(In part 1 of this series, I discussed your ability to persevere is heavily depended on your will. Your will is what imposes your thoughts and desire into action. A strong will is a must if one needs to become mentally tough. When you develop an indomitable will, you can tolerate loads of suffering that would break the average person. When in times of trouble, nothing is more valuable to your survival than a will that refuses to give in.)
Many of you may think that mental toughness is solely about not quitting. Yes, it is huge factor of the toughness equation, but that’s only part of it. This program is all about taking the craft of perseverance to another level. When you start the workouts, you will fight the urge to quit many times over. For many of you, just going on with the workout will be a huge step in the development of your will.
However, just “going on” must never, ever be enough. You must never be satisfied with a mediocre counter-attack to adversity, even if you barely hanging on during the WOD. When you are tired is when you are most vulnerable to caving in, so you must learn to convert any feeling of fatigue to a sudden burst of strength. This may sound impossible to a lot of you, but this ability of going from first gear to fifth gear immediately is the distinctive trait of a will that refuses to die. In order to get to this level, your will must be defiant to your tired body and take control of situation on its own. A strong will has the capability to tolerate great levels of suffering and then reverse the pain to unstoppable power.
This ability to make such a complete physical turnaround is the power that you and all your enemies are trying to covet. It is the wholly grail behind this training. This secret is not really a secret as I have said in earlier posts that most important insight with mental toughness training is that weakness and fatigue are more mental than physical. With many of you, this knowledge is a new revelation. With this information, you will view pain and suffering differently. They are no longer a threat, but something you can control and abolish with a will that is dominating during the WODs.
With a will this strong and ever present, you can now begin to rid yourself of all perceived moments of weakness and respond in the most pissed off way possible. Nothing gives you more of a vulgar display of strength than a will that is “F”n fed up with being weak. The main goal of this program is teach you the uncanny ability to suddenly become unbelievably strong when you were just at your weakest in the face of any adversity. It all begins with a will that is absolutely disobedient to any ideas of giving up.
So to sum up, you must never let your will elude you. It is a definable and recognizable skill that is the trademark of those who are mentally aggressive. For some of my clients who are having a difficult time making a bond with their will, I teach them to define their will in some mantra about not quitting. Some of the strong statements my clients have used are very simplistic too like “I refuse to give in,” “There is no quit in me,” “Nothing can stop my will from quitting” or “I’ll will myself through the pain.” This method is extremely effective in provoking an aggressive behavior to finish the fight. Moreover, these strong statements become empowering. As the training progresses, most of my clients tell me their strong statements begin to define who they are in every aspect of their life. This is the connection you must feel with your will. Let your will express who you are and what you are becoming – a mentally aggressive beast who refuses to tire out. If you are having a problem making your will concrete, come up with a couple of these strong statements that characterize your refusal to ever quit.
During your post-workout reflection, give your will all the credit for battling and getting through the hard physical work. The more you acknowledge your will as the sole reason for overcoming adversity, the more accessible it will be to you the next time you need it. Remind yourself constantly during your training and after you are done, that your will is what gives you that edge in life.
Having a will that refuses to be defeated is one of the biggest advantages anybody can have. In order to get this advantage, you must take it as it will not come to you.
There is much work to do.
Your will is waiting for you so get off your ass and go to it.
Today’s barbell complex movement (and also a classic CrossFit) WOD -
Thrusters (front squat into a military press)
Behind the neck thrusters (back squat into a behind the neck military press)
Do five reps for front thrusters and then do the back thrusters. Try not to put the barbell down until you are done with the last back thruster
1 minute jump roping
If you easily get squeamish, you will not like “The Bear.” You’ll feel the effects of this complex movement throughout your whole body. With each movement, you’ll try your best to stop your legs from shaking and falling face forward. That’s how brutal “The Bear” is if you do it right with great intensity. To get the most out of this complex movement, you want to explode out the front and back squat and drive the overhead presses with speed. “The Bear” is about using and generating momentum from your legs and transferring energy through your core. So stay extra focus on your core during this workout by bracing it as tight as possible during each round. Imagine if somebody is going to hit you in your stomach. That’s how tight I want you to be.
Will yourself through with what “The Bear” offers you. “The Bear” will do its best to make you quit and get your negative-self against you. When this happens, don’t let your negative self-talk make a doom predication and force you to give up. Be on the offense and preemptive it using positive language about how invincible your will is. Your will is on overdrive and ready to push you to over achieve and sustain any punishment. Let your will replenish your empty energy systems with a violent release of defiance to increase the tempo of your actions.
When you feel like you have hit the wall and don’t think you can take any more punishment from ”The Bear”. Delve and uncoil your will back into your body. Remind yourself of the most important insight for mental toughness development – fatigue and discomfort is more mental than physical. Repeat this mantra whenever you feel like you can’t take any more and then let your will take over. The rush of adrenaline, you should feel from your indomitable should mentally take you from being in reverse to fourth gear on a dime. Instead of wondering how you will get through the wall, now you will run through the fucken wall.
Repeating this action over and over while getting stronger when you are at your weakest point, will lead you to having a will that never quits. When you get to this level of toughness, the act of quitting becomes oddly inconceivable to the point of being almost absurd. So break out a smile and find the gallows humor in it all because you already made up your mind before the workout that you can manhandle any sucker punching or cheap shot that “The Bear” will try to sneak past you. Ha-ha-ha. Is that all you got? Bring it on!
As you gut out the movements, have in the back of your mind that the aesthetics are coming. Man, are they coming. Full-body intense workouts like “The Bear” combined with the anaerobic jump roping are painful, but is all for your betterment. This workout will drive your testosterone, human growth hormones and EPOC levels up the roof. The focus is still on the developing the mind first, but at times, you can peak at what the future is going to bring you. When you get past “The Bear”, you’ll have a lot to look forward to.
Scaled back versions of this WOD -
1. Omit the jump roping.
2. Do only 3 reps for each movement
Suitable substitutions for “The Bear” -
1. Instead of jumping rope, you can do 10 burpees or run on a treadmill for 1 minute. Also, jumping jacks, running in place or walking in place for one minute can be sufficient.