(Here is the final wrap up for this continuing investigation on how to be impervious to pain during your CrossFit or HITT WOD. I’m glad this intensive research has helped many of you tolerate your agony and manipulate your suffering to your advantage. Below is a review of the 14 mental strategies that you can use to up your game when it comes to elevating your ability to handle physical stress.)
Tip #1 Understand the benefits of the pain. This is the central theory behind pain tolerance training. You are going through the suffering not because you are a sick masochist, but because you understand the mighty rewards from the agony. Not only will the pain make you mentally stronger, but their are hormonal benefits as well like a surge of testosterone when you push yourself past your envelope.
Tip #2 Drop some F-bombs. Swearing is one the best ways to elevate your sensitivity to pain. This technique is not on this list because I drop F-bombs like a drunken sailor, but because the nerds in white lab coats have proven it. The science has shown that spilling out profanity can help you get past a painful task. So the next time a WOD is near killing you and you don’t think you can’t stand it, go ahead and scream out some bad words. It will provoke you to work out longer or unfortunately get you kicked out of your crappy commercial gym if swearing is banned.
Tip #3 Expect the pain to come in abundance. By preparing for an avalanche of hurt coming your way is one the best ways to handle painful shit. The worse thing arrogant CrossFitters think is when they feel they are invincible to a WOD. When this happens, your ass will get handed back to you and humble the fuck out of you. So, always get ready like you’re facing the toughest WOD of your life. By doing so, you’ll more than likely not only get through the WOD, but steamroll though it with a higher threshold to pain.
Tip # 4 Understand your Why. One of the strongest and most effective ways to lift your tolerance to pain. I used this coping skill in the majority of my training. Asking myself “Why do I need to be mentally tough?” just spikes my motivation and gets me prepare for war. This confronting “why” question just has a way of peeling away all the bullshit and to get me down to business. If you are honest to answering your “why”, you’ll never lack energy or courage to your training and be able to handle loads of muscle burning than you ever conceived.
Tip #5 Imagine those that want to see you fail. Do I need to say more? The next time you feel like whussing out on a WOD, just imagine your worst enemy cackling and laughing at your hypersensitivity to a little discomfort. If this doesn’t improve your skills to block out pain, I don’t know what will.
Tip # 7 Don’t Freak Out. Nothing sucks more than doing a WOD and you’re huffing, puffing, and sucking for air like you are going to die. Don’t worry, you’re not going to drop dead. The science has shown that it is nearly impossible to kill yourself from a WOD. Your body has a natural protective system that will stop yourself from going over board. So the next time you do “Fran” and you think you’re going to die from it, relax and calm down. You ain’t gonna have a heart attack or stroke. So go harder. Your body and heart can take it.
Tip #8. Train in a group setting. You don’t need to be genius to figure this out, but if you train with a bunch of hot CrossFitters, you’ll push yourself harder than ever. Pain? What pain? Studies even have shown, the more attractive the people are in a workout bootcamp setting, the more stamina one has. Common sense right? Nobody wants to look like a sissy in front of others.
Tip #9. Take responsibility for your weakness. If you caused the problems in your life, you can also fix them as well. Taking responsibility for the direction you want your life to go in, will elevate your motivation. By doing so, it will also increase your threshold to frustrations, despair and physical pain.
Tip #10 Think about how others will benefit from your toughness development. If you can’t become better for yourself, then man up for your love ones. First of all, you should always want to be tough for yourself. However, sometimes when you are not in the mood and facing a challenging WOD, thinking about those important people in your life can give you the needed pain protector to help you get through it. Or if you want to face reality, either you toughen up or those around you will lose even more respect for you.
Tip #11 Train hard today so it will be easier tomorrow. Mental toughness is all about delaying gratification. The hard work you put in now is all about toughing you up so it will be easier in the future. If you think it hurts now, it’ll be a hundred times worse if you skip or cut out on the WOD. The rewards come down the road when you get through WODs consistently and develop your pain tolerance skills.
Tip #12 Be grateful for what you can do now. Many of you probably come from a wimp background like myself. Smashing CrossFit WODs at ease is a new experience and I’m sure you are enjoying it. Put in the hard work and the toughness is coming through. When you are feeling weak and demotivated just think back of how you used to be before this training. This quick reflection should give you the extra juice you need to handle the upcoming pain for your current WOD.
Tip #13 Make the training meaningful to you. If mental training has value in your life, you’ll tolerate loads of suffering that you never knew existed. On the other hand, if getting tough is low on your totem pole, you’ll remain a human doormat. The choice is up to you. Either you take the training serious and improve your ability to suffer or continue living a life of being weak and meaningless.
Tip #14 Break down the WOD to workable segments. The WODs are design to fuck with your head. They are purposely made up to cause anxiety and worry. Dealing with the WOD mentally is the first challenge. To combat the overwhelming feeling of a brutal WOD, break it down to winnable segments. One of my favorite mantras is one created by navy SEALS with goes something like “Take it one bite at a time.” By doing one step at time, you’ll stay focus and be in the moments. Breaking down a WOD into workable parts will not only make the task easier, but increase your pain tolerance so you can handle the upcoming agony.
So, there you go. 14 mental tools to help you lower your perceived effort in your workouts. Just remember, the WODs should always be painful to a point. If there isn’t any discomfort, you probably didn’t challenge yourself.
The suffering must always be present. Your job is to manage it so you can do the work.
I’m sure this is not the end in my never-ending search to raise my pain tolerance. I’ll continue to learn and investigate.
And when I discover some more mental tips, I’ll be glad to share them with you all.
Today’s metabolic conditioning WOD:
10 clapping push-ups
Spiderman crawl (about 20 yards)
Today’s theme is to never assume you have defeated your opponent until the final bell is rung. Take this message back to the gym with you when you do this gut busting WOD today. The bar for this WOD is 8 sets. Many of you when you get done with set number 6 will start to feel happy that the WOD is almost over. Some may even get lax with their movement and lose their intensity as they begin to sleepwalk through the final two sets.
The lesson for today is to never assume victory till the competition is over. One of the best ways to counter any premature celebration during WOD is to do the opposite. Instead of cruising through the last two sets, you want to turn on the overdrive switch. Make it an effort to go stronger than ever for the final sets. Activate your will to push you through the misery by blocking out the physical discomfort and focus on being aggressive to very end of the WOD when you finish with the Spiderman crawl.
You never want to sacrifice form during a WOD so keep your integrity for all three movements. At the same time, make sure your mental thoughts are full of rage, especially when you get near the end of the WOD. By having an aggressive thought pattern, especially when your body begins to tire, will help ensure that you finish strong and forceful.
I want you to end this WOD feeling stronger, more powerful and a hell of a lot more meaner than we you first started. If you end this WOD, feeling more pissed off than elated is huge sign that you are transforming yourself into a aggressive beast that not only wants to overcome challenges, but to destroy the fuck out of it.
When this happens, it is pure satisfaction. You can’t get enough of it.
This is what mental training is all about.
1) 6 sets is sufficient, depending on your conditioning level.
2) If you can’t do clapping pushups do regular ones. Also, if 10 clapping pushups are too much, drop them to a number of reps that you can handle without sacrificing form.
3) If you don’t have room to do the Spiderman crawls, you can jump rope for a minute or run on a treadmill. Also, you can do jumping jacks or run in place for a minute as well