What I Forget About During the Training (Part 2)

friendly-reminderI was really struggling with the hill sprint. My legs were like mush and my mind seemed to be else where. I just did 3 and had 3 more to do.

As, I started my fourth set, I seemed to be regressing in my speed even more. But, in a quick instance like how people see their life flash in front of them before they are going to die, I saw the several reasons why I needed resilience training in my life. In other words, the movie projector in my head flashed memories of me when I was at my most weakest mentally.

I was so pathetic to say the least. It still hurts when I reflect on these painful and embarrassing moments of my manhood. In a matter of a seconds, my “why” became crystal clear to me again.

I bull rushed to the top of the hill and for the next 3 sprints.

I finished the WOD elated but a bit pissed off at myself. I thought I reached my pinnacle of toughness with ten long years of busting my ass, but the realization hit me hard.

I was no where close to my final destination of mental toughness training. As long as I lose touch of my objectives with my intent, I will always be vulnerable to a major slip up and return back to my old habits of living life in fear and be a passive pushover.

To avoid this mental collapsed, I must make it a top priority to strength my visits to my purpose for this training. Here are three simple strategies that I’ve been doing and that you all can do as well.

1) Write your “why” down in your journal –

Writing down your purpose will solidfy your mental toughness goals. When we journal and free-write, all kinds of emotional shit will come out. Let it surface. Mental toughness training is all about using repressed emotions and shame to your advantage.

I’m going to assume many of you are on this site not because life has been great to you, but more because your world royally sucks right now. That’s OK. That’s how I started and why I’m doing all I can to erode my past weak behaviors so I will never be mentally weak again.

So set as aside only 5 minutes per day and free write your needs to this type of self-improvement. The more specific and personal you get, the more powerful your “why” becomes.

2) Set up reminders –

My favorite tough guy of all time is Dan Gable. While training for the Olympics, Dan used to write his goals down on index cards and would review them through the day. When he waiting in line at the bank or had extra time between college classes, he would pull out his index cards and go over his daily goals.

I do something similar. I don’t write down all my reasons for this training because I don’t want any of my friends to see them, but instead I just write down the word “why” on a index card and place it in my gym bag. The word “why” by itself is very stimulating for me. That’s all I need to remind myself of what I have to do in the gym today to mentally grow.  This is a simple, yet sure fire-way to get my frame of mind immerse in my objectives.

I have clients write “What is your “why” on post’em stickers and place them on their mirror, laptop and car dashboard. Again, none of them write down their private reasons – it’s just damn personal and nobody’s business but your own. However, if writing down your reasons on index cards, go for it. Do what ever works to help you stay focus.

The point is – you can never, ever assume that you will remember what your purpose is to the training. Having simple reminders is a good strategy to use.

3) Ask yourself these questions during your warm-up – I know some of you hate warming up and your ideal of getting ready to train is stopping off at Starbucks and ordering a sugar drink. What ever you do in your pre-training practice, get in the habit of asking yourself reflective questions. Not only will they get you in an aggressive mood to attack the WOD or personal obstacles, reflective questions will give you that extra edge that you will need when you feel like quitting.

Some good confronting self-examing questions about my “why” that I used are – “Why is mental training important to me?” “What can happen to me, if I stop doing mental toughness training?” “What do I expect to get out of mental toughness training?”

My responses are usually very specific and emotional. I don’t need a lot of thinking or reflecting time to come up with answers swirling around in my head. Neither should any of you too. If you can’t come up with personal answers to these questions, this training isn’t right for you.

Join “Planet Fat-ness” instead.

So, the take home message is don’t take this training for granted. Even, mental toughness veterans like myself forget what and why we put ourselves through this misery. It’s definitely not because I’m a masochist, although I have been accused of this label several times in my life.

If ever your training seems to be lagging in intensity or focused, it may because you are out of touch with your intent. Refer back to in times of need. Once you do, I have no doubt you’ll plow through your hill, WOD or CrossFit competition with fierce desire.

Remember the overall goal of this site is not for you to be only unstoppable in the gym, but in your personal life. Let the physical training help you find your purpose in the gym, so you can live and be passionate about your purpose in life.

Now go explore your “why” and get ready to attack.

Today’s WOD:

10 burpees

10 hill sprints

Before you start today’s WOD, spend some alone time so you can reflect. It can be on your drive to the workout, during your mobility work or just sitting under a tree. Grill yourself with this basic question that you will ask yourself often during the training – “Why do I need to be mentally tough?” When I first started my mental toughness training, my strong purpose was because I was tired of being pushed around from people. Although this purpose changed slightly over the years as I found different nuances from it, this theme was pretty much the same for me. During the preparation process, it would only take a few minutes for me to ask my questions of purpose and needs and I was more than ready to deliver aggressive action against the WOD.

So today, let whatever emotions, feelings or memories rise up. Some of the responses may be painful, but try your best not to censor them. As long as they are honest and real, they can be implemented and used for ammunition for the upcoming WOD. You want to go into the WOD with as much motivation as possible because burpees and hill sprints are evil by themselves so the combination of them together is just a wretched experience. If you are unclear with your purpose and need, you won’t make it past the first two rounds. That’s how hard this WOD is.

Once you have stimulated yourself with these self-empowering questions and feel that your now in an aggressive state of mind where you are ready to battle, begin the WOD. Just be careful that don’t go full-blast at the first couple of rounds. You don’t want to start the workout like a screaming madman either. If so, you will burn out and won’t be able to finish the WOD. Nor do you want to pace yourself either and save your energy for the end. Being aggressive is a balancing act. With practice, you will find the medium. The important thing here is that you must always have aggressive thoughts roaming around in your head. When needed, you can apply as much action as needed from your aggressive mind set.

Trust me, with this WOD, there will be many moments where you will think that you can’t go on. When the treat of quitting becomes real, you must refer back to your needs and purpose. You must see how getting through the WOD will help you achieve your purpose and needs to be mentally tough. For example, for me when I felt like I was about to give up during the WOD, I would change my purpose statement of “I am tired of being pushed around from people” to “Getting through this WOD will stop others from pushing me around.”  I have a client whose purpose was “I am sick of living in fear.’ For her, whenever she was trouble in the WOD, she changed her purpose statement to “Finishing this WOD and I won’t live my life in fear anymore.” By putting on your attention of how the WOD can help you attain your purpose and needs, you will able to endure the physical and mental punishment.

So in conclusion, you want to get in touch with your purpose and needs to becoming mentally tougher during your preparation period. By doing so, you will be motivated to become aggressive during the WOD. However, once you start you don’t want to forget about them either. You will refer to your purpose and needs several times during the WOD, especially when you are most vulnerable.

So ask yourself the hard questions before the WOD today. Let your feeling and thoughts simmer with you. When you are ready, go to it.

Destroy and annihilate your weak past.

Scaled back versions of this WOD

1. Do only 6 reps of burpees

2. Walk up the hill instead of sprinting

3. Do only 4 sets

Acceptable alternatives

1. You can run on the treadmill at the highest incline for 30 seconds.