(In part 1 of this post, I discussed my obsession with the brutal training of the navy SEALS and how a strong will is the most important factor in determining if one makes it through the training or quits)
One of the major similarities between CrossFit training and SEAL development is that they both push you to the limit and test your tolerance to pain.However, the navy academy pushes the envelope even further with round the clock training, more anxiety ridden drown proof drills, and constant exposure to extreme cold ocean water. You can have the biggest muscles and be in great shape, but eventually your body will break down from all these physical tasks which are actually what their drill sergeant is trying to do. The sole purpose of this systematic torment is to wear down the officer candidates’ body out completely so that can learn to rely on their mind to push them forward. When an officer candidate successfully learns to tap into the unlimited source of strength from the mind is when it all begins. This is the evolution and beginnings of a SEAL officer.
As strong as the body is, it does not measure up to a powerful mind. This shift from the dependence of the body to the mind is the whole point of all this hazing for the young SEAL. And the only way to do this is the same mental toughness concept that will be repeated often on this site – you have to go through some miserable shit to get it. By engaging the mind, the future SEALs learns that they have the ability to withstand great suffering and that they can overcome any adversity. In order to do this, they must learn to put their thoughts to the forefront during some brutal drills that are way beyond the layman’s comprehension.
I’m sure many of you are like me, you respect the hell out of those who are SEALs, but have no desires to every put yourself through near drowning proof drills. Even the thought of being hogtied underwater makes me panic. Still, that doesn’t mean us civilians can’t take aspects of their SEAL training and apply it to our mental toughness development. If you do the CrossFit and high intensity workouts on this site, you will experience very quickly how the WODs will push you to extreme exhaustion. When this happens, you must make the connection with how the mind can lead the body to go on. In order to do this, your thinking process must be filled with action provoking thoughts when you are feeling the most weakest. Only with an aggressive mindset can one fight off any urges of quitting.
By understanding this purpose behind the intensity with my CrossFit training of pushing me to the point of near collapsing, I no longer fought it, but welcome it. Whenever I was at the point where my body couldn’t go it, is when my mind would take over. My mind would take the lead and always pushed me through the work, no matter how much I was hurting. Instead of hating the pain from CrossFit, I began to embrace it. Only by working through the suffering with my thought process was the only way I could become tougher. By buying into the concept of there being magic in the misery, only motivated me more to overcome the great pain and fatigue that the WODs were doing to me. As a result, I learn to love the training and felt an enormous rush of joy after each training session.
When you understand this basic concept SEAL concept of purposely wearing out the body so that the mind can take over, you will take huge steps in your mental toughness process. Only when you are barely able to stand up straight with your muscles shaking and heart race pounding is how you teach yourself that the mind can always lead the body. This is how you learn how resourceful and powerful your thoughts can have over everything you can do.
This training will not only make you tougher, but show you, how much you have been limiting yourself with in the past with your negative thought process of years and years of telling yourself what you can’t do. Mental toughness training is about liberating yourself and freeing yourself from all those voice of your enemies that continued to control you life. But, with this training you will shut them up for good.
So with today’s WOD, really put your thought patterns in the foreground even before the hurting arrives. Be prepared and anticipate the pain before it comes up. When your body is on shaky grounds, really focus on your though patterns with aggressive and positive self-talk to help encourage you and motivate you through the struggle.
And when you are done with the WOD, acknowledge and give all the credit to your mind for helping you stay and win the fight.
Enough with the talking. Go do it.
Today’s mental toughness WOD:
Half a mile run (approximately)
50 pull ups
Half a mile run (approximately)
Today’s WOD is a classic CrossFit hero workout named after one of the baddest SEALs ever – LT Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, who was killed in Afghanistan June 28th, 2005. You are only doing half the reps today, but Murph will still teach you how to activate your mental thought process when you are in most trouble and want to quit the WOD.
If you are already a CrossFiiter or in good shape, take the challenge and do the complete Murph WOD:
Run one mile
100 pull ups
200 push ups
300 hundred squat
Run another mile
Write down the time it took for you to finish the WOD so you can try to beat it the next time. “Murph” is a common standard in my mental toughness handbook, so get used to doing it over and over again.