Mental Toughness Strategy #3 for the Workouts – Optimizing Positive Self-Talk (Part 4)

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(In the last part of this series on using positive self-talk during your WOD, I talked about how being positive is not enough. Lots of people are positive, however, they have little to show for their positive frame of mind. If you have positive thoughts, but don’t have the confidence to implement them into action, your positive thoughts will then be of no use to you. What is more important is believing you can put your positive self-talk into a behavior. When you can do this, you will believe beyond any doubt that you can achieve what you are thinking. When your sense of belief is this strong and unyielding to self-doubt, you will feel unstoppable and always be able to act on your thoughts. This is the positive mind-set that we are going after with this mental toughness program.)

When your thoughts and actions begin to mesh as one, you don’t hesitate or hold back on your actions towards your goal. In other words, your conviction is so strong in what you are thinking that nobody or any bad situation can convince you to do otherwise. Having an unbending sense of conviction is what separates those who succeed in life and those are too afraid to take chance. Yes, these people with strong convictions are positive, but they go one step further with their positive attitude. They act on their positive thoughts with great confidence. For these people with strong convictions, they trust their own thoughts and don’t a shit about the thoughts and opinions of others.

Most people don’t listen to themselves. They are waiting for approval from others to make their decisions for them. By not trusting themselves, they lack critical thinking skills. Instead of thinking for themselves, they blindly take the advice from others and never develop the confidence to think and act on their own. They may have positive thoughts, but if those around them disagree with them, these positive thoughts can sour very quickly.

Again, being positive is only part of the equation. You must be able to accomplish what positive thoughts you are thinking. To get to this level of supreme confidence of being able transfer your thoughts into unrelenting action, it will come from the physical aspect of the training. By having aggressive thoughts that refuse to quit during the WODs, you are teaching yourself how empowering your mind can be. The goal of the psychical training is to show and teach yourself that no matter how much suffering you are in, you not only know you will get through it, but actually expect to do so.

If that’s not fucking being positive, I don’t know what is.

When your sense of belief system is this impenetrable, it will calm you down when you are facing a nerve racking situation or intimating foe. Like how I mentioned in your preparations skills, having a calm mind is a very desirable trait for tough minded souls. Having a cool head enables one to be positive when you are faced with an overwhelming sense of fear. I consider being fearful to be one of the worst thing that can be happen to a person.  Once you let fear take over you, it will hit you with a wave of negativity that can cripple you. I’m talking from true experience here. If you let your fear get the best of you, it can be a major setback to your growth to mental toughness development.

In all CrossFit classes, the workout of the day is written on huge whiteboard and it’s usually the first thing people see when they go to the gym. For some intimating WODs, it can cause people to literally cringe. It’s not just the gulping or raised eyebrow, but when you are an experienced CrossFitter you develop a stronger ability to sense fear in others. You get a lot of practice watching how people react and respond to fear at your typical CrossFit box. It’s most obvious when people first see what they’re up against. Go to a couple of classes and you’ll a sudden change of cheerful smiles to a look of doom when some see what’s written on the whiteboard. I’m not mocking my fellow CrossFitters because I been there, done that and I’m still dealing with it.

(To be continued)

Today’s CrossFit WOD –

6 rounds

Thrusters – 10 reps

400 meter run

This WOD was posted at my box the other day. When I saw it, I almost ran out of the place and so did the others when they took a look at this dreadful WOD. High rep thrusters combined with a 400 meter run is just wrong. I can’t imagine a tougher combination on the legs and lungs than this one.

As dishearten and unenthusiastic I was to start of this WOD, I knew without a doubt that I would finish it, if it was the last thing I ever do. There would be no way in hell, I would let all those thrusters and a run break me. That’s how strong my conviction is when it comes to finishing any of the WODs, particularly the ones that gives me the heebie-jeebies like this scary bastard.

However, as I got to the third round of the WOD, my doubts of finishing started to take over my frame of mind. I had a hard time catching my breath after the thrusters and running only added the uncomfortable feeling of extreme heart pounding. My confidence was shaken as the option of sitting out the rest of the workout became a very viable option. The thoughts and excuses were very convincing, even better than usually, as my knees were pretty shot from the combo of thrusters and pounding for 400 meter on the hard pavement. Quitting just seemed like the logical safe thing to do.

At that precise moment is when I came to. I caught myself bargaining and pleading with myself as I almost fell for the usual mind games that always happens when the suffering becomes too great. I refuse to let myself sink further with any notions of quitting as I realize that these mental dirty tricks are just part of the normal drill. I was able to regroup and focused on my form with whatever moment I was doing to drown out the negativity that was trying to get me to stop.

As bad as I was feeling, I was 100 percent positive that I would make it through. My mind continued to push me forward as I listened to the positive self-coaching that encouraged me to dig harder and just put my head down and plunge forward. The more my knees were killing me, the more I listened and trusted the inner voice that kept on urging me to fight on and surmounting over this body-aching WOD.

As you begin your quest to mental toughness, you may not be this positive in the face of massive suffering. It takes time to develop the symbiotic relationship between your thoughts and your actions. However, once you get a taste of how you can implement your thoughts into relentless behavior, you will be hooked to the power of the mind.

When this happens again and again, you will earn your conviction to be positive.

Scaled back version of this WOD –

1. You can run in place or do jumping jacks for a minute instead of the run.

2. Do only 6 reps of thrusters.

3. Do only 4 rounds total.

Acceptable alternatives –

1. You can use dumbbells or a barbell for the thrusters.

2. One minute of jump ropes or 10 burpees can be an alternative to the 400 meter run.

6 thoughts on “Mental Toughness Strategy #3 for the Workouts – Optimizing Positive Self-Talk (Part 4)”

  1. Just did the WOD about an hour ago and my breathing is finally returning to normal. Wheezing and panting like I never have in my life. Brutal WOD. Wanted to give up after round 3, but continued. Lots of positive self talk today to help me pull myself from coming unglued.

    Rough and ugly, but made a huge gain towards my mental toughness growth but staying with the fight.

    Thanks for coming up with this great session for me!

  2. Just did ten dumbbell thrusters with one minute run on the treadmill. Legs were on fire! Know I will feel it tomorrow.My will is getting stronger as the weeks go by and my butt is getting tighter as well. Started off at 178 and now at 164 in less than six weeks.

    Don’t know if it’s mental toughness or confidence, but I sure feel more assertive since beginning this program. Even my co-workers and friends have noticed my improvement with my body but I also seem a little “different” than how I used to be.

    Being a yoga and circuit training girl my whole life, I never would have thought of myself as somebody that would have ever consider doing this type of training, but it is beginning to transcend my spirit.

    Just signed up for a obstacle course run. This is also something I would have never imagined myself doing before doing these Crossfit mental workouts.

    Looking forward to the challenge!

  3. “If that’s not fucking being positive, I don’t know what is.”

    Evan – I agree with you. This line is bad ass.


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