The biggest misconception from mental toughness rookies is that they think this training will make their problems go away. Your issues will never disappear. They will always be there to haunt you and attempt to destroy you. I have a client right now who I consider to be as harder than nails. She is up there in terms of people that I admire for her grit and toughness.
After doing a tough WOD last Saturday with Helen which she kicked ass as usual, I told her how proud I was of her. I knew she had a rough week at work and went into the training with a sour mood. She broke out a smile when I wrapped my arm around her shoulder, but then quickly looked at me with some sad eyes.
“That was a good WOD, but my problems are still here,” she said. Instead of expecting her go into her personal with the same gusto I saw her with when she whacked the WOD, she sounded defeated.
This is a very rare response from CrossFitters who just completed a challenging workout. Most of the time, the athlete leaves the training with a “I’m going to go out and conquer the world.”
So, I had to remind Helen what this training is all about.
It’s not about making your problems go away. Again, its about learning how to deal and handle your problems, no matter how awful they may be.
This training is not about making you invincible to your issues. It’s about teaching you the endurance skills necessary when facing an insurmountable obstacle that can take months or years to overtake. When fighting a difficult adversity, it is a guarantee that the road is going to be tough and at times, near unbearable. This is especially true for those dire situations where all odds are heavily stacked against you. I been there and the suffering is unimaginable
When life becomes this low, you can only do one thing.
When your fate is spiraling down, you must refuse to let your frustrations take over your sanity. You must clear your mind, regroup, take the punishment and find the shovel to dig you out hole that you are in.
When the constant negativity and pressure is suffocating you, you can’t give up; you must move forward regardless of the lack of progress that you perceive. Instead of surrendering to the enemy, you must break down your effort into smaller chunks. It’s still going to hurt as you move forward, but making it manageable, you can continue the fight.
The point is, when escaping a monster that is trying to destroy your life, it is never is going to be easy and pain-free. But, what this training is teaching you is that you can endure the worst kind of agony that you can ever imagine and still defeat the motherfucker that is trying to ruin your life.
As you begin to progress in the physical training and you continue to whip WOD after WOD no matter how intimidating they are, you are learning to push yourself through adversity. What usually happens after months of success on this type of CrossFit protocol is that you are teaching yourself that you must and have the capacity to finish a rough task. In essence, your mind is hardening up and you are realizing there is no exist strategy. By not creating an out for yourself, you learn that there is no turning back.
The only choice you have is to go on.
This attitude must be transferred to how you deal with your life problems. And it will. Slowly, the same bulldog determination that gets you through a damaging CrossFit WOD, will resurface when you face your enemies in real life. This is the ultimate sign that this training is working for you.
Now keep it going.
What can derail you from fighting on is an onslaught of negativity and moments of feeling sorry for yourself. This is normal. Accept these slight delays, but once you get over your bummer thoughts and stop babying yourself, you must man up and take the next step.
In other words, go on.
Again, I know this if very difficult thing to do especially when you are barely holding on a thread for your dear life. But, if you don’t make the effort, you fall in the trap of being in the mediocre mainstream, which is passive and weak. The majority of men and women in this society are too damn fragile to keep up the fight. They have the energy and motivation to start one up, but once their goals begin to crumple, they fall apart.
Refuse to be a part of this group. Instead, join the mental toughness community and wake up each day ready to slug it out. You don’t have to deliver the knock out punch right away, but stay in the battle by avoiding the low blows, add some jabs to keep your opponent away and working and reworking on your aggressive strategies to come out of this fight, better than how you were when life had declared an unfair war on you.
The knock out haymaker will come. You just have to remain patient and learn how to manage the many obstacles, assholes and unexpected roadblocks that will get in your way. Instead of seeing how each setback has inflated your spirit, change your perspective completely around. View each day that you are going after your problems as positive momentum. Instead of losing energy, you are building steam and getting stronger and more pissed off. When you can build upon each day, the bumps and bruises will still hurt, but hurt less.
For me, it comes to a point when I hurt, I just don’t give a fuck about the pain anymore.
When this happens, I feel totally unstoppable.
And being unstoppable means you can always go forward.
Today’s CrossFit WOD:
8 medicine ball slams
400 meter run (approximately)
Go into the WOD with your needs and purpose to become mentally strong brewing in your head. Refer to them often during the workout. Also, redirect your purpose and needs to how finishing the WOD will get you your goal of having personal strengthen in your life. For example, I have a reader that told me her need to become mentally tougher is so “that she would stop hating herself.” When she does this WOD, she would have to redirect her purpose statements with thoughts like “When I get finish this WOD I will learn to stop hating myself”…”Finishing this WOD and I will destroy my self-hatred.”
Mix in your redirected purpose statements, aggressive thoughts, positive self-talk today with the mantra of “Strengthen the mind and a rock hard body will follow” throughout the WOD today. In fact, I want you repeat it to yourself to the point that you think you are over doing it. You are trying to set a mental foundation and cement one of the main mental toughness principals in your head. If this statement doesn’t strike a chord with you, come up something more personal like By toughing up the mind, I will finally get to wear those skinny jeans….By getting mental tougher, I will finally get a six-pack….Strengthen my mind and I will look great, etc. The point is to make this statement as personal as possible. The more you can connect with some statement of how a strong mind will lead to better aesthetics, the more likely you will succeed in getting that impressive built.
I will go into the power of mantras more in further posts, but let a statement like ‘Strengthen the mind and a rock hard body will follow” motivate you especially when your legs are close to being done in the 400m run. Mantras like this one are very effective and can have a hypnotic effect on you and lead you to aggressive action when you repeat them often.
So get ready to train and know that a better body is coming.
In fact, getting lean and muscular is the easy part of this mental toughness training.
Now go kill it.
Scaled back version of the WOD:
1. Omit the run or walk the 400m run.
2. Use a Woody band and do assisted pull-ups.
3. Do 4 reps of pull-ups and ball slams.
1. Go to mechanic or tire store and get a used tire. Tires are a great alternative for medicine ball and they are free.
2. Run on the treadmill or jump rope for a minute if you can’t do the run.
3. If you can do the ball or tire slams, do 10 kettlebell swings instead.