Mental Toughness Strategy #1 for the Workouts – “Prepare Yourself to be Aggressive” (Part 2)

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(In part 1 of this series, I discussed about how important preparation is prior to your mental toughness workouts. You need to get into an aggressive state of mind for this training or you won’t be able to endure the upcoming suffering).

If you go into the WODs with a mild sense of purpose, you will more likely get eaten up by it. If you don’t have a strong need to be mentally tougher in your life, you won’t have the dedication or determination to take the psychological abuse from the training. This training is very demanding on your soul and body. The more urgent it is for you to have toughness in your life, the more likely you will able to endure the long hardship. These empowering self-questioning sessions during your preparations will elicit a wide range of emotions. Stimulating your emotions can be a very powerful source of self-motivation. It doesn’t matter what the emotions are as long as they provoke relentless ideas and thoughts to you. The more personal your answers, the more provoking they will be to arouse you to become the aggressor in the upcoming feud between you and workouts. Finding a sense of purpose will help you pack some much needed heat going into the fight.

I highly suggest you keep a journal for this training.  I have a client that writes her purpose in her journal before every workout. I never read what she writes, but she told me once, a lot of what she writes is repetitive, but never monotonous. This woman is no bigger than 4’10, but once the workout begins, this sparkplug will tear your head off if you get in her way.

Reviewing your purpose and need with this training is not a onetime procedure. You should do it before every training session. Let it be a ritual. You review your purpose while you drive to the gym or think about it during your warm-ups.  Just let it build until you begin the workout.  This work is a premeditated act with a motive of unyielding aggression which you must plan ahead of time. You want your mind and body overflowing with pure aggression before the fight.  I don’t care if you are a law abiding citizen, a mild mannered person, sensitive parent, or a geek like myself; when it comes to getting ready for the workouts, you must transform your soul to become a merciless animal seeking blood. If you don’t think you have that in you, think again.

If you become mentally lazy and foolishly take for granted that your purpose is always readily available, you are unprepared to handle war. I don’t care how strong you are, or how much stamina you have. If you assume that you don’t need any mental preparation to get you through these workouts, you will pay a price. The workouts will maul you and then kick you to the curb. Even a slightly less than aggressive attitude will have you back-peddling. You must never, ever let up on your aggressive mentality. You see this happen all the time in sports where a team is so heavily favored, they take their opponents too lightly and then get beaten in a major upset. In a more serious example, a warrior may have many victories, but if he begins to bask in glory and rely only on his reputation, he will eventually be killed in war. The point you want to take home here is that you may never assume you are in the right frame of mind to do battle. You must always load and reload emotional bullets in your mind’s chamber.

Understand too, that your purpose and need may change and evolve. By diving to a greater depth in your psychology, your purpose and need will only intensify. This is the nature of a program like this which emphasizes mental growth by unlocking suppression and overcoming shame. When you tap into this emotional pain and use it constructively to your advantage, you will take aggressiveness to another level. I like to summon this power at the end of the workout, when I want to make a statement to myself that not only am I going to finish the WOD, but I’m going to finish it stronger than when I started. Being a fighter is this sometimes uncivilized society, you must learn to develop this killer instinct and put your foot on your opponent’s throat by finishing the workouts with full force. As you near the end of the workout, let the thrill of being almost done throw more fire in your passion as your impose your superiority on the WOD.

Starting the WOD with an aggressive mind set is crucial, but finishing the WOD with your mind fuming with more rage is even more powerful as it will have a carryover effect once you step out of the gym and into the real world with a “Don’t fuck with me” attitude. The ability to get more relentless towards the end of the WOD is a sign that your mental stamina is building and that you are learning to reverse emotional pain into pure strength that just makes you feel so damn unstoppable. When you can turn you do this, you are making huge strides in your mental toughness growth.

(End of part 2)

During the preparation process, let your emotions get you to ready to face the upcoming strength challenges of this WOD. One way to do this is to see the WOD as a metaphor of your past weak self. By getting physical stronger, you are little by little wiping out your past failures and weak moments.

Sometimes when you ask yourself the confronting self-questions about your needs to be mentally tougher in my life, you will conjure up some very painful memories. If you can handle it, delve into the memory. The potential for motivation can be great if you can deal with the pain of it. If the memory is too upsetting, discard it and find another need that you can work with. The preparation is done to provide you with fuel and not to disable you.

A while back when I was doing the prep work for a strength WOD, a reflection of a traumatic experiences surfaced up. For years, I have been haunted by this memory, but now I was strong enough to confront it, but more importantly, I was now ready to end the pain.

Instead of regression to a helpless state, I was now filled with fury to aggressively destroy the emotional pain as I saw the WOD as symbolic of the whole bad experience. My thoughts were instilled with an aggressive rage as I approached the heavy deadlift – That will never happen to me again. I am physically and mentally stronger now than ever. I will validate my strength by lifting this heavy deadlift 5 straight times. I am going to crush the hell out of this set.

Another example of how aggressive my thoughts were and how I took out years of inner torment on the WOD  – I refuse to let anybody treat me like that again. Ever! The next time somebody disrespects me, I will destroy them like how I am going to crush this set of heavy front squats. By getting over this bad experience, I feel stronger than ever. These five reps of front squats is going to feel light to me.

This mental toughness program is very cathartic. Better to kill the WOD than hold on to the self-destructive inner pain that most of do for years. It is finally time for all us to stop hurting ourselves. And the best way to do that is to become stronger because of it. This training is all about showing how you have more strength and courage inside than you could ever imagine.

Now go experience it for yourself.

Today’s strength WOD –

5 sets of 5

1. Front squats

2. Incline dumbbell bench press

3. Romanian deadlifts

4. Bent over rows

5. Barbell roll outs

Scale back version:

1. Do three sets of three reps.

2. Omit the barbell roll-outs.

Acceptable alternatives:

1. You can do flat bench press instead of the inclines. Also, you can use a bar if you don’t have dumbbells

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