Mental Toughness Life Skill #1 – Prepare Yourself to be the Aggressor (Part 4)

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(This is part 4 in in this in-depth look at how to transfer the aggressive mindset from the physical CrossFit training to how you live your life. In part 3, I talked about how most of you are too passive when it comes to confronting your daily obstacles. Instead of taking the first step, you probably either hope somebody will save you or fantasizing about fighting though the challenge. Both methods are ineffective and will do nada to get you out of your mess. You must take the initiative yourself. When it comes down to prevailing over an insurmountable problem, relying on your friends is a big waste of time. You must do it yourself. If you don’t make the effort and take it, somebody will take it away from you. 

Stop waiting for approval from others and listening to yourself is the first step to becoming an aggressive machine.)One of the best way to help your become mentally aggressive in your daily life is to prepare the same way as you do when getting ready to do a WOD. To help you prepare for the WODs, you must spend some time reflecting about why you need to be mentally tough. You must do the same soul searching as well when applied to your personal life. It must be a daily meditative activity where you explore your needs to have more fortitude in your life. Knowing your purpose and needs behind your actions will only increase your chances of getting through this very challenging mental toughness program. The stronger your “why”, the more you will be able to endure the upcoming emotional roller costar of life.

Reviewing your needs and purpose to be mentally tougher before your day begins is sure way to help you prepare for the upcoming challenges and old foes that you will face. It doesn’t have to take a huge chunk of your morning, but only about ten minutes is needed to help you get in the frame of mind to get you in the the combat zone of life. The amount time isn’t crucial but asking yourself the reflective self-questions is of more importance for you to discover and rediscover why you have enlisted yourself in this psychological strength training program. The most straight forward and direct self-provoking questions are the standards:

“Why do I need to be mentally tougher in my life?”

“How can mental toughness training enrich my life?”

“What can I do today to make myself mentally tougher?”

“What am I avoiding that is holding me back from becoming mentally tougher?”

The final outcome of this reflective process is not to overly hype you so are frothing at the mouth and want to kill somebody after breakfast nor should it drive you to an emotional overdrive. On the contrary, instead of getting overly hyped up and being a manic mess, this daily meditation will help ground you. It will sooth you so you can think clearly and stay laser focused.

By getting in touch with your toughness objectives daily, will only reassure you of reaching goals. If the process seem unnecessary, it is everything but. You can never assume that you will always be prepared to deal past adversity or future ones. With all the distractions will have in life, it is very easy to get astray from our goals.

I’ve been doing this training for years and even I have to constantly remind myself why I needed toughness in my life. It’s not that I forget. Its just that my mind is always swirling with a million thoughts so I need this daily ritual of confronting myself and reminding myself to keep me on track. If I don’t do spend time to ask myself what my “why” is every day, I noticed I lose some of my edge. My edge is my advantage. It is the only thing that I have over my enemies. My and your competition may be stronger, faster, better looking, younger, make more money, drive fancier cars, but they all have the capacity to be mentally unbroken. I, on the other hand, can never mentally fall apart. This is my strength and power that I have over the others. Soon, you will attain this superior edge over the common man as well.

Losing this aggressive edge will put me on the defensive and cause me to backpedal at the sign of a threat. So it is essential I begin each day with the most assertive mind frame as possible. Again, having an aggressive mindset does not equate with being a mean person, acting like a jerk on steroids or limited to only males. I know 90 pound females that are tougher than any of you guys out there that can bench 350 pounds. Toughness is in the mind and not in the muscles. Its all about having the attitude that you will take action in pursing your dreams or responding back to ill circumstances.

So make it a daily habit to ask yourself some confronting questions every day on why you need this training. It only takes a few minutes a day and you’ll find those minutes to be crucial to how you perceive the day and yourself. This self-reflection period is daily reminder that you must go out and take what is yours

You always want to put yourself in the best position to be successful. And that position is a mindset that is aggressive and ready take on and demolish any challenges that gets in the way of you and your family from living a better life.

(To be continued)

Today’s barbell complex movement (and also a classic CrossFit) WOD –

The Bear

6 sets

Thrusters (front squat into a military press)

Behind the neck thrusters (back squat into a behind the neck military press)

Do five reps for front thrusters and then do the back thrusters. Try not to put the barbell down until you are done with the last back thruster.

Drop the barbell and pick up a pair of heavy dumbbells for farmer’s walks. Walk around your gym for a one minute while holding the dumbbells.

During your prep work, really drill yourself today with self-empowering questions to find out what your “why” is. I know all of you are extremely motivated to become mentally tougher, but you need to know what is behind your determination. The more specific you are with answering your “why” and “needs” to becoming mentally tough, the more motivated you will be to committing to the training. Understand what your “why” only adds clarity and focus to guide your actions. Fighting isn’t enough. You must understand what you are fighting for so you can take the upcoming punishment and push yourself forward.

With today’s WOD being “The Bear,” you’ll need as much ammunition as possible going into it. It’s not only a classic CrossFit WOD, but a highly regarded test of strength and endurance used by many coaches way before CrossFit even began.

Here are some examples of confronting questions that you can use today to stimulate your emotions and to discover why mental toughness is crucial to life. These of some of the same self-empowering questions that I have asked myself in the past to learn what my “why” is – “Why is crucial for me to become mentally tougher in my life”….”Why is important that become mentally stronger now instead of later in my life?”….”What would my life be like if I weren’t mentally tough and I was weak again?”  Really dig into your psyche and uncover what your “why” is in regards to learning how to be mentally tougher. When you discover what your “why” is continue to push yourself for more introspection. For example, what would being mentally tough give you? What positive benefits would you gain in your personal life…work…relationships…dreams…if you were mentally tough? Be specific with your answers. Once you understand the reasons behind your determination to become tougher in life, you are ready to do battle with “The Bear.”

Nothing will make your muscle sear and burn like “the Bear.” In order to get the best out of this complex movement, you want to explode out the front and back squat and drive the overhead presses with explosive power. The faster you move the barbell, the better. “The Bear” is about using and generating momentum from your legs and transferring energy through your core. Make the thrusters one fast and explosive movement.  So stay extra focus on your core during this workout by bracing it as tight as possible during each round. Imagine if somebody is going to punch you in your stomach. That’s how tight your core muscles must be for this barbell complex movement.

When you are done with “The Bear,” quickly catch your breath and then pick up the dumbbells. You don’t want to rest too long or you will lose the metabolic effect of the complex movement combined with the farmer’s walk. Squeeze the handles tight and try your best to keep your core solid as you are walking in you gym. When the level of exertion is becoming too much for you and you want to quit, remind yourself of all the benefits of being mentally tough in your life. Mentally revisit your “why” and how finishing “The Bear” will get you closer to becoming mentally stronger. Let these reasons motivation you to finishing off “The Bear.”

When you are done defeating “The Bear,” give yourself huge props. Not only did you get over one of the toughest WODs ever known in the strength and conditioning community, but finished it with the added misery of the farmer’s walk. Know that only a handful of people has ever attempted and finish this brutal WOD. Me, my clients, some of those who follow this site and now you.

That’s something to be proud of.

Scaled back version of “The Bear” –

1. Do only 4 sets and 3 reps for each movement.

2. Cut the farmer’s walk down to 30 seconds.

3. Omit the farmer’s walk.

4. Omit the behind the neck thrusters and do only the front thrusters and the farmer’s walk.

Acceptable alternatives –

1. If you don’t have room to do the farmer’s walk in you gym, do 10 burpees or jump rope for a one minute.