(In early posts on this series, I talked about how mantras can be used to get you’re the toughest moments in the WODs and in life. There are a variety of mantras that you can use. I like ones that develop a rage in me. However, at times, I need other ones that can calm me down so I can think straight and stop my mind from swirling with anxiety. So create a wide range of mantras that you can use during moments of crises. In this post, I will some give you some creative examples of mantras that my clients came up with. As long as they are personal and meaningful, mantras can help recharge you when you are feeling your weakest.)
I have a client that uses mantras and visualization techniques in a very inventive manner. He combines mantras with future images of himself. For example, his mantra of “This pain will make me get the body I want” is combined with a positive image of him with a more lean and tight body. When he is struggling with the workout, all he has to do is to visualize the images of his improved body and repeat the mantra over and over until he finishes.
Another thing you can do is to create mantras with words that match your actions. For example, if I am going all out with a movement like push-ups or a sprint, my mantra of “I will move with great force” duplicates the action. This sort of mantra will help you get into a powerful rhythm. For me, the constant repeating of this type of mantra is very hypnotic. It almost puts me in a trance where I am deeply focused on the action of the movement and able to block out any distractions. If I’m close to finishing the WOD and my body begins to move at such a pace, it is one of the few times where I mentally withdrawn ever so slightly and can tapper down the mantra to just repeating the action words, like great force. I’ll let my body do its own thing and just enjoy the sensation of my body in motion.
This technique of just repeating words or a single word from you mantra is very effective, especially when you are closed to being out of gas during a WOD. The other day, while doing a vicious Litvinov combination of burpees and deadlifts, my heart rate was flying through the roof after each set as my whole body was shaking. If a non-CrossFitter would have seen me, they would have probably called 911 thinking that I was having a seizure. No doubt, even to experience CrossFitters , it was probably an ugly site, seeing me in the corner spazzing out while trying to get my body and breathing back in control. When I got my heart rate back to normal, my mind was still drained from the beating of the heavy deadlifts and high rep burpees. The thought of repeating my mantra of “keep moving and don’t stop” during the burpee portion of the set would have been more of a chore than a help. So I shorten the mantra to just “move.” I was determined to finish the WOD with unbroken burpees and to get through them as quickly as I fucken could. So after each burpees, I mouth the word “move” to myself. Each burpee hurt like hell, but I knew I would achieve my goal of 12 straight burpees. There was never any doubt either. My legs were shaking, but my whole body was following my mantra command of “move.”
That’s the amazing power of mantras. They give you a sense of certainty of knowing you will accomplish what you set out to do, even when you are feeling your worse. A powerful mind can always reverse a tired body. The more fatigued your body is, the more alive your mind must be. When you are at your weakest is how you learn to be at strongest.
This is how you develop strength and toughness. You must be close to quitting before you become unbeatable. This may sound like a huge contradiction, but with this training you will discover an exhausted body can always be resurrected into a wild predator in an instant with your thought patterns. Just because your body is tired, does not mean your mind is. Your mind is not depended on your body. It is your mind that dictates the action and not your body.
When you discover how powerful mantras are, you can lead your body to things that you never even dreamed you can do.
(To be continued)
Today’s Litvinov WOD
Deadlifts – 5 reps
Thrusters – 5 reps
Farmer’s walk with dumbbells – one minute
Today’s WOD is a good test for you to learn how the mind can lead the body. After the thrusters, your body is going to be talking to you. Better yet, begging at you to quit. Your legs and hands will be closed to being numb after each. At this point of the WOD, your mind must take over. You must ignore the suffering of your body and let your mind plow through the WOD.
Having a strong mantra will be crucial here. Repeat the mantra often during the WOD and your recovery time. Once the WOD becomes more intense, simplified the mantra to a couple of words or even a single word. But, whatever you do, do not give up on the mantra. Keep repeating it under your breath or silently to yourself. Focus on the words instead of the agony of the WOD. Eventually, the words of the mantra will begin to take on a life of its own. The suffering will seem less painful. Your legs will see less tired. Your grip on the dumbbells will feel more secure. Instead of wanting to quit like you felt a few minutes ago, you will discover surge of unstoppable energy where you want to crush the hell out anybody that gets in your way of your farmer’s walk. Not only do you know for sure that you will finish the WOD, you want to finish with more force and energy than when you first started the workout.
At your most weakest, you all of sudden have transform yourself to your greatest level of strength. Going from near quitting to feeling unstoppable is what this training is all about.
It’s so fucken exhilarating.
Now go experience it for yourself.
Scaled back version of this WOD –
- Do only three sets.
- Omit the thrusters.
Acceptable alternatives –
- You can use a barbell or dumbbells for the farmer’s walk.
- Jumping jacks, running in place are both good alternatives for the walk. Also, jump roping or one minute on a treadmill are fine as well.