The Problem with Traditional Mental Toughness Training (Part 2)

charlie sheen self help book_width_640x (1) (In part 1 of this blog, I discussed what the hell is wrong with mental toughness training for professional athlete and the layman. What really bugs me with mental toughness material aimed at the masses is the overused and misleading use of the word “winner.” I don’t like the word for its simplicity and prefer the term “fighter” for those of who participate with mental toughness training).

Whenever I want a good laugh, I usually like to browse through the self-help section of any bookstore and to see what new stuff they have on mental toughness development for the masses.After a few minutes, I’m relieved that nobody has stolen my method on mental toughness training and beat me to the punch of being on the NY Times best seller’s list. Seriously without being cocky, whenever I scan through these “how to” books on mental improvements, I am reassured that the workouts and mental strategies on this site will get you mentally stronger and get you in the best shape of your life.

As I flip through the pages of these so called “how to be a winner” books, none of them, absolutely none of these books have any physical training as part of their mental toughness development. The extent of doing anything physical with most of these books is the simple act of picking up a pencil and jolting down suggested notes. And of course, all these books include chapters dedicated to visualization yourself on becoming a winner while telling yourself a thousand times a day that you’re not a loser. Just the same pop psychology feel-good stuff that ain’t going to work.

The main problem with all these self-improvement books is that they are written by shrinks  who are stuck in their head and probably never do work out. Most of them are mental whacked jobs themselves and don’t see the connection with the mind and the body. Their solutions are just way too cerebral. I have yet to see any exercise component to any of these self-help books design to make you into a “winner” designed by these loser experts. To free yourself from your mental neurosis, you got to get out of the head and get the body involved. Mental toughness training must be expressed through the body. It is a theme that I will say over and over with this site, but you have to go through some very brutal physical training to get mentally tougher. By doing so, you will learn to activate your mind to push your body to do things that you never though was possible. If you are late mental toughness bloomer in life, there is no other systematic way.

Again, the problem lies in the lack of resources that is out there for the mainstream. When you sign up with a personal trainer at your local commercial gym, I highly doubt that he or she is qualified to teach or even add a tiny aspect of mental toughness training as part of your new workout protocol. Even with my 7 years involvement CrossFit, I never heard any of my wonderful CrossFit instructors teach strategies on how to achieve mental toughness. It is assume that one will attain mental toughness automatically if they go through the program and come out of it in one piece, they will become mentally stronger. This is the basic concept behind all mental toughness development. But, what CrossFit is missing is specific strategies to teach their newbies and experienced CrossFitters on how to engage the mind to combat. Like for those who succeeded in SEAL training, one eventually learns that is up to the mind to finish a WOD no matter how dead tired you are. It took me nearly a year to figure this out during my beginning CrossFit roots. And when I did, I excelled with my CrossFit training and with my personal life.

So for those who are new to CrossFit, competitor CrossFit, SEAL candidates or any military or all law enforcement hopefuls, MMA fighters, professional athletes, or anybody that needs improve on their skills to overcome adversity, there is a faster and more effective method to discover how the mind and body can be meshed into one unstoppable weapon. These mental toughness strategies and others will be explored throughout this site on how one can become better at overcoming obstacles.

The first thing you all must do is to shift your priorities. Most of you all go to the gym to lose weight or gain muscle. The number one priority of the masses when they go workout is to improve their body. Nothing is wrong with vanity reasons that drive people to do some work. However, what the masses is doing by focusing on the body, isn’t really working as the majority are struggling at improving their body composition. Nor are conventional workouts doing a lick in getting people mentally stronger.

To get mentally tougher, you must do the opposite of what the masses is failing at. Instead of focusing on our body, you must put all your attention to your mind. Your number one priority must be to improve your mind. Go into every WOD with the sole purpose of getting mentally stronger as a result of getting through the hard work. The WODs will get you to lose weight or build your body muscles, but getting a harder body is low on the priority list for now. Your only concern is only about getting mentally tougher, so everything you do must come to this central theme. Here are some sample thought patterns to help you redirect what you are doing back to the mind: These final reps of deadlifting will make me mentally stronger…When I finish this last sprint I will be mentally stronger than ever…all these pull-ups is  not about making me having a big back, but getting me mentally stronger so I can do anything….this hurt I’m feeling is what I must get through so I can get mentally stronger…this WOD is killing me, but I won’t give into it. I will plow through it with my mind and become mentally stronger…

From these example thought patterns, you must learn to bring your thoughts to the foreground during the WOD. You must teach yourself to think relentless and aggressive thoughts when facing those pivotal moments of being tempted to quit. In every workout in this mental toughness program, there will be those decisive moments where you are too tired to go on. You either quit or continue to stay in the fight. If you go on, you will get mentally stronger. If you quit, you will regress. A mind that is proactive and a bit pissed off, is the best assurance against quitting. This mental toughness program is all about getting you to this point and staying there until you metaphorically have your foot on your enemy’s neck. What that happens, you don’t for one second hesitate to end the adversity in the most emphatic manner possible. This state of aggressiveness in the face of adversity will come when all of your emphasis is on improving your mental capacities over everything else.Your number one priority must be to strengthen the mind. When this happens, everything else will follow.

(End of part 2)

For today’s WOD, put this idea of improving your mind as your number one goal today. Sure, this conditioned WOD will get you into single digits, but that’s not reason why are doing the workout. It is all about becoming mentally tougher in this workout, the next one and ones that are coming up. If you can shift your priorities of  getting mental strength over physical aesthetics, you will make huge developments in your abilities to get over any bad situation or pricks that try to hinder you from reaching the success that you deserve in life.

8 sets:

5 pull-ups

15 push-ups

Approximately 20 yard Spiderman crawl sprints

Notes – If you don’t have room to do the Spiderman crawls, jump rope for a minute instead.



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