Increasing Your Pain Tolerance for CrossFit (Part 3)

mad(This is part 3 on this series on how to increase your tolerance for suffering during your CrossFit or HITT workouts).

Tip #4 – Get Angry. This tip ties in with tip#2. The second tip was how cussing can raise your tolerance to pain. Maybe it’ not the F-bombs that elevate your ability to handle shitloads of suffereing, but the emotions that comes when one swears like a mad man or crazy bitch.


As many of you know, I’m a huge proponent of harnessing your unresolved anger issues when it comes to developing mental toughness. It’s my trump card when I’m most closed to quitting as anger can motivate me to plow through the WOD. However, as much I love using anger, I am also very cautious about it too.

Activating rage can be very unpredictable. If you train in an extreme anger state it can lead to being out of control. When it comes to training, you never want your emotions to get the best out of you. I’ve seen many instances where clients or gym rats go to the deep end when they attempt to train while being ape-shit mad. Instead of tapping into their anger, they bitch about their problems to anybody at the gym with ears. They end up not only wasting their times, but our time as well. Nothing is worse than those gym crybabies that never shut the fuck up. Other times, I’ve seen dudes so hyped up from being pissed off, they get careless with their form and end up seriously injuring themselves. Both are examples of how being too pissed off can distract someone from training.

However, anger as a last resort can be a powerful coping skill if you are a man and if you find yourself growing a vagina. Or for you ladies out there, discovered that your balls are being cut-off.

Sometimes when I’m feeling unmotivated, I know I am very susceptible to giving up when I know I can go further. When I catch myself in this wimp mode and stop at the very first sign of discomfort, I get so upset at myself for almost wasting a training day. Instantly, I can transform myself from being a pansy to pain to being an unstoppable beast impervious to any discomfort.

Being upset at myself fires me up to the point that I can bulldoze through a workout no matter how difficult it can be. The discomfort is still there, but training while being pissed off can override the negative sensation of your muscles hurting and the uncomfortable feeling of your lungs about to explode.

This is an example of how I used anger wisely. If you channel your rage to help you focus and finish a workout, it can be a powerful way to elevate your pain tolerance and defeat any thoughts of quitting.

Tip #4 – Recall Your Past Painful Workouts. When you commit yourself to training with more intensity, pain will be inevitable. When the suffering comes, so will memories of workouts that were equally as difficult. Quickly go through your mental Rolodex of past training sessions that were just as uncomfortable.

By doing so, you will recall workouts that were not only just as painful, but way worse than the one you are currently battling against. Knowing that you got through bigger challenges will help make the current workout seem a lot easier. Most of us instinctively use this “pain comparison” model on our own. It’s just human nature when we are suffering that we think of other lousy moments similar to the one that we are in.

Now I want you to take this mental association cue, one step further. Make it a deliberate coping skill when you are nearly at the end of your rope during a challenging WOD. It must be something you consciously do and hone in on. If it just happens arbitrarily without your control, it will not be developed into a mental tool for you during a crisis while you are in the pain cave. It cannot be a random occurrence. Like all these mental strategies, you must purposely and knowingly call upon it to make it work for you. The more you do this, the more tangible it will be for you and less elusive it will be.

This is a powerful coping skill against pain so implement it in your mental arsenal as soon as possible.

Reflecting and comparing your past accomplishments in the gym will immediately uplift your energy level and lower your perception of pain during your current workout. Revisiting your past victories will give you the concrete proof that you have the ability to endure and outdo pain. Once you see that you are reminded of your superior skill to handle physical stress, it will motivate you to push through the WOD and finish in the strongest and must defiant manner.

Welcome your memories of your past accomplishments in the gym. They’ll make you feel invincible so you’ll be able handle the anguish from any CrossFit WOD. Once you remind yourself how strong you were in the past, you’ll bust your old personal records with more impressive ones.

(To be continued)

Today’s CrossFit WOD –

Modified version of “Jason”

(The original WOD uses muscle-ups while I replaced them with pull-ups)

For time:

100 squats

5 pull-ups

75 squats

10 pull-ups

50 squats

15 pull-ups

25 squats

20 pull-ups

Nothing will cause more grief and negativity in one’s mind than seeing a WOD with a shit load of air squats and pull-ups. When you first take a look at “Jason” and your initial reaction is “Fuck this,” I have succeeded with my plan in putting you in very defeatist mood. I wanted to evoke such as sense of gloom in you that you literally expect to fail when it comes to tackling this WOD.

No worries. This is just your bad habit of perceiving things in a negative way. That’s all about to change once you learn how to implement positive self-coaching to yourself. It will take some time to do a complete mental makeover, but today’s WOD will be a huge step in the right direction. The goal for today is to not to shut down your mean negative comments to yourself, but to use the negativity to motivate you to work harder and with more intensity than ever.

At first glance at “Jason,” many of you will be inundated with the harsh negative statements that has haunted forever. Examples of these mean streak statements can be “You can’t do this! You will fail at at this like how you fail at everything else in life”…”What are you thinking about? Losers can’t do CrossFit”…”Today’s WOD will be another example of what a failure I am.” 

What you must do during your preparation process is to remind yourself that all these negativity that has been infesting your mind, isn’t yourself talking. They are the voices from your past from your childhood, teenage years to your adulthood. Their nasty comments are not factual, but opinions designed to hurt you.  This voice that you hear is an accumulation and built up of all those who have told you repeatedly what you can’t do. This negative voice has now molded into one beast; a composite of all your tormentors put together as one dominate voice that you still fear and let control your life.

Today is the day that you finally break free of the stranglehold that these bastards have had on your life. When you hear their negative voices start to assault you, you must not suppress the enemy, but learn to use it to your advantage. Instead of trying to quiet down their negative put downs to you, listen for specific people from your past that have said this shit to you. See in your mind’s eye the person right in front you. Now, instead of giving in to them, fight back. Fight the fuck back.

The more you hear their voice and see their fucken faces, the harder you must push yourself during the WOD. The nastier their insults, the more energy you will have when doing all those squats. The more the voices try to hurt you, the more fuel you will have to finishing your set of pull-ups.

The whole point of this WOD is to teach you that your positive actions is the best way to make those in your past shut the fuck up. This won’t happen overnight, but with practice you will hear less and less from those bastards and more from another voice that is encouraging and positive despite whatever bad circumstance you are currently in. That voice is from you. It is your true self. It is who you are supposed to be before those in your past unsuccessfully tried to take away your soul.

With this training, you can finally not only let go of the scumbags in your life, but take a fucken sword and whack them into tiny pieces. Reclaim yourself and discover your true essences and what you are supposed to be.

Being who you are and listening to your instinct is the strength you have been trying to achieve all your life, but haven’t completely gotten it. With this mental toughness training, you are ever so close to finding it.

Scaled back version of this WOD –

1. Use the alternate rep scheme –

50 squats

5 pull-ups

25 squats

10 pull-ups

10 squats

15 pull-ups

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

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

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