(I reposted this blog, I wrote a couple of years back because I get lots and lots of email about the pros and cons of joining a CrossFit box. I will address this question in a future blog. In the meantime, this blog may answer some of your questions about CrossFit)
The emails are coming in and I really appreciate you all for participating in this mental toughness symposium. I love questions as they force me to think and solidify my beliefs. Keep the questions coming. Answering them is very enjoyable for me so thank you all very much.
One of the main question that I have been getting is how they can instantly improve on their scores of classic CrossFit WODs that I posted like “Cindy” and “Mini-Murph.” It seems that a lot of you have Goggled your scores of other CrossFitters and compared them to yourself. I’m not going to be politically correct and tell you not compare yourself to others.Actually, I think making self comparison is a natural curiosity that we all have. It gives you a baseline of where you are and where you have to get, especially if you size yourself up against the experience CrossFitters with elite scores.
My main concern I have from some of the emails is the extreme disappointment that some of you have expressed with me about your low “Cindy” or “Mini-Murph” scores. First of all, CrossFit and this mental toughness system are both progression programs. They are both based on growth and cumulative gains. Each victory builds on each other. There is no embarrassment with having a low score. Although, I didn’t like seeing my name repeatedly on the whiteboard with the shittiest score at my CrossFit box, at least I did the workouts which is hundred times harder and better than what the masses do at their commercial gym.
The most important thing is that you are doing the work. You must give yourself credit no matter how bad you perceive your score is. With CrossFit, there is no shame in coming in last in the workout or having the worst score, just finishing the challenge is a huge achievement. Completing the workout and you know you just did something most people won’t be able to handle, let only have the courage and guts to even try. For those you who participate at a CrossFit gym, we are all constantly amazed by those with elite athletic skills that can do what us normal humans can’t do, but we are more touched and impressed by those athletes who are all-too-human. My most memorable moments at my CrossFit box, aren’t those who were able to displayed super-human feats of strengths, but those who pour their hearts out at the end of a WOD with nothing but determination left in their tank. What I am fortunate to witness often at these moments, isn’t somebody getting better at CrossFit, but getting better at life. What inspires me is not those fitness beasts that get the top score on the white board but watching those struggle big time with the WODs, but overcome them at the end. I’m seeing one’s character get stronger right in front of my face. I get to watch live and up-close a person’s intimate defining moment that will change them for the better. Its these moments of not giving up that will forever leave an impression on me and that displays the true meaning of what it means to be mentally tough.
No group of people commemorate grit and effort more than us CrossFitters.
Interesting enough, I been to the last three CrossFit games and the loudest cheers from the audience are not for those who crossed the the finish line first, but for those competitors who come in last. There always will be a bond with those who struggle to finish because we all have been there before and we know how crucial it is for one’s soul to finish the workout no matter how behind you are from the others or how tired you are. For CrossFitters is not enough to just participate, you must always finish, regardless if you are the last one in class or competitor on live ESPN coverage of the CrossFit games. The true essence of CrossFit isn’t about the winning or losing, but about your character in action.
So for me when I’m at my box and I see some new CrossFit rookie who’s head is down because he or she is the last one done with the WOD, I always make sure I give them a pat on the back with some words of encouragement. When I look into their eyes, I always see my reflection in them. It’s humbling because it almost seem like yesterday when I was in their shoes. In fact, a part of me will always feel like that guy who used to always gave up on himself. Sometimes when I look in the mirror, I still see the man that used to live in fear. When I look at how much I have changed, it makes me even more appreciative of my mental toughness training and far I have come.
One thing for sure, mental toughness training has changed me. I am a different man because of it. I often reflect on certain past WODs that has been central in my development in my will. These WODs were all on the the evil side and almost brought me to my knees, but something so powerful overcame in me that just made me refused to quit. To those around me at the gym during these workouts, they may seen me working my ass off, but they have no ideal how life changing these brutal WODs was to me. At first, I though these moments of defiance to giving up, were just a one time thing, but as I continued with my mental toughness training, they began to pile up to the point that now I always expect to go on, no matter how tired I am or how shitty my life may seem to be.
When you dedicate your life to fight mental weakness, you will experience many pivotal moments like these ones. With each physical accomplishment, you will become a step closer to your destiny. It begins with the WODs and the lessons that you learn from them.
The masses go to gym to tone up their butt or to pump up their arms.
You go to the gym to learn who you are.
If you understand this distinction, you are more than ready to begin mental toughness in you life.
Today’s strength training WOD:
Work up to 80 percent of your 1 rep max
5 sets of 5 reps for each movement
1. Back squat
2. Bent over rows
3. Romanian deadlifts
4. Strict military press
5. Plank – hold for 1 minute