Mental Toughness and Semantics (Part 3)


When it comes to recovery between sets, I prefer to use the word “reload” over “rest” for several reasons. First of all, the word “to reload” implies recharging a firearm. In essence, getting yourself mentally ready to attack is what you should be doing between your working sets. You should view your mind like a gun chamber. After you had used up some of your intensity from the last set, you need to add some more violent ammunition to your arsenal. You never want to go into a battle without weapons that can destroy the enemy, so why would you want to train with a mind that is defensiveness and ailing? A mind without a forceful intent is like having a shotgun without any bullets. If you are unprepared to fight in the trenches and in the gym, you will be useless and be prone to taking a bad beating. In order to go head to head with a formidable opponent, you must bring in your most powerful weapon.

In this training, you’ll learn the most potent and dangerous apparatus to your enemy is an aggressive mind-set. Nothing will scare the shit out of your adversity more than a mind is that is has taken aim on the target and is ready to fire.

Yes, mental toughness training is all about being trigger-happy.

Some now, let’s compare the semantic meanings of “reload” to “rest.” Again, I strongly believe that rest is very important when you are lungs are on fire and your legs are burning. There’s no way you can give it 100 percent with a body that’s not fully recovered.

However, I strongly believe you can rest while you reload at the same time. The main difference between the two words is that “rest” can deflate your energy level while “reload” can amplified your intensity. This training is all about giving you the advantage in life and in competition. And that extra something special that you are learning in this training is your aggressive edge.

This aggressive edge is something that just doesn’t happens by chance. You must summons it. You must call upon it, especially on those times when you are feeling fearful or weak. In other words, in those WODs when you have to pick up some really heavy shit that scares the fuck out of you or when you have to run another mile when you have nothing left in your tank.

When facing a daunting task that you have severe doubt that you can’t overcome it, you must reload your mind and prepare yourself to fight. If not, your insecurity will eat you up alive and you will revert back to being the puny coward that has dominated most of your life. When you are mentally weak, fear always win. Always. That’s how powerful your fears are. So as you learn to be mentally tough, you must be ready to counter-attack your anxiety demons with a mind that is raging and fuming.

Once the fight has begun and you have a bloody lip, you must “reload” to continue

There is no other way.

The one mistake most tough people make is that they think “reloading” means you have to be pissed off to train. Psyching yourself to be an anger mood is the most common strategy that I use and most of you as well. Honing in on your anger is powerful tool. Nothing reloads your mind better than thinking about something that gets under your skin and then using the emotion to help you deadlift a million pounds. I’m a strong advocate of reloading your mind with things that irritate the fuck out of you. In my toolbox of mental strategies, I love training when my violent temper rises. To me, unstoppable determination is all generated by anger. I could thinks of dozens of WODs where I was felt invincible and my tolerance of pain was almost non-existence. In these training sessions, I was able to “reload” my andrealine with ease between working sets.

However, I caution you all with only using this method to help you reenergize yourself when you have a tall order task in front of you like having the chore of doing 30 more pull-ups when your shoulders are shot.

The problem with calling upon the power of “being mad as hell” is that sometimes, the emotion just isn’t there. What pissed you off last month, might not trigger you today. That doesn’t mean you are over the pain and should abandon this memory. No, keep it in your Rolodex of emotions that make you furious. It may just be a dormant now, but the next time you reflect on it, the emotion can roar again and get you to burst through a brick wall.

The major problem on recalling on past events is that emotions are very unpredictable. I’ve seen it with my training and with my athletes. Nothing will render you more powerless then recalling and reloading upon a reliable source of anger and nothing happens. Instead of feeling so unfairly out raged that you can smash the fuck of anybody, you feel void of any power.

When this happens, you get one of those “what the fuck am I going to do now” moments. I should know. I’ve had many of these moments when confronting a heavy back squat.

As a default of not being able to reload my mind with rage, I tried to manufacture the anger in a very awkward and almost caricature presence. Some of my most embarrassing moments while training is when I attacked a heavy weight with “fake” anger. My whole facial expression was exaggerated with a heavy scrawl and with contorted nostrils flaring out. Instead of feeling “mean as hell,” I tried my best to look “mean as hell.” I was trying my best to cover up for the lack of strength I was feeling on the inside by acting the part of a crazed and psychotic savage.

As a result of failing to tap into my reserve of anger power, I was weak and listless and never made any of these big lifts. In my sick world of paranoia, I was probably the laughing stock at the gym in these pathetic moments of me pretending that was a tough guy.

So the lesson here is to use anger in the WOD if you can, but if nothing comes up, you must rely on other sources to “reload” your mind. In the next blog, I will discuss some of these strategies.

In the meantime, have a happy turkey day and make sure you TRAIN on Thanksgiving Day!

(To be continued)

Today’s WOD

Complex movement workout

6 sets

Do 5 reps for each movement and try your best not to rest between movements:


Good mornings

Behind the neck military press

Bent over rows


One minute jump rope

Get ready for the onslaught of negativity with this challenging WOD with two separate sets of thrusters. One set of thrusters in the beginning of the complex movement and another set of thrusters to end the set. Today’s WOD is a huge test on how you will handle the inevitable negativity that will occur in a physical challenge.

The best way to fight the negativity is to prepare for it during your preparation work. So as you get ready to do the WOD come up with an offensive strategy to overtake the inevitable negative self-talk that will happen once the WOD begins to punish your body.

So think about some these harsh judgmental critics in your life during your mental warm-up. Who are these people? How have they negatively affected you? What have you lost in life because you let these negative people control your actions and ruin your confidence?

Let the memories come up. However, don’t let the emotional over take you. Pull back till you feel you are in control. When you are ready, step into the ring and begin the fight.

As soon as the negativity begins, aggressively strike back with positive self-coaching. Tell yourself that you are stronger now and tired are letting the negative voices manipulate your life. Work in unison with the positive affirmation about yourself and the action from the complex movement or jump roping. Let your positive self statements guide you into being an aggressive fighting machine as you refuse to slow down during the WOD. The double- thrusters are going to hurt, but you will do them unbroken with a mind-set that refuses to listen to past doubters and a body that will eliminate weakness by being forceful with your movements.

When you are done with each set, be on the lookout for more negative remarks from the enemies of your past. They will not die an easy death. They will begin to tell you again and again, what you can’t do so you must be ready to slay them. This is why you must connect with the killer instinct inside of you. You must not have any sympathy for your past tormentors. They have hurt you in the past and will continue to try to ruin your life if you let them.

Refuse to let them harm you any more by delving hard into your psyche for some relentlessness power to run them over for good. Whenever they begin to lecture you on how incompetent you are, counter back with a positive self-affirmation of how you have change since you have been doing this training while becoming more aggressive with your actions in the WOD. Prove to your doubters that you no longer weak by becoming stronger in the WOD. Be the opposite of what they use to say about you. By refusing to quit and continuing to attack the WOD is how you shut up your past haters. This is why you must go all out in your pursuit of killing the negativity of you past. If you go easy on them, they will continue to haunt you and hold you back.Screw that. Go for the jugular today with an all out assault on the people who have unfairly judged you. End their control of you today.

The ultimate sign of aggressive action with this WOD is to try to be as forceful as possible with your last movement of thrusters. If your last thrusters are done with more force and speed than your first ones, consider yourself ending the WOD in an overly aggressive manner and relying on your killer instinct.

When you are done with this WOD, you have finished more than just a workout.

You have killed off a part of your past that has held you back for years.

Once you do, you will feel unbelievable joy and relief.

Discovery who you are suppose to be with mental toughness training.

Acceptable alternatives:

  1. You can use a barbell or dumbbell for the WOD.
  2. A one minute run on the treadmill is okay if you don’t have a jump rope.