Applying Mental Toughness Training to How You Live

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For the last year, I have focused on getting you all mentally tough during your workouts. From the numerous emails and feedback that I have been getting, I would say a majority of you have been battling the adversity from the WODs with much success. Congrats to all of you for putting the time and effort through this mental toughness program. As the founder of this system, I know it is not easy and very strenuous on your body. However, as many of you have discovered the benefits of pushing yourself past old limits has brought upon many positive changes including a greater level of toughness when facing the WOD and a better body to show for it. As you all know training for the aesthetics isn’t the primary goal of, but it is still a secondary target. So I applaud all you men and woman who have recompositioned your body through the high intensity WODS. I never get tired of hearing your success stories of losing flab and building muscle from this mental toughness system. It has been a real honor to help you achieve a learner and tighter physique this past year.

Through this long term project of discovering your inner strength and improving your body mass index, I have written extensively on the four mental strategies to help you overcome the demands for the WODs. Preparing to be the aggressor, implementing your will, optimizing positive self-coaching and using mantras have been the center piece of this mental toughness program.  I use all 4 of these mental strategies when I train. These 4 mental tools is how I how discover and rediscover the empowering connection of how the mind can lead the body to barrel thorough any CrossFit, Litvinov or complex movement workout. As how many of you have found out from this training, these simple 4 mental procedures can transform you from a mild manner person into an unstoppable, blood seeking animal at the gym or at your CrossFit box.
Dominating at the gym is not enough. You must be a relentless with your personal life as well. If you are a bad ass in the weight room, you must be a bad ass with your personal life, for your family, at work and chasing after your life long dreams. The goal of this mental toughness program is not for you to only kick ass in the gym. You must use the same relentless mindset and apply it to who you are when you leave the gym. If you deadlift a new PR and go to work the next day and is still a pushover, you are not making the transition of how this training is must effect other areas of your life. If you get one of the top scores in your CrossFit box on a gnarly WOD and still let people walk all over you, you have yet to tap into the potent powers of this training.

The goal of mental toughness training is for you to not discriminate between the adversities in your life. It does matter if you have to face “Fran” or recover from bad day with your asshole boss, the goal is still the same – you must crush all adversities. The indomitable will that you are honing in does not give a shit if you are struggling with your breathing during a devastating WOD and is close to quitting or when you are frustrated at the lack of responses when trying to find employment after being laid off. The job of your will is to smash and destroy any thoughts of surrendering while facing a challenging obstacle regardless if you are in the gym or out of the gym.

So in upcoming posts, I will focus heavily on how to transfer this mental toughness training from the gym to your personal life. The cornerstone of what you use to attack the WODs will be the same. You will use the same 4 mental strategies that helped you overcome a brutal WOD and apply it to the challenges you face in your personal life as well. These 4 mental tools of preparing yourself to be aggressive, honing in on your will, using positive self-talk and implementing mantras will complete you.

I have no doubt that this mental toughness system will improve your overall quality of life.  Being maniacal at the gym and having a hard body is not enough. The transformation began in the gym, but now there is more to achieve and more to accomplish. Much more than you could have ever imagined.

Once you experience for yourself how potent these 4 psychological strategies are when facing an imposing adversity or bulling enemy, you will never be the same person again.

The old weak and former you will never be welcomed again in your life. You already wasted years of your life hiding and living in fear.

It is time to step it up, take the initiative and actively seek challenges.

Begin today.

Today’s CrossFit WOD


“Fran 3 rounds as fast as you can with the following rep scheme: 21-15-9

1. Thrusters

2. Pull-ups – if you can do kipping pull-ups, go for it. But, if you can’t them, do dead-hang ones instead.

“Fran” is probably the central CrossFit workouts that everybody is measured against. It’s a great benchmark to see how fit you are or better yet, see if how will you can survive a near heart attack. The elite athletes can do “Fran” unbroken without any rest between sets. Although this may be your goal down the road, your immediate goal with “Fran” is just to finish it and walk out the gym in one piece without any medical assistance.

“Fran” is another deceptive girl in the CrossFit world. It’s only three sets and it looks pretty ease, but it’s one of the hardest WODs to finish. The extreme huffing and puffing and muscle burning that “Fran” will inflict on you, will be much more discomfort than you ever experienced. For some, this state of uneasiness will be so severe; you’ll never want to do “Fran” again. I’ve done “Fran” consistently for over 7 years now and I always collapse to the ground when I’m finished. Your family physician may advice you to stay as far away as possible from “Fran”, but in terms of a good mental toughness teacher, this bitch is the best.

Getting through the first set is hard enough with all those thrusters and pull-ups, but the real test is when you start the second set. At this point, your lungs will be so expanded that you wished you had an oxygen tank and the burning sensational in your muscles will be excruciating when you move ever so slightly. The overall physical pain is near unbearable but the mental nightmare of “Fran” is just beginning as your mind will spin out of control with excuses and reasons for you to quit the WOD.

To get through “Fran,” you must have a will that’s stronger than it’s ever been during this training.  Your will can help you gain your composure during your near mental melt down and remind you that the discomfort that you are feeling is more psychological in nature. I’m not saying the agony in your body isn’t real. It is. But, it’s how your mind perceives the severity of the exhaustion that is of utmost importance. It’s all a judgment call on how bad you label the hurting. A common coping method that many rookies in toughness training use is that they tell themselves – “I have felt worse from other WODs and every time, I am able to get through the misery.” By using this comparison method, it will down grade the level of pain that you are feeling and at the same time, use pasts accomplishments to help motivate you to go on. This training will teach you that all discomfort is manageable and can be control through the mental process. You want to overcome the suffering in your head first before you can re-energize your body.

One of the best ways to offset the physical discomfort is to stop focusing on how much your body is hurting. This is putting you in a defensive state of mind. Instead, you must switch your attention to your will. Listen to your will speak to you. Your will should be screaming at you to never, ever give the fuck up. When this message becomes loud and clear, you know you have no choice, but to continue the fight. By redirecting all your attention back to the battle, your mind is totally engaged with only one singular goal – to do whatever it takes to get you to finish. When your mind is on the offense once again, your body will be revitalize with a new level of strength and the pain that you were just feeling, becomes almost an afterthought.

Let your will guide you back to the thrusters and pull-ups to finally put an end to “Fran.” Make a statement to yourself and finish her off as aggressive and as feisty as you can be. When you are done, congratulate yourself. You just made a huge leap in your mental toughness development by finishing off the mother beast of them all. My favorite girl, “Fran.”

Scaled back versions of “Fran” –

1.  Use a Woody band for the assisted pull-ups

2. Horizontal body rows can done be instead of the pull-ups. They look like this – images (18)

3. Jumping pull-ups are good too. Here’s what they look like – download (2)

4. Rest at least 3 minutes between each set.

5. Alternative rep scheme: 12, 8, 6.

6. Do only 2 sets.

Suitable substitutions for this WOD –

1. You can do military presses instead of the thrusters,

2. The recommend weight for the thrusters is 95 pounds for men and 65 pounds for woman. However, unless you are an experienced CrossFitter, be conservative and go light. Using just the barbell will be more than sufficient when you first start off with “Fran.”

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