Mental Toughness Life Skill #3– Using Positive Self-Talk and Visualization (Part 2)

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(This is part two on this extensive series on how be more positive in your daily life. Having a positive outlook will be one the most challenging aspects to your journey towards mental toughness. Again, the goal is not to completely get rid of the negativity, but to work against it. Doubt will always be a part of everybody’s persona. The difference is confronting it instead of running away from it.)

To make this positive transition in your life, you must be patient. Most of you have spent decades turning yourself into a chronic naysayer that the change to seeing the light at the end of the tunnel won’t happen overnight. But, unlike which came first the chicken or the egg, the positive mindset must be developed in the physical training first. By getting through the grueling WODs, you will see first-hand evidence that positive self-talk can be effective when faced with massive amounts of temptation of quitting. In may not be obvious at first, but as you begin to pile up the accomplishment of overcoming the WODs, you will slowly begin to believe more and more in the skill of a positive dialogue. As your sense of belief begins to grow with encouraging self-talk, you will use more of this skill in the WODs, especially at those critical moments where you think you’ve had enough. By solidifying your positive self-talk skill and seeing and experiencing it for yourself at how powerful a tool it can be, your beginning to setup your usage of it in your daily life.

Again, don’t expect a huge change in the beginning. The most likely progression is that you will still be a sturdy negative brick wall for a while, but gradually, you will begin to hear that same inner voice that is screaming at you to not quit during the WOD, shouting at you not give up when you think you life is going down the drain. The change is subtle so you need to be on the lookout for it. You will still hear that consistent discouraging negative voice telling yourself that can’t do it, but now it will be off-set by positive encouragement urging you to keep on fighting and turn the tide. The more accomplishments you get over in your personal life, the more often you will hear yourself screaming at you to never quit when pursing a real life adversity.
As you proceed in your development of a positive mindset, you will notice how much you have changed especially when you first encounter a new adversity. The potential problem will still get you down, but instead of automatically accepting defeat, you will begin to search for possibilities to get you out the mess. You may only come up with a few options, but I’ll take it. What is important is that you continue to use the momentum of positive self-talk going into a new fight. How you view an adversity before it blows up completely is crucial to how you approach it.

By remaining positive, even if a little, can help you dissect the problem in a more realistic and attainable matter. With a clear mind, you can come with a creative plan to help you get out of your mess. Having a positive mindset just raises your energy level while heavy self-complaining puts you in a constant state of tiredness. Negativity is just so mentally draining. When you think you can’t do something or afraid to even try, your energy level begin to falter as well.

No wonder many of you suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome. All the worrying in your life is destroying your body and spirit. The negative self-talk is dictating your life to live in fear. You must make a commitment to fixing your mindset. It all begins with taking the first steps to always trying to find solutions to your problems, no matter how grim they seem.

(To be continued)

Today’s Litvinov WOD -

6 sets

1. Thrusters – 6 reps

2. Kettlebell swings – 10 reps

3. Burpees – 12 reps

I don’t care how confident a person you are. When you saw this WOD combining thrusters and burpees, I’m sure you had instant doubts of being not being able to finish it. In your mind, you could picture and feel how miserable it is going to be. Being miserable is exactly the theme of today’s WOD. After you are done with this WOD, I want it to be on the top of your list of WODs that you hate. It has to be this awful, if not you won’t learn today’s mental toughness lesson.

We are going to stay with the “magic in the misery” concept for today’s Litvinov WOD. I don’t care how what a bad ass you are, you will feel great levels of agony from going from the thrusters to the burpees. When the suffering and extreme breathlessness starts to engulf you, the threat of quitting will be very real. Instead of giving up, you must counter this temptation with your belief in the “magic in the misery.”

When you feel like you’ve had enough, tell yourself of how much HGH you will be releasing from this WOD. At the height of your discomfort where you can barely breathe, calm you anxiety with the reassuring thought that you will get one hell of a metabolism boost from this WOD. When you don’t think you can do another burpee, crank out 3 more because you know each one will make a huge mark in your mental toughness development.

As fucked up as it will get, remind yourself that you are exactly where you are supposed to be.

When you are resting between sets, tell yourself that without any of the discomfort, the whole WOD would be worthless. You want it to be this bad. You actually need and crave this misery because the training has transformed you into a beast that is not only addicted not only to challenges, but to defeating them.

As you get close to finishing your final burpees, anticipate the joy that you will feel when you are finally done. Summon the soon to be ecstatic emotions and let it push you to finish the last couple of burpees with the most speed and explosiveness that you can muster.

As you lie there motionless in a pile of your sweat when you are done, you may not remember all the details of the last couple of minutes to this WOD. It probably will feel like a blur to you. Feel the glory and pride of staying with the misery to getting the job done today. As bad as it felt today, leave the gym knowing that in upcoming WODs, you can handle even more challenging WODs as this one. This was nothing to what you know you can tolerate and overcome. Bring on the next one and make it even rougher. You look forward to the next WOD because you know It doesn’t stand a chance in hell with you.

Feel the rise of power within you. You not only need the misery, but now you fucken love it.

This is how tough you are becoming.

Scaled back version of this Litvinov WOD -

1. Omit the swings and only do the thrusters and burpees. (Although, this may even be harder because of the greater intensity!). An easier version is to omit the thrusters.

2. Do only 3 sets.

3. Run in place or do jumping jacks for 1 minute instead of the burpees.

4. Do only 5 burpees and 5 swings.

Acceptable alternatives -

1. You can use dumbbells or a barbell for the thrusters.

2. You can use a dumbbell for the swings if you don’t have a kettlebell.

3. If you can’t do the burpees due to an injury, jump rope for a minute.

Mental Toughness Life Skill #3– Using Positive Self-Talk and Visualization (Part 1)

image 6As I mentioned in the mental strategies for attacking the WODs, I stated that using positive self-talk will be one of the most difficult aspects to this mental toughness training program.  If you think using positive dialoguing will be hard during the physical aspect of this training, it will be even more challenging once you step out of the gym. Most of you are so used to your regular routine of daily negative beat downs that it defines who you are – negativity sums up your identity. Continue reading

Stop Letting Others Control You (a repost)


(Here is a repost that I know some of you will enjoy. I’m reposting this blog because I’ve getting a lot questions on how to handle rejection. Rejection sucks, but you can use it for your advantage.)

I am so lucky and fortunate to have two articles published in Mark’s Daily Apple in the last month. I am very grateful to Mark’s editorial staff as they were very supportive, gracious to helping me put out the best product ever. Aaron at Primal publishing – thank you from the bottom of my heart. You and Mark really have opened the door for me. I am forever grateful.

My second article in MDA was on mental toughness development. Here’s the link -

This post is not about the article, but about overcoming my past voices that continues to haunt me during moments of adversity.  Continue reading

The Toughest WOD (part 3)

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This is the third part to my series on the toughest WOD. If you have read the last two post, I have talked extensively on the Litvinov protocol as one of the best and fastest way to get in you in shape and mentally tough.

Awhile back, I wrote an article for Elite fitness on some variation WODs for this workout system. You can read it here.

In the article are various WODs that you can do for today’s workout. Hope you enjoy the article and I will have a new blog next week.

The Toughest Workout (Part 2)

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Sergi Litvinov was one bad ass dude.

(This is a repost due to the high volume of emails I have been getting asking me what I thought the toughest WOD is. If you are new to mental toughness training, the Litvinov method is a great place to start. The first time you do a workout from this Russian protocol, it will knock you on your ass. Your whole body and mind will hurt like it never has before. However, after you finish a Litvinov WOD, you will feel a sense of accomplishment that is so high and rewarding. Something traditional workouts can never do.

Now get ready to get mentally tough and go suffer)

When I first started to develop my mental toughness, a majority of my workouts were in CrossFit classes. Continue reading

The Toughest Workout (Part 1)

I am reposting this blog about the Litvinov workout because I have been getting a lot emails about a good tough WOD for new comers to toughness training. I especially got a lot of response this week due to my article in this week. Here is the link.

For all my new readers from, welcome to!

Ascendftermath_b(In part one of this post, I talked about the Litvinov workout as one the major workout protocols that will be used in this mental toughness program. The concept of the Litvinov workout is so simplistic – you pretty much pick so heavy weight and then run like hell. You are combining anaerobic and aerobic movements in the same session. The problem with conventional training is that they separate weight training from cardio work. On one day, they lift weights and on the next day, they hop on the treadmill. The Litvinov workout mixes both heavy strength works with cardiovascular work. This approach may not sound like a big deal, but trust me, when you lift something really heavy like a deadlift and then do a short run, your body has never felt this level of overall discomfort before)

The first challenge you will have with the Litvinov workout is the set-up. If you belong to a CrossFit facility, you won’t have this problem. Lifting weights and then going outside to do a run is commonplace. Continue reading

Mental Toughness Life Skill #2 – Making a Strong Connection with your Will (Part 9)

images never give up 7(This is part 9 on this series on how to translate your determination from the gym to your personal life. When it comes to persevering over great challenges, you must have a strong will. If not, you will always be vulnerable to a being a coward and let your enemies have their way with you. If you are tired of living a life of being weak and mentally frail, you must build your will up. Once you get a taste of hard powerful your will is during the WODs, you must translate this strength to how you live your life.)

The enthusiasm from your will should never die. When you finally feel like you had enough, your will must resurrect you from the dead or literally when you feeling like dying. Nothing is a better shield against the unfairness of life than a defiant will. Continue reading

Mental Toughness Life Skill #2 – Making a Strong Connection with your Will (Part 8)

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(This is part 8 on this series on how to strengthen your will. One of the best ways to learn how to hone in on your will is to dive headfirst into a challenge. It will be uncomfortable and painful, but this is how you sharpen your will. There is no other way to harden your will. You must battle the demons in your life and stop running away from your problems. Once you do, you will develop a hard to die will that will save you from your greatest adversities).

So, from the last couple of posts the message was – you can never, ever assume any adversity you overcome is over. Continue reading

Mental Toughness Life Skill #2 – Making a Strong Connection with your Will (Part 7)

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(This is part 7 in this in-depth look on how to activate your will in your personal life. In a short recap, I talked about how you must learn to hone in on your will during your must trying times. Having a strong and determined will is the key factor when you feeling most hopeless and want to give up on life. This whole series is about teaching you that you can endure unspeakable levels of suffering if you have a strong will. I don’t want to teach you how to just survive a major disappointment, but to thrive and become a stronger person because of it. With a will that refuses to ever break down, you will have the capacity to triumph over any personal challenge in your life)

Getting over a personal obstacle can be tricky and sometimes deceiving. With the WODs, it’s usually over in a half an hour. Continue reading