Been doing mental toughness training for over 10 years now. You would think that the training should become automatic, but it is not. I constantly forget about important issues that are relevant to this sort of training. I have to remind myself daily of what my goals are and why I dedicated myself to this pursuit of mental strength.
Sometimes when I go to my destination place of training, I forget about why I need mental toughness training in my life. If I’m absent-minded about my purpose behind mental toughness work, I’m sure many of you do too. I know sometimes I must unconsciously suppress my reasons for this type of training so I can enjoy the freedom of exploring the WOD without the extra mental clutter in my head. Most of the time, this is a good thing. I can concentrate on working my muscles and the movements of the exercises.
This shift of focus from the mind to the body will help build my physique while focusing on technique can prevent injuries. Nothing wrong with this approach to training.This is a great change of pace from the heavy emphasis on improving the mind. However, without my knowledge of purpose in the training, there is usually something missing in the workouts. It is only physical and not cerebral. What is lost is the urgency to overcome my mental weakness. As a result, the intensity is dropped down a few notches. When this happens, I become vulnerable to a major regression where I can become mentally fragile again.
This is my biggest fear and must never happen. I work too hard to rid myself of passive behaviors and a soft mind. And I’m sure many of you are doing the same. So it is essential that all of you and I must revisit your “why” to mental toughness training. If you don’t understand what your “why” is, you won’t be able to sustain the upcoming punishment. In fact, most SEAL candidates and CrossFitters usually drop out of their training due a weak clarification of their intent. Other scientific research has shown that endurance athletes and MMA are able to tolerate high levels of suffering due to their strong understanding of their “why.” These athletes that deal with extreme pain understand the reasoning behind their brutal workouts.
So it isn’t superior genetics that explain why these athletes are able tolerate great levels of agony, it’s their clear understanding of their “why” behind their training. I may never be able to attain their power physiques, but what I can emulate after them is this pure understanding of their purpose.
I just have to remind myself of it every once in awhile.
The other day while doing a rough WOD of hill sprints, I was lagging with my legs. I was going through the motion without my usual fire to want to stomp the hell out of the WOD. When I struggle like this, a real strong pick-me-upper is usually a shot of “why I needed mental toughness in my life.” But, for some reason, I haven’t relied on this dependable motivator for while. It was like I forgotten about my need for this training.
(To be continued)
Today’s Litvinov WOD –
Heavy deadlifts – 5 reps
Barbell thrusters – 5 reps
400 meter run (approximately)
This Litvinov WOD is going to be a doozy. Out of all the WODs that I have posted on this site, this is by far the most challenging. I’ve done this deadlift/thrusters combo with the run and each time I do it, I always wonder very early in the WOD why in the hell am I putting myself through this misery. As awful as you will feel during the WOD, you will hundredfold better and more satisfying after it is over. So, this great sense of accomplishment does outweigh the extreme discomfort that is inevitable with this punishing Litvinov WOD. You just have to finish this Litvinov WOD to experience the rush of supremacy. However, before you get there, the whole experience is going to suck ass big time. My finally warning to you all.
So here is good time to practice being in the aggressive state of mind while being calm and control. During your preparation period, let your thoughts, emotions, memories stimulate you into almost being in a state of rage. If you get to the mindset that you just want to trounce somebody in the gym that looks at your wrong, pull back your thoughts. In other words, if your thoughts are boiling with emotions, let them reach a high temperature and then calm yourself down. Go into the WOD with your thoughts simmering instead of fuming. However, know that when you have to, you can access your mind immediately to be inciting with the most aggressive and raging thoughts you slightly tapped into during your prep period.
This does not mean you are going to pace yourself either. I highly suggest you go all out and sprint during the last 50 or so yards of the 400 meter run. This will ensure you keep up the integrity of making the WOD as intense as possible. By this point or half way through the second set, you should really feel the staggering effects of the Litvinov. This is the time to retrieve your emotions, thoughts, positive self-talk to get you in the highest level of aggression needed to help you defeat the onslaught of negativity and the threat of quitting that is coming in a big hurry.
For me, when I tap into this ultra level of aggressiveness in me, my mind becomes angry and becomes to take on a life of its own. Instead of telling me what to do, my mind is screaming and shouting at me with to never give up like how I use to. What surfaces in me is years of frustration and flashback of weakness that is exploding in my mind, that I can’t make it stop. The bad memories begins to encompass all my thoughts and I fucken hate it. I just can’t help myself but get pissed off at myself for giving up when I was should have fought back. By channeling in on this bent up emotion and seeing the WOD as a metaphor for my weak past, I am furious at myself for my lack of action against personal adversities. Now I am roaring back and directing my high-power emotions to finishing the WOD, no matter how bad I’m hurting. Its the only way I can make the real pain of the years of mental suffering leave my soul.
During it all, I vow to myself to always and for the rest of my life to fight back.
When I could get you all to do the same, I will have done my job.
Today it begins.
Scaled down version of this Litvinov WOD –
1. Omit the thrusters or do strict military presses instead.
2. Run 200 meters
3. Walk the 400 meters.
4. Do only 4 sets.
1. You can use a barbell or dumbbells for the thrusters
2. Run on a treadmill or jump rope for a minute over the 400m run.