Mental Toughness Strategy #3 for the Workouts – The Power of Mantras (Part 2)

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(In the part one of this series on using mantras, I introduced how powerful mantras are to this training.  Mantras are relatively easy to use. You repeat personal statements that have special meaning in order provoke you into action.  The controversy here is that sometime I advocate using mantras that arouse some anger in you. I call it controlled anger. You never want to be so riled up that you are out of control and let your emotions get the best of you.  Being so pumped up to the point that you wear yourself out or lose your focus has nothing to do with being mentally tough. That’s just being self-absorbed. The anger I’m talking about is controlling your “rage.” By knowing just how much emotion to evoke, but more importantly, when the right time to use is anger takes practice. Working with your rage is a skill in itself. However, when harnessed appropriately, it can be strong mental tool that enables you to be almost unstoppable in your purse to overcome adversity.)

When your rage is flowing, you must be stay within rational boundaries. So a calm and focused mind is a must.  If you can do this, you can tap into a powerful source of energy. Learning mental toughness is that it will teach you how to work through your anger issues.

One of my most potent mantras is “I refused to be pushed around.” When I repeat this mantra, I always am able to jump-start my energy no matter how exhausted I am at during a WOD. This mantra causes my mind to be fuming with past memories of being belittled. In an instant, these few words are all I need for my body to regenerate.  This mantra has so much personal meaning to me, I can’t count the numerous times it saved me from letting a WOD bury me. Once you experience how formidable mantras are, they can become a strong driving force for both your training and your personal life. Instead of feeling bitter, mantras make you feel alive and strong. They provide you with relentless energy. What should have destroyed you now has you burning with desire. It is this passion that you must possess in order to make it through this program and life.

The cathartic nature of this mental toughness program is its beauty. The anger that I feel when I repeat certain mantras never goes away completely, but they seem to recede once I am done whipping the WOD’s ass. I love the feeling of accomplishment so much that I am able to let go of the hate. If you choose to work with any anger that you have bottled up inside of you, I am confident you can shut if off once the WOD is done. The feeling of finishing a WOD is just too damn gratifying. If you still are in an angry state after a successful training session, discard the mantra. But don’t give up on the whole idea of training in a raging state. It is a source of mystical strength that can’t be measured, but when and if needed, channeling the rage can be an empowering resource.

You just have to learn how much anger to tap into so your emotions can lead you to a constructive action. Remember the challenge of the workouts in this program doesn’t start until the point you want to quit. Only when you have reached the throes of your suffering and can’t take any more pain does the real toughness training begin. When the near breaking point happens, you’ll need something to mentally juice you up. Many times the demands of the training were close to shattering my combat spirit, but my mantras helped me to follow through. When this happens, there is no art to finishing a brutal training session. It is about your desire. Repeating mantras will help you refocus your aspirations and make them more concrete.

Another mantra that always has me seeing red and raises my energy level is “I am tired of being disrespected.” When I think of giving in and letting myself get bullied without having the courage to put up a fight, I don’t feel a sense of shame like I used to. Instead, I now get riled up and adrenalized. Before, I would be filled with self-hatred at how gutless I was, but now with my new founded toughness, my past fires me up to no end. When I get into this mental state, I am so enraged with desire to rewrite my history that I would sell my soul to the devil if I could go back in time and get a chance to confront my former oppressors. These powerful emotions are not wasted and are now used to catapult me when I desperately need a hard burst of energy to push through a heavy workout. I’ve used this mantra for over 5 years now and it’s as revitalizing as when I first used it and shows no sign of losing its strength for me.

(To be continued)

Today’s WOD –

6 rounds

10 Overhead squats

15 burpees

Before you begin this WOD, come up with a couple of mantras that have special meaning to you. The more personal they are the better. If they piss you off to the point that you want to scream or punch somebody in the stomach, that’s even better. All that means is that you have some vent up emotion stuck inside of you.  This repressed emotion is probably directed internally towards yourself and in many ways causing more pain than good.  If you don’t work through this anger, it will continue to do damage to your psyche. I’m not trying to act like your shrink as all this is all based on psychology 101.

Today you have a choice. Either you continue let it eat up at you or you can learn how to use the past pain to make you a stronger person.  So spend some time investigating your memories and let whatever feeling come up. Instead of pain, re-shift your mind set and see these former situations as potential sources of unrelenting power.  Now come up with a couple of short mantra statements that represent these emotions. Pick one that really provoke your fighter’s spirit today.

You will need all extra fire power today when doing the WOD. The combination of overhead squatting and a shit load of burpees will get your stomach turning and heart racing to point of feeling scary uncomfortable. It will feel so bad that quitting seems like the logical thing to keep you from near dying. But, that’s just your weak side trying to convince you to give up. You can always go on, no matter how fatigue you think you are.

When you to the point of this WOD where you feel like you think you had enough is when you must call upon your strongest resources – the power of your personal mantra. When the burning of your legs becomes near unbearable counter the pain by repeating your mantra. When the thought of doing another burpee seems fucking impossible, say your mantra over and over till it motivates you continue the fight.

Ever since I incorporated mantras with my training and in personal life, they have save me from quitting on myself many times over. With today’s WOD, you will experience for yourself just how potent mantras are.

Once you do, get ready to feel unstoppable.

Scaled back version of this WOD-

  1. You can do back, front or air squats instead of the overhead ones.
  2. Drop the rep count of the burpees to 10, 8, 6 or four.

Acceptable alternatives –

  1. You can do 30 seconds of running in place, jumping jacks instead of the burpees.
  2. Running on a treadmill or jumping rope for a minute are acceptable alternatives to burpees.

2 thoughts on “Mental Toughness Strategy #3 for the Workouts – The Power of Mantras (Part 2)”

  1. Not sure If this is a female thing, but I don’t know if working with rage is good thing. It just seems that hate is never a good emotion to work with. For me, I never delved into my rage before. I tend to train with intense focus and goal seeking instead of this “controlled” anger that Jackson suggest.

  2. I do agree with you, Lisa, It is a female issue. I know for me, when the intensity gets so great and I feel weak, I am learning to turn on that switch to get me into that rage mode. At the beginning of this training, it was very difficult for me to feel anger and even hate while working out. However, I now I am more comfortable with working with and through the rage. What really helped me get into this mode of thinking as that after the WOD is over, I don’t feel at all anger. In fact, I feel the opposite – quite serene.

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