Intimidation and Mental Toughness Training (Part 3)

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(In the last part of this series on being intimidated, I talked about how detrimental it is if you give into being intimidated. The problem with being intimidated is that once you start letting people boss you around, it becomes a vicious cycle where you can’t stop yourself from letting others intimidate you. So when you find yourself up against an intimidating figure or situation, you must learn to stand up for yourself.

The first tip against an intimidating situation is that you must continue to do your preparation work. If it’s a challenging WOD that you don’t think you can handle, you must gear yourself up during your prep work to become the aggressor. You must do the same thing if you are competing in a sporting event or involved with a business deal where you are the underdog. You must always go into the situation with aggressive and relentless thoughts of overtaking the imposing obstacle. I will now continue this discussion with tip #2)

2. Stop Worrying About the Results – Always focus on the immediate task that you are up against. What screws most people up is that they get so intimidated, they try to jump ahead and think only about getting the end results. By overly worrying about the final results can only exacerbate the intimidation that you are feeling.  For example, approaching a heavy PR can be quite an intimidating experience, especially if you missed the lifts many times before in the past. Instead of putting the extra pressure of having to make the lift, focus on one coaching cue or action. By putting your attention on the action instead of the final result, you will put less pressure on yourself and be less fearful. This will increase your chances of making a successful lift.

Another example can be applied to a hitter facing an intimidating pitcher that is throwing smoke. By avoiding a defeatist attitude like “I know this guy is going to strike me”, the batter can shift his focus to action goals like “keeping your head down” or “look for the spin of the ball.” Action goals are very effective because they can help a fearful athlete calm down and focus on the immediate tasks. By putting on your attention on yourself and not the opponent, you will be less intimidated by the situation.

3. Don’t Blow Things out of Proportion – When we first face something that really intimidates us, our first reaction is that we aren’t good enough to compete with them. What happens is that we give the intimidator way too much power over us. Like how my CrossFit coach put his competitor on a giant pedestal, we do the same when face with an imposing figure. When you catch yourself feeling inferior to your competition, you need to stop, pull back your fear and reassess the situation. The first thing you must do is tell yourself that you are overreacting. Take a couple of breaths;and calm your ass down.

Instead of giving your enemies so much credit, you need to give yourself some positive encouragement and reinforcement for your abilities. Think back on some of your past accomplishment. You probably defeated challenges that were way harder than the one you are currently facing. Conjure up some of these achievements and let them simmer within you. The more focus you are on your unique abilities, the less likely you will be intimidated. You want to always ride on the emotions and pride of your past victories as you go into the WOD, competition or board meeting. The power of momentum has a way of taking a life of its own. Use it to your advantage.

4. Confront your Fears – When face with a situation or foe that overawes us, the initial reaction of somebody that is weak is to give in without fighting back. Taking a knee without making the effort to fight back is the greatest sin of the mental toughness manifesto. This whole program is predicated on teaching you how to stay in the fight and to give it all you got. Winning or being successful is not what mental toughness is all about. It would be great if you can always win, but I really don’t give a shit if you do or not. If you think this mental toughness training is solely about winning, then you are enrolled in the wrong program.

This training is all about fighting back. I don’t care if you get the shit kicked out of you from your opponent or have to do the lowest scale version of a WOD. It all about you making the effort and had the guts to keep on going. The whole point of this training is for you to learn and find that hidden reservoir of power, stamina and courage with your mental thoughts. Once you can do this, you will never ever be intimidated by any WOD, prick bully or awful situation again.

You know deep down inside, no matter how much you are getting your ass kicked, you will never quit. When you have this uncanny ability to always go after your opponent, even when you are wounded, you will strike fear in all your enemies.

Nothing is more intimidating than the mother fucker that refuses to die.

This is what this training is all about.

Today’s Litvinov WOD –

6 sets

Front squats – 5 reps

Pull-ups – 6 reps

400 meter run.

I want you to make a mental shift today when you do this WOD. Usually when there is a run aspect to a WOD, most people passively jog without my intensity. This is usually the part of the WOD where one mistakenly thinks they can “rest” and take it easy. Needless to say, this is a huge cop out as being intense only “part of the time” with a WOD is not enough. The challenge for you today is to bring on the intensity throughout the entire WOD. There is no let up today in the WOD until you are done with the run.

For this Litvinov workout, I want you to crank up the run and go much harder than normal. I want you to have the mindset of an intimidator today. In order to do that, you want to run like you are trying to chase somebody down. Instead of being the prey, I want you to be the aggressive hunter. Bring some intensity and vigor to the 400 meter. Half way through the run, I would you to pick up the pace even more. By the time you reach the last 100 yards or so, give it all you got by sprinting to the finish line.

There’s something about running harder than normal and sprinting that will trigger the intimidator in you. Today, there is no holding back with the 400 meter. If you finish the run and is not hunched over and breathing heavily, you didn’t run hard enough. Remember the shift in your mindset today – you are the hunter, the intimidator. This mindset comes from finishing the rounds hard and with as much effort as possible. The hunter runs after his prey with fire and purpose in his eyes. You can’t find the intimidator in yourself by trotting slow as hell to the end point. You must always finish the run with your greatest effort. You must run as if you are going after the enemy that done you wrong. By doing so, it will trigger the animalistic rage in yourself that is needed if you want to go to the next level of being the aggressor.

This relentless mindset is what you are after and must be shown through your actions of the front squat, pull-ups, but today it must be especially expressed through the run. The challenge for you today is to make a statement with your running. It is not your weak link in the WOD. Make it your strength by finishing each round as aggressively as you can.

Sprinting and running hard symbolizes power. It is not the literal speed that is importance, but the intent that you will give it all you got. By being relentless with the run all the way to the end, it will trigger a sense of power and domination that will bring any intimidating figure down to his knees.

Scale back version of this WOD –

1. Doing only 4 sets.

2. Omit the pull-ups.

Acceptable alternatives for this WOD –

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

2. Horizontal body rows can be done 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. You can do back squats in place of the front squats.

5. You can run in place or do jumping jacks for 30 seconds instead of the 400 meter run. Also, 10 burpees or one minute of jump rope are acceptable alternative to the 400 meter run.


6 thoughts on “Intimidation and Mental Toughness Training (Part 3)”

  1. I consider myself a person that gets easily intimated so I found this series very usefully and thought provoking. I have been doing the mental toughness workouts for about two months and I have seen noticeable changes in my body. I have lost about 10 pounds and I am seeing some definition in my arms.

    I still suffer from self esteem issues, but I am much better than before.

    Baby steps for me.


  2. Although, sometimes I feel that the posts are written for males in mind, I got a lot from this series. In general, all woman will feel intimated especially in the work force where males are dominated with the power. This series taught me a lot and very much appreciated it.

    Thanks for writing it.


  3. I also feel that target audience for this site is for males. At first, I was a little put off by it, but I loved the message so much that it no longer bothers me.

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