The Number One Key for Mental Toughness (Part 1)

nowI have been on vacation visiting my family in California. Flying from Massachusetts to my parents place I had a couple of long layovers in North Carolina and Arizona. I always have on my mental toughness-radar so I was able to get a quick glimpse of the lifestyles of both states.

I didn’t like what I saw in either one.

On the positive side, the workers in the Charlotte airport were very polite and cheerful. I love the old country respectful “Thank you, sir…Have a nice day, sir” responses. You don’t hear that much in an up tight state like Massachusetts and almost never in laid-back California. However, on the down side, I would say most of these polite folks were very obese. Not only them, but also a high majority of the passengers rushing and jiggling their extra weight while walking to their departure gates.

By the time, I reached Arizona I was pretty hungry. When I travel, I always go very prepared bringing my own food of organic seeds, fruits or nuts or even do a long fast. However, I was craving some greens, so I wanted to get an easy salad for my meal. The food choices were atrocious. All that was available were your typical fast food joints like “Wendy’s”, “Panda Express” and some awful looking quick pizza stand. Even, a fat county like Charlotte had a “Jamba Juice” and a farmer’s market outlet.

I did find a salad bar, but it was probably the most pathetic salad bar in the world. Some old and welted lettuce, a couple of garbanzo beans coated with some kind of shiny varnished, canned old peas, and a couple of descent looking cherry tomatoes. That was it. Although, the choices were salad dressing were plentiful. All the kind loaded with sugar and artificial ingredients that I can’t pronounce.

So, I grabbed the four out of the 6 cherry tomatoes and munched on them with my raw almonds and Nori seed weed snacks that I had in my carry-on. Next to me was this young woman that only slightly overweight eating a whole small pizza. When she done with her pizza, she had her dessert of a small banana cake. Again, this woman was not yet fat by any means, but if she continues to eat this combination of fast food mixed in with desserts loaded with fructose, she is well on her way to metabolic syndrome and a hanging double chin.

What does all this have to do with mental toughness? It has everything to do with it.

The greatest challenge you all will have is the inner battle of instant gratification vs. delayed gratification. This is the main crux that you all will go through and the deciding factor if you are going to be a strong person or a weak one.

What the majority of people in North Carolina and Arizona displayed is lack of discipline with their impulses. Instead of controlling their desires and resisting their temptation for a later reward, they gave in to the immediate pleasure. In other words, instead of eating a healthy meal and getting the rewards down the road, they caved in and got the instant joy of eating crappy foods.

This inability to defer gratification is the major problem of the average man and not only for those who live in Arizona and North Carolina. It is a major problem that even I have to deal with everyday when it comes to not only healthy food choices, but important life decisions. The whole theory behind mental toughness training is to teach you that sometimes positive rewards are not immediate, but the payoff comes later down the roads. That may be in days, weeks or months. But, once you experience it will be exponentially greater and more powerful than the simple gratification that most people mindlessly default to.

Learning how to postpone pleasure is a must. Without this ability, you will always be vulnerable to becoming and remaining a weak-minded person.

While studying the habits and mindset of tough people, the ability to hold out on gratification is what all these people have in common. It is the common denominator that all strong and successful people have. If you want to become mentally tough, you must learn this essential skill that most people do not posses.

(To be continued)

Today’s barbell complex movement WOD  –

6 sets of 5 reps per movement.


Good mornings

Bent over rows

Upright rows

Barbell roll-outs

Drop the barbell and jump rope for one minute.

This barbell complex WOD will take a lot of self-discipline on your part.  The time under tension for this WOD is nearly 3 and ½ minute. That’s a lot of time moving a weight and then jumping rope. At some point of the WOD, you will just want to drop the bar, just quit and join your friends at the local bar while they eat crappy food and get fat.

Stay with this hypothetical, but very real scenario of you a work and its a couple of hours before you have to do a demanding WOD. You get a text from a buddy to meet you at a bar for cheap booze and fried foods during happy hours. You think about it for a second, but then decide to skip the WOD and join your friends. At the bar, really imagine yourself drinking uncontrollably and shoving greasy hor d’oeuvres down your throat. How do you think you will feel the next morning? Now take a even great leap. Imagine you are at the same bar, but its now five years later. You continue a life lacking in self-discipline. You’re stay at the same old crappy job, drive the same old beat up jalopy and haven’t been in the gym in years. The only thing that is consistent is that you continue to do what the mainstream always do – you drink way too much, eat shitty foods and too damn lazy to go workout. How do you think you will look if you continue living this conventional life that most people around you does?

If you are disgusted at yourself with this imaginary, but very possible outcome, you must do something now with your life. You must be different than those around you. You must strive to be mentally strong, making healthier choices and learn to take risk in your life.

Today, take the step and distance yourself from being mediocre in life. Do what most people can’t do.

Go to the gym and train your ass off.

Scale back version of this WOD –

1. Omit the barbell roll-outs or the jump roping.

2. Do 4 sets of 3 reps for each movement.

Acceptable alternatives –

1. You can run in place, do jumping jacks o run on the treadmill for one minute instead of the jump roping. Also, you can do 10 burpees if you don’t have a jump rope.