It All Comes Down to Your Interpretation (Part 1)

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In my last blog, I talked about how I was training outside and was about to go inside due to the cold weather. When suddenly, I saw an overweight neighbor smoking and coughing uncontrollably. Instead of packing it in, I was motivated to fight it out in the freezing weather and ended up getting a tremendous mental toughness builder and  bodyweight workout.

The difference between those that are mentally tough and those with feeble souls is in their interpretation of a problem. In simplest terms, one can interpret a bad predicament as something that will defeat them or something that they must conquer.For example, if you show a  painting to two different people, they both will likely give you two different perspectives of the painting. Same with life’s problems. Everybody views things differently. However, the majority of people see and interpret challenges as a bad thing. What we want to do with our mental toughness training is to teach us to interpret obstacles as something positive. The reward may not come immediate, but we know it will be gratifying down the road.

When I was outside training in the cold, most people will interpret what I was doing as “stupid” or “something they would never do.” I, on the other hand, when I had a hard time gripping the rings, I interpret what I was doing as empowering and a sign of my perseverance skills. So, it all comes down to how’s ones interpretation of a bad situation that will determine if they will give in or give it all they got to overcome the problem. This is what mental toughness is all about. It may sound overly simplistic, but your thoughts have everything to do with your perseverance capabilities. Everything. So the first thing you must amend is your thought process.

When faced with the cruelties from life, you either have a negative outlook or be positive and open-minded. With a calm mind, you can interpret everything to be to your advantage.

The problem most people have is when things aren’t going to their plan, they freak out and panic. When this happens, their mind goes haywire and they begin to wrongly “interpret” that things aren’t going their way. For these people, failure is inevitable. They don’t have the capacity to turn bad events around and interrupt them as possible silver linings.

For those who are mentally tough, we have the ability to use everything around us, even the awful stuff, to our advantage. Instead of using distractions to derail us, we must use them to motivate us. The best example of this is how having a “bad day” at work effects our gym habits. I have known many people who have skipped training because they had a “bad day” at work with their asshole boss. This is classic example of how a negative event can spiral downward and ruin the rest of your day.

In order to be mentally tough, you must accept that life will always have pitfalls. Instead of giving it them, you must find fuel from them. So if you are having a “shit day” a work, the worst thing you can do is to pass on the training. You got to use the negativity is some way to motivate you to better yourself. I know for me personally, I have had some incredible training days when my past bosses have been a prick to me. Sure, I may be thinking of smashing their heads when I’m throwing down medicine balls, but instead of letting the anger eat away at me, I use it to become as explosive and violent as I can in the gym. The final outcome is that I trained so hard I know I will look better in the mirror than my out of shape boss. So in the long run, I have to be thankful and even a little grateful  for my asshole of a boss for pushing me to work harder in the gym and giving me bumpy six pack that he will never have. Revenge is always a huge motivator and something the mentally tough live for.

So the key to transforming yourself into a mental toughness beast is how you interpret a bad situation. You must see the event as something that will give you an edge that you could not possibly have gotten anywhere else.

Once you start using the distractions in your life as motivators, you will begin to learn how to change negatives to positives.

This is a huge goal in the training and crucial in your mental toughness growth.

(To be continued)

Today’s strength day WOD:

5 sets of 5 reps


Military press

Back squats

Good mornings

Barbell roll outs

I get a lot of emails on how to get a bumpy set of abs. One of the best ways is to do a lot strength training. It all has to do with the setup. It is important to get your core tight before you begin. If your abs are loose before you touch the weight and you tighten up right before you begin the lift, it is already too late. You most likely will over extend and put your back in a precarious position. So always before you touch the weights: get your shoulders back, brace the abs, squeeze the glutes and screw your feet into the ground.

During all the movements today, really focus on tensing your abs as hard as can throughout the lift. This is your number one priority today. During your rest in between sets repeat the following mantra over and over in your head: By squeezing my abs hard, I will be protect my back and get the six pack that I always dreamed of. Drill this mantra in your head. Trust me, when it comes to strength days or metabolic conditioning WODs, we all get distracted easily and lose our focus. So today, go overboard and overdo it by reminding your over and over the importance of being stable and the aesthetic benefits of doing it.

Now only will your form be better, but you’ll look better neeeeked because of it.

A win-win situation for your strength and your looks.

Scale back version of today’s WOD:

1. Do three sets of three reps.

Acceptable alternatives:

1. You can use dumbbells for the presses. If you have an ab wheel, you can you use that over a barbell for the roll outs.