Forgive me if you feel my hands reaching through your monitor or phone screen and placing a firm grip around your neck…the following post is a topic of great fervor in my world. I’ve got 2 words for yas this week guys…Mental. Toughness.
So, I’m not saying I am the QUEEN of iron will, but I have been asked on several occasions “how do you just GO?” and to be quite honest, I don’t know the answer.
A part of me believes that mental toughness isn’t something you can just go out and get like a new pair of Nanos. I’m actually not even sure it’s something you can develop, like technique on your snatch; the more you work the drills, muscle memory will take over.
If I had to put my finger on what makes me “just go” ..and keep going, 3 factors come to mind: motivation, confidence, and self-discovery.
Motivation is another topic within itself…let’s call that next week’s post.
So, the second player here: confidence…self-assurance…knowing yourself and trusting yourself. I think I can thank my parents for this because this has always been something I have had going for me and I don’t know how or where it came from. I don’t know a damn thing about child rearing, but there is something instilled at a young age that makes a person self -reliant and walk around exuding a “hey…I got this” aura for the rest of their life. Not in a cocky way, just in a way that demonstrates self-respect and confidence, not constantly needing praise, approval, or attention. So, whatever my parents did, I hope I can channel because I want my kids to be fierce, “watch me rock this” fire breathers at whatever they so choose to do one day. So while it’s not genetic, it’s damn close in that it starts early.
Another thing that supports the self-confidence battle is believing in yourself and having positive self-talk. The highlight of my previous post, this is an essential tool in keeping a level head in WOD crisis. When life challenges you, knocks you on your ass do you think telling yourself negative things is going to make you more or less equipped to deal? Talking yourself up, mentally getting behind yourself and pure WILL POWER is going to do wonders in any difficult situation, especially staring at a barbell with 10% more than your 1RM on it. If you aren’t a naturally self-confident person, that can be conditioned and practiced. Start telling yourself you’re capable EVERY DAY. Pull a Ron Burgundy; look in the mirror and tell yourself you’re one SEXY BEAST…and believe it!…just don’t be an cocky a-hole.
Then we insert the desire to self-discover. There is something about looking at a fat, complicated, “WTF IS THIS?” kind of WOD written on paper that makes me react with a “BRING IT ON” attitude.
Being comfortable with being uncomfortable is a skill that needs worked, but knowing the benefits you will reap from practicing this makes every ounce of pain worth it. In order to grow, you have to be a little uncomfortable…and what’s life without growth? LIFE BEGINS OUTSIDE OF OUR COMFORT ZONE, peeps!
No one ever got anywhere from staying within their limits.Which by the way, are fake.
So being excited for the next test to push the limits of physical capacity is paramount to athletic progress. Knowing it’s going to hurt and manning up to the challenge anyways. Of course if you step up to the plate, you have to follow through. This means grabbing the bar immediately after dropping it, hopping back up on the rings when your shoulders are burning, and getting in the few reps as the clock approaches time. Proving that your body CAN, in fact, push harder when your brain says it cannot earns you the title of “Certified BadAss” in your world.
It’s a glorious feeling to surpass one’s own expectations of themselves. Feeding off of that high instead of fearing it…that’s what separates good athletes and GREAT athletes…especially in a sport like CrossFit.
The next month is a serious test of mental toughness. Bringing your best performance EVERY week, for 5 weeks in a row may not sound difficult, but for some, it could be hell. Self-imploding break downs are on the horizon for those that expect unrealistic outcomes. Tearing oneself down with disappointment and negative self-talk based on one week’s score will UNDOUBTEDLY affect the weeks to follow. Keeping a level head and encouraging yourself, not having expectations, having fun and EMBRACING THE SUCK is the best game plan for the CrossFit Open, as it is for any other sporting competition. Do like Troy Bolton says and “Get’cha head in the game!” while feeding off of the excitement of the next 5 weeks! #ITSFINALLYHERE!