Mind Over Matter Again (Part 1)

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Last month I got a PR on my front squat. You can see it HERE (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wlhyRU4138&feature=youtu.be). It was a struggle as you can see I was stuck on the ascent, but I was able to plow through it because of sheer determination. It always comes down to how bad you want something.

And I wanted 232 really freaking bad as I was training my ass off for 12 week just to get this new PR. What was interesting about the lift is that I thought I was going for 232. Since, I am a dumb ass and can’t count in kilos, I always rely on Coach Brett to add up the weights for me. The actual weight was 243 and he didn’t tell me. He tricked me into thinking it was 232, but in actually it was 243 pounds.

Nine pounds doesn’t seem like a lot of difference, but when you start pushing towards bigger weights and hitting your max, a 9 pounds difference is a fucking a lot. My coach suggested  last week that I should go for 240 or more, but the thought of hitting that big of a number just scared the shit out of me. The whole idea of hitting 243 that day was far-fetch and even inconceivable.

But, I did it without really knowing that I could do it.

Another example of how we are stronger than what we think we are. I’m sure you all have done similar things in the gym where you mistakenly picked up a twenty-five pound dumbbell that you thought was 20 pounds. Or loaded up a machine and then was shock to see that you put on more weight than you ever had before. We all have done things like this and become pleasantly surprise at how strong we really are.

What holds all of us back is our mind. The main message of mentaltoughnessguy.com from day one is teach you all that you can do more than what you think ever can. You can lift more, run faster and have more energy in the gym than you can ever imagine. The problem is that you all have cut yourselves short.

The same self–limitation can be applied in our personal life as well. When it comes to reaching our life long dreams, we can do more than we thought ever conceived in pursing our life long goals. A lot more. What is holding you back is the low expectations in your mind.

In terms of facing adversity, we can tolerate greater amounts of suffering and pain while dealing and overcoming our personal problems. If you can get yourself to believe in your resolve, you will be able to beat and defeat any obstacle in your life. Again, what is keeping you down is you don’t have faith in your ability to fight back. As a result of your weak belief system of feeling inadequate, you have the tendency to give up easily.

In order to become stronger in the gym and in your real life, you must crush the self-limits that you have put on yourself. You must make your mental capacities to work for you and not against you.

To  do this, you must make training your mind as your top priority when at the gym. Sure you are working out your legs and your biceps, but you must put your mental process to the forefront. Lifting anything heavy or scary, must come from the power of your thoughts first and not your body. The body can amazing things, we know that already. The trick is to teach your mind to lead the body. The goal of this training to to teach you how the mind and body can work hand and hand and not apart.  It begins with the physical training as you mentally force your body to get through the fatigue from a CrossFit WOD or lift heavy weights on strength days. By doing so, you slowly learn how empowering your mental thoughts and will can be. Now you must translate the same mental strength to your personal adversities.

Once you begin to see how the mind can push you through the challenging workouts and troubling times is when you begin to eliminate the self-doubts and limitations that have plague you for most of your life.

(To be continued)

Today’s strength day WOD –

6 sets of 2 reps

(Warm up well and do as many sets before you find the particular weight which you want to lift today for each compound movement. If you know your one rep max for each exercise, work with 90 percent today.)


Push press

Back squat

Bent over rows

Hip thrust – Here’s a great tutorial on this new exercise – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCm-70-9_XE

Stay with today’s theme of engaging your will with today’s strength WOD. When you start lifting with heavy loads, even though the rep volume is low, fear will be a huge factor today. In other words, the more of a load you lift, the more likely fear will be a factor. The most important coaching cue today is to not sacrifice your form when going heavier than normal. If ever you find your form breaking down, stop the movement. Lower the weights take a break and go back to it. Always make sure you have a spotter for safety reasons.

You never ever want to force out an extra rep with form that sucks. This is a huge no-no when it comes to safety reasons particularly when you are out of your normal comfort level of tolerable weights.

Now if you are working with a load that you can handle two reps very uncomfortably, stay with this weight. It needs to be uncomfortable enough for you to engage your will to lift the weight, but not to the point that your form goes to shit.

In an extreme metcon WOD where you are near exhaustion and having a difficult time catching your breath, your mind can play tricks on you to get you to quit. When it comes to heavy training your mind can fuck with you just as well and probably worse. For example, when lifting something heavy over your head like with a push press, one mistake and that weight can come tumbling down on your head so the threat of an injury or a concussion is real.

So when fear and self-doubt arises, engage your will. Take a deep breath, visualize yourself making the lift and summons your will to give you the strength to make the lift. If your will can get your tired body to run hard after 19 minutes of a demanding WOD, it can also deliver great amounts of force that you never knew existed in you. You just have to practice honing in on this untapped source of power in your body.

When you do, expect yourself to push, pull and move heavier loads than you ever expected out of yourself.

Today’s strength WOD is just a different example of how the mind can always lead the body to do unbelievable things.

Scaled back version of this WOD –

1. Do the same rep scheme of 6 sets of 2 reps, but work at 80 percent or with a weight that you know you can handle.

2. Do only three sets for each compound movement.

2. Acceptable alternatives –

1. If push presses aren’t a part of your exercise regiment, do military presses instead.