s time to find your new favorite pair of shoes.

If you’ve already found your perfect pair of shoes and are look for a new training program to accompany it, check out our post about preparing for the 2018 Open.

The Best Advice for the 2018 CrossFit Open

CrossFit is a sport that rewards consistency. You don’t have to be the best at anything to win a competition. However, it’s unlikely you’ll come out on top if you’re the worst at anything. Your chances of success are good if you are average across the board and substantially higher if you are better than average across the board.

The best advice you’ll ever receive for the 2018 Open: train your weaknesses. Start now!

If you’re not getting out of your comfort zone and doing the movements you either dread or tend to avoid on a regular basis, you’re not doing yourself any favors. The CrossFit Open is expressly designed to expose weaknesses, so put in the work now and prepare for your best open ever!

It’s far from a comprehensive guide, but here’s a short list to get you thinking. Be honest with yourself!

  • What movements in the 2017 Open tripped you up the most?
    • Squat snatches? Bar Muscle-ups? Handstand Pushups?
    • When did you last train these movements?
    • Are you keeping a log and charting progress so that you cam measure progress?
  •  What movements do you hope are not in the 2018 Open?
    • Good candidates are advanced skills we’ve seen in previous opens and in regionals. (It wouldn’t even be that surprising to even see handstand walks given their increasing prominence in regional events.)
    • Do you have a program in place and a training partner to help you attack these weaknesses?
    • Have you been putting in any time with dumbbells?
  • Do you have mobility or range of motion restrictions that hold you back?
    • Proper technique and efficiency in the Olympic lifts are practically one and the same. Mobility and range of motion is essential for all of them, including the “power” variations.
    • Do you know your restrictions, and are you specifically targeting them with focused routines?
    • Try yoga classes, ROMWods, and Mobility WODs and see what works. Test and re-test your ranges of motion where there is restriction.
  • Are you strong enough?
    • Although sometimes overlooked, are you squatting, deadlifting, and pressing enough with heavy weight?
    • Are you stronger today than you were this time last year, or even two years ago?
    • Consider spending the next 3-6 months getting as strong as possible with a linear progression. (If you’re not keeping a log and seeing increases in strength, start today!)

This list could go on and on, but you get the point: train your weaknesses. Try to get to the point that there’s nothing that you truly dread or feel that you just completely can’t do. You don’t have to be the best at it, but don’t allow yourself to be the worst!

Go on the record with a training partner, and keep a training log. Pre-pay for a bundle of personal training sessions with a coach. Do whatever it takes.

Finally, remember: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” (Tim Notke)

Don’t wait till January to think about these things. Start today.

Photography by Ann’s Forever Images.