Mental Toughness Life Skill #1 – Prepare Yourself to be the Aggressor (Part 9)

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(For part 9 in this extensive topic on how to get you mentally aggressive while facing your life problems, I talked about how to use a negative stimulus to motivate yourself. Normally, I don’t like to use fear arousal to get my ass in gear, but at times, they can be quite effective especially when you need sometime extra to motivate me.  These types of self-questions that provoke some fear in you are very confrontation. If they don’t get you ready to battle the daily hardships that you will face, I don’t know what will.)

At times, during my mental toughness journey when I felt lax during my training and needed an extra push, I sometimes I had to get more confrontational with myself with questions that provoked negative consequences. Some studies on human behavior have suggested we work harder to avoid a loss than to gain a win. An example could be how some people do more to avoid losing their life savings than to make more money. Same concept can be applied with your mental toughness training especially when you start making noticeable gains.

With all the hard work that I have put in to progress up the mental toughness ladder, my biggest fear would be a regression back to my former weak self. I’m sure, many of you will have the same worries as well and don’t want to lose what you have worked so hard for. At times, we all need to be reminded about how far we have come and grown. And other times, we need a reality check and wake up call to remind of us on how bad it used to be. For me, when I think back at how pathetic I used to be I immediately cringe and feel a sense of unease and anxiety. Once you experience how transcendent and limitless this training can take you to,  I’ll guarantee you’ll do whatever it takes to avoid returning back to your weak roots.

For a lot of you, the pain and dread of losing all you have worked for will become an instant motivator and re-energized you  back to an aggressive state of mind. When I get a sense of feeling that my clients are not training with much intensity and are feeling too laid back, I confront them with questions that have strong negative consequences. After reflecting on these statements with negative outcomes, my clients in a matter of seconds transform right in front of me. I could see a spark in their eyes or change in their posture, but there is definitely a different look about them. In other words, they look a hell of lot meaner after thinking about the consequences of not training hard.  This leads them to having more purpose in the WOD and way more intensity than just a few minutes ago.

Here are some confrontational questions with painful consequences that you can use when you catch yourself feeling unmotivated during your morning prep work. Again, they are only suggestion. Break them up and mode them to fit your personal needs. After asking yourself these types of negative outcome questions, really let them soak in and set with your psyche. Don’t rush through them, but really visualize the shitty results of what can happens if you go back to your weak ways. If they make you feel uncomfortable, then good. They are doing their job.

Sometimes feeling awful can motivate us to feeling good. Here are some questions that I have used on myself and my clients:

“What would my life be if I was mentally weak again?”

“How could not getting over this adversity be a regression towards my mental toughness development?

“Have I forgotten my past when I used to be so weak?

“How can giving up on fighting this adversity be a mental setback for me?”

“What will happen to my mental toughness training if I whuss out on this challenge?”

“Am I taking the easy way out by avoiding this challenge?”

“Why am I purposely making excuses to not do this challenge?”

These are just a few that I used. Use your creativity and come up with some questions that you will perk you up when you don’t feel like fighting back.  Nobody knows you better than yourself.

Now go push your buttons and get ready to combat life.

(To be continued)

Today’s WOD –

6 sets

Turkish get-ups with a dumbbell – 5 reps each side

Push-ups – 15 reps

400 meter run

It’s been a while since I put Turkish get-ups in a WOD because I suck at them and I hate doing them.  I’m sure many of you detest them as much as I do. Doing get-up by themselves is hard enough. So seeing them combined with push-ups and a 400 meter run will be very intimidating. For you brave souls out there, if you’re not intimidated by this WOD, you should be. It’s a rough one and has the potential to get you to quit on yourself.

If you Google Turkish get-ups with 400 meter runs, I doubt that you will find many WODs with this brutal combination. It just doesn’t make much sense to the masses to do this unforgiving combination, but in terms of mental toughness training, it makes more than sense. You need to push yourself out of your comfort zone and discover that limitations are in your head. For that matter, the intimidation that you feel is also in your head as well. When you get done with the first set, you probably don’t think you have in you to finish the WOD. That’s just fear getting to you and trying to control you. To get over you fear, you must confront it directly head-on with action. In other words, stop thinking that you can’t do anymore and show yourself how mentally strong you are by picking the weight and doing more get-ups.

The best opposition to intimidation is action. The more you do the behavior of the get-ups, push-ups and run is the best way to put your foot down on the fear that almost got ahold of you. I said almost because my getting through each set, you should pick up steam and confidence that not only will you finish the WOD, but complete it by being as explosive and aggressive as possible. By being forceful and decisive with your movements, you are destroying the fear and now becoming the intimidator. If you were doing this WOD at a CrossFit box or at your commercial gym or the park, those around you should be able to sense the confidence that you are projecting as you finish the WOD, more confident and assertive that when you first started off.  This 180 degree turnaround is a testament to your refusal of letting the WOD intimidate you. The ramifications of this is that it should have a carry-over effect to your personal life the next time some asshole tries to bully you. By refusing to be intimated by the WOD, you won’t let anybody in the real world intimate you as well. This is the ultimate goal of your training – everything you do with the physical training must translate to how you live your life.

By standing up for yourself in this WOD and fighting back with relentless action, you will discover the intimidator in yourself.  Feel the power and dominance. The next WOD you do or personal adversity that you face makes sure you tap into this same feeling.

When you do, run over the obstacle like how you did today.

Scale back version of this WOD –

1. Do only 3 Turkish get-ups per side.

2. Half Turkish get-ups are a great alternative.  Here’s a  tutorial on how to do them – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VvcS5lrW8x8

3. Do only 4 sets total.

4. Omit the push-ups or the run. If you want, omit both and do only the Turkish  get-ups.

5. Do only 8 push-ups.

Acceptable alternatives –

1 .You can use a kettlebell or dumbbell for the Turkish get-ups.

2. Run in place for a minute or do jumping jacks for one minute instead of the 400m run.

3. You can run on a treadmill or jump rope for a minute.