Once the ten-second countdown to that nasty workout has started there is only one thing that can dictate how well you will perform. It’s not your massive quads or your inexhaustible aerobic capacity, it's that little voice inside your head. It can be your greatest weapon, or it can be your worst enemy. Is that voice reminding you of all the movements that you´re not good at? About how strong the guy next to you is? About how long this 25 min AMRAP is going to feel? Even the greatest athletes have moments of self-doubt. The question is: how do we overcome these limiting thoughts in order to unlock our greatest potential?
There is only the event, and the story we tell ourselves about it
If you go into your WOD thinking that round three will feel terrible then, congratulations, your career as a fortune-teller is off to a good start. However, you should consider prophesying something more productive than a painful workout. The stories we tell ourselves about an event (before, during, and after) have a tremendous impact on our performance. Countless scientific studies have confirmed the physiological benefits of positive thinking, including; strengthened immune system, lower risk of depression, and even increased life span. That means we can significantly increase our athletic performance by simply changing the stories we tell ourselves about our training!
So what are the skills you need to build a strong mind? Here are five techniques you can incorporate into your training to make sure that you are developing the mindset of a champion:
1. Keep a Positive Attitude
Cut the negative self-talk! It does you no good to remind yourself that this weight is heavy, or that your lungs are burning. Why not frame the same situation more positively? You ARE capable of lifting this weight! This workout is making you a better, healthier human being! Framing a situation in a positive light will have a tremendous and instant impact on your performance!
2. Keep Moving Forward
It’s easy to get frustrated if you miss a rep or start tripping on double-unders. However, succumbing to your nerves will only lead to more missed reps. Compose yourself and recognize that you can’t influence the past, you can only move forward.
3. Focus on What You Can Control
You have a circle of control, influence, and concern. Too many athletes spend massive amounts of energy worrying about variables that reside in their circle of concern. No amount of stressing about these things will help them improve. Instead, focus on the things that you can control or influence to set yourself up for success.
4. Be Rational Not Emotional
CrossFit workouts have an amazing ability to humble anyone. That humility is forged by massive amounts of SUCK - in which even the most conditioned athlete will feel weak, broken, and hopeless. It’s easy to let your emotions dictate your thoughts in those challenging moments. However, you can control your emotions by engaging the left side of your brain - which is all about logic and reasoning. Count your reps as you go through them. Focus on your breathing. Find clever ways to pace the workout. Focusing on the task at hand will shut down a negative emotional response and help you push through the discomfort.
5. Have FunChances are that you’re not going to compete at the CrossFit Games - so don´t take your training too seriously. Instead, make sure that training is fun! The best way to do that is to create a community of like-minded athletes that support each other to become better than yesterday. Get a little challenge in with your buddies, laugh at how those 50 thrusters are gonna crush your soul, and smile at the challenges ahead.
Mindset is everything
One of the greatest things about training is that it prepares you to endure challenges in any area of your life. These lessons will work just as well in the office or home as they do in the box. Before you tackle your next challenge, keep those tips in mind. Stay positive, focus on the future and the things you can control, stay rational, and remember to have fun!
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About the Author: Gab Haudrechy
Gab is a passionate CrossFit athlete who fell in love with the sport after watching his friends compete in 17.1. His favorite workouts are long grinders which require a strong mind to persevere. When he's not crushing his training or working on his horrible overhead mobility he can be found at the closest burger place, sharing intimate milkshakes with his training partners.