Mental Toughness Strategy #3 for the Workouts – Optimizing Positive Self-Talk (Part 1)

download (7)

(Using positive self-talk is the third mental strategy in this mental toughness program. The first skill is preparing yourself to be aggressive and the second skill is engaging your will. Although, using positive self-talk is a straightforward technique, it can be a difficult skill to learn especially if you are the jaded type. With guided practice and focus, even the worse cynics can may huge improvements in their ability to use positive encouragement statements to themselves while battling out with WODs. That, I am very positive about.)

Strategy #3 – 0ptimizing Positive Self-Talk 

We talk to ourselves all the time. What you say to yourself can have a profound effect on your actions and feelings. Even if we don’t say things directly to ourselves, our thoughts can unconsciously manifest in our body. To develop your mental toughness, you must learn to optimize the inner dialogue to your advantage. Positive self-talk is very encouraging and can lead discovering active solutions to overcome adversity. I always tell my clients that they themselves are their best coaches.

Out of all the obstacles that you will face when trying to succeed in this program, negativity may be the greatest one. Most people are so chronically cynical and it can be extremely difficult to break this debilitating habit. Over the years, I have seen many people destroyed by the never ending negative self-criticism.  Most trainers will probably agree that changing the body is easy; it’s changing the thought pattern of one who always sees the negatives over the positives that is most difficult. When it comes to beating adversity, maintaining a positive outlook is the foundation of one who is mentally tough. They can handle whatever is thrown at them because they have faith that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  This outlook might sound simplistic, but it will be one of the most difficult factors to achieve in your mental toughness development. However, once you learn to how to let a positive mind dominate your thinking process, you will always feel unbeatable no matter how great the odds are against you.

The problem for those with a negative outlook is that they expect failure. In an extremely perverse way, it’s actually pleasurable for them to lose out because it reinforces their negative belief in themselves. For some of you, your negative outlook is so strong and mean-spirited, it can be extremely damaging to your soul. When you use self-demeaning statements with harsh words like “failure” or “idiot” it can wear you down mentally and hinder your performance. Remind yourself when these hostile negative thoughts occur, they are only feelings and not factual statements. They are not a reflection of your true self. The negative statements you hear are from voices of your past. You must draw the line with yourself and say enough is enough and stop letting those in your past continue haunting you. That’s where all these negative thoughts are coming from: people in your life that have hurt you. Learn to distance yourself from these statements. These are others people’s thoughts and not your own.

For me, when my negative thought pattern becomes obviously tainted with my former tormentors, I use the emotions and memory of them to my full advantage. I know nothing will upset my past foes more than me getting in the best shape ever and being successful with my life. Instead of letting them hold me back, I actually begin to work out with more intensity because of them. In time, you will have the capability to reverse any negative thoughts to strengthen your resolve.

Others are so rotted by negativity that they don’t even risk to try. To me, lack of effort is the worst possible thing. It is ultimate sign of one who is mentally meek and lives in fear. On the other side of the spectrum, mental toughness is all about giving as much as effort as possible, no matter what the immediate outcome is. With enough effort, accomplishments will eventually occur. This is the positive oath we tough minded people take every day of our lives.

So the first step for many of you is that you must view negativity as a sickness. It is a disease of  the mind. Like any enemy that has taken your livelihood, it must be wiped out. If not, negativity has a way of lingering in your mind and is quite resilient. It can affect how you view everything. This series is all about transforming your pessimistic frame of mind to a positive one and become an individual with unlimited hope. Being the optimist I am, I have come up with some effective mental strategies to shut down this encompassing enemy.

(To be continued)

Today’s CrossFit WOD –

Modified version of “Jason”

(The original WOD uses muscle-ups while I replaced them with pull-ups)

For time:

100 squats

5 pull-ups

75 squats

10 pull-ups

50 squats

15 pull-ups

25 squats

20 pull-ups

Nothing will cause more grief and negativity in one’s mind than seeing a WOD with a shit load of air squats and pull-ups. When you first take a look at “Jason” and your initial reaction is “Fuck this,” I have succeeded with my plan in putting you in very defeatist mood. I wanted to evoke such as sense of gloom in you that you literally expect to fail when it comes to tackling this WOD.

No worries. This is just your bad habit of perceiving things in a negative way. That’s all about to change once you learn how to implement positive self-coaching to yourself. It will take some time to do a complete mental makeover, but today’s WOD will be a huge step in the right direction. The goal for today is to not to shut down your mean negative comments to yourself, but to use the negativity to motivate you to work harder and with more intensity than ever.

At first glance at “Jason,” many of you will be inundated with the harsh negative statements that has haunted forever. Examples of these mean streak statements can be “You can’t do this! You will fail at at this like how you fail at everything else in life”…”What are you thinking about? Losers can’t do CrossFit”…”Today’s WOD will be another example of what a failure I am.” 

What you must do during your preparation process is to remind yourself that all these negativity that has been infesting your mind, isn’t yourself talking. They are the voices from your past from your childhood, teenage years to your adulthood. Their nasty comments are not factual, but opinions designed to hurt you.  This voice that you hear is an accumulation and built up of all those who have told you repeatedly what you can’t do. This negative voice has now molded into one beast; a composite of all your tormentors put together as one dominate voice that you still fear and let control your life.

Today is the day that you finally break free of the stranglehold that these bastards have had on your life. When you hear their negative voices start to assault you, you must not suppress the enemy, but learn to use it to your advantage. Instead of trying to quiet down their negative put downs to you, listen for specific people from your past that have said this shit to you. See in your mind’s eye the person right in front you. Now, instead of giving in to them, fight back. Fight the fuck back.

The more you hear their voice and see their fucken faces, the harder you must push yourself during the WOD. The nastier their insults, the more energy you will have when doing all those squats. The more the voices try to hurt you, the more fuel you will have to finishing your set of pull-ups.

The whole point of this WOD is to teach you that your positive actions is the best way to make those in your past shut the fuck up. This won’t happen overnight, but with practice you will hear less and less from those bastards and more from another voice that is encouraging and positive despite whatever bad circumstance you are currently in. That voice is from you. It is your true self. It is who you are supposed to be before those in your past unsuccessfully tried to take away your soul.

With this training, you can finally not only let go of the scumbags in your life, but take a fucken sword and whack them into tiny pieces. Reclaim yourself and discover your true essences and what you are supposed to be.

Being who you are and listening to your instinct is the strength you have been trying to achieve all your life, but haven’t completely gotten it. With this mental toughness training, you are ever so close to finding it.

Scaled back version of this WOD –

1. Use the alternate rep scheme –

50 squats

5 pull-ups

25 squats

10 pull-ups

10 squats

15 pull-ups

2.  Use a Woody band for the assisted pull-ups

3. Horizontal body rows can done be instead of the pull-ups. They look like this – images (18)

4. Jumping pull-ups are good too. Here’s what they look like – download (2)




12 thoughts on “Mental Toughness Strategy #3 for the Workouts – Optimizing Positive Self-Talk (Part 1)”

  1. When it comes down to negative self talk, I am my worst enemy. Putting myself down is a huge problem that I have and its something that I got to work on. Since doing the wods and joining the mental toughness nation, I would say I have made great improvements in this short time.

    I’m still negative as hell, but during the wods towards the end where I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, I find myself feeling more optimistic than ever. I assume this is the evolution that you are always talking about when one becomes less negative and more positive.

    If I could become a tad more positive, anybody can.

  2. Great post! Thanks you for pointing out to me that the negativity that I have do deal with daily is not from me but collection of voices from my past. It helps so much to realize this and that it not from me that giving me the put downs, but from people in my past.

    Seeing this from this perspective sheds amazing light to me.

    Thanks for much.

  3. At my gym they have an assisted pull up machine. Can I use that instead? They don’t have bands that strong at my gym.

    Great post, by the way!


  4. hey lisa – I won’t do pullups on the assisted machine. I would stick to jumping pullups or horizontal rows like what Jackson suggested.

    Assisted pullups on a machine is a joke. Really force yourself to work with jumping pull ups or rows.

  5. For most of my life, I am one of those persons that Jackson is talking about that expect to failure. I have issues with my confidence which makes this site so appealing to me. Dealing with my negativity has been a long battle with me.

    I”m not sure how the WODs is effecting my negative frame of mind to be honest. I been doing them not for about a month and I do feel good about myself when I’m done.

    Maybe this is the start. I’m keeping my fingers cross…..

  6. I’m just like you Annie. Although, its way too early to tell, but my constant negative frame of mind is slowly changing since I started this mental toughness program. I’m still a doom and gloom kind of a guy (I’ve suffer from depression all my life), but am seeing the effects of the WODs lifting my spirits more than anything else.

    How could I not feel better about myself after getting through these brutal WODs? Really. I’m no where close to where I need to be, but for now, a little optimism is something new and refreshing in my life as I’m probably more confident than ever. The other day, I had a obstacle that I had to face that in my old days, I would have fell apart. Although, I’m still working on overcoming it, my frame of mind is better than ever. I’m working on pushing myself through like how I do with the WODs.

    One day at time is my mantra.

  7. Did the WOD with the assisted pull-up machine at my gym this morning.

    I live on the third floor. Walking up those stairs after all those squats was torture.

    I hope the next WOD don’t have squats!

  8. Hey Lisa – great job on the WOD today. The assisted pull-up machine is fine for now. As you get stronger, I want you to shift over to doing inverted horizontal rows. But for now, stick to the assisted machine.

    Keep it going !

  9. Tyler – one day at a time is a great mantra for this training.

    Good luck and glad you are on board with us!

Leave a Reply