“Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
That’s what Matthew Lefave has been repeating to himself.
“In the past, I have often trained whatever I felt like on any given day,” Lefave says. “I am now more focused in my approach. I don’t have a coach, but discuss programming with the other trainers at Reebok CrossFit Liberty Village and we bounce ideas off each other.”
Lefave has good reason to trust their judgment: in its first Open, CrossFit Liberty Village qualified a team for the Canada East Regional.
Lefave has competed in Canada East since the 2010 Sectional event. He made it to the Games in 2012, finishing 39th. Since appearing at the Home Depot Center, he’s focused on volume, and getting in as much as his schedule will allow.
“My biggest challenge is finding enough time away from my job to ensure that I can focus on training frequently, intensely, and make time for adequate rest,” Lefave admits.
He finished the Open ranked 11th in Canada East.
“My focus is not on how I finish in the Open. I do, however, focus on the workouts the week they are released and will often try them more than once,” Lefave says. “This year I found 13.1 and 13.4 more challenging than I expected, so I tried them a few times. I felt that I could have done better on 13.5 if I gave it another try, but opted not to. I felt good about the (workout) and it did not hurt me the way I might have expected.”
Though Lefave prefers to train with a lot of volume, he also tries to balance his movement patterns.
“I try to ensure that my loads are not so heavy to take away from speed and ultimately the power or intensity of the workout. It’s not an exact science, and requires trial and error,” he says.
He says he used to run and row a lot more often than he did this year.
“This year, my condition work typically involves a barbell with lighter loads for longer durations.”
He’s also changed his nutrition.
“I’m taking a relaxed approach with respect to nutrition. Training heavy and often requires a lot of fuel,” he explains. “My body and mind feel better when I let myself eat what I want from time to time. I still eat relatively clean, but am not as strict with my diet as I once was.”
He’s getting stronger and recovering better, with more energy. These improvements feed Lefave’s mental game, which he feels will be a major component at Regionals.
“The mental side of the game is huge in CrossFit, especially as the margins between victory and defeat decrease as the level of competition rises,” he says. “Having a solid mental game can be the difference between winning and losing.”
To prep for Regionals, he plans to crank the volume of his workouts even higher, work on weaknesses and focus on his ability to perform in uncomfortable situations.
“I also try to get mentally ready to compete by putting myself through more grueling, longer mono-structural workouts like long runs, rows, etc.,” Lefave says. “In competition, you must be able to perform in less than optimal circumstances, and I try and force myself to train in those conditions whenever possible.”
Lefave’s focus on a high volume, but stress-free approach to nutrition is reflected in his appreciation for Matt Chan.
“He’s a bigger athlete who has adapted his training over the year and has had great success. His approach to competition is strategic and well thought out.”
Lefave admittedly has less strategy and relies more on training and will to succeed, but he finds value in Chan’s approach.
“I have great respect — and perhaps a bit of envy — for his recent disconnection from modern day life in exchange for a 127-square-foot Airstream. Many people talk about doing things like this, but Matt and Cherie had the courage to act on it.”