Workout Protocol #1 For Mental Toughness Development – CrossFit (part 2)


Some CrossFit Boxes have more women members than men.

(In Part one I talked about why CrossFit is the one of the best systems for gaining mental toughness. Part 2 continues this discussion and encourages you to join a CrossFit affiliate in your area)

So the greatest obstacle to your commitment to CrossFit is the extreme uneasiness that the WODs will bring to you. The psychological and physical torment will probably be nothing that you have ever faced before, but the rewards are exponentially greater. As bad as they make you feel, if you get through a CrossFit WOD, you will feel many times better because of it. The pain ratio is disproportionate to the massive satisfaction and gain in self-esteem, making the suffering all so tolerable. CrossFit workouts all suck to some degree, but the program is extremely flexible and can be altered so that people of any conditioning level, gender or age can participate. To me, that’s the beauty of training at a CrossFit box. Everybody gets involved and we all hurt together.

CrossFit changed my life. The day I signed up for my first CrossFit class was probably the smartest thing I’ve ever done. Before CrossFit, I was badly out shape and my mental outlook was pathetic. CrossFit got me in great shape really fast, but more importantly, it got me in touch with my will.  I would say with my 25 years plus in the fitness world, CrossFit workouts are most effective in getting somebody fit if you can handle it. From my observation, CrossFit is not for everybody. I’ve seen tons of people sign up for a year membership, take one class, then run out and never return. This is not a bad thing in my opinion. I like that our training is for those who are striving to be an elite. If it was for everybody, the training would be a lot easier, the standards would be lower and everybody would be doing it. That’s not the case. The dropout rate is high, but for those who stick it out, the rewards are immeasurable.

Again, I know I have been accused of being snooty about CrossFit and condescending towards the mainstream world of treadmills, but I’m not (I will discuss the problems I have with CrossFit in upcoming posts). We all have been there so I’m sympathetic to those who have not been exposed to alternate choices. I have yet to meet anybody that started off CrossFitting before anything else. We all have to start somewhere and sitting on a shiny chrome lat machine in a conventional gym with lousy results is usually the first place. But, for those of us who veer off the main road with the stair climber, what we discover has made us so enthusiastic that we just want to spread the word that there is another way. Once you discover the CrossFit high from this program or at your local box, you’ll make a decision about how you want to work out and personally decide that there is no other way.  

Besides attaining a stronger mindset, CrossFit is very successful with improving one’s athleticism. This is mainly because the CrossFit system is based on many fitness modalities like Olympic lifting and gymnastics. It would be impossible for me to go over the many difficult skills that a CrossFit class can cover so I eliminated a lot of the more demanding movement skills for workouts on this site. Again, at least for now. I simplified the workouts in this site with some basic movements and classic CrossFit WODs. However, don’t let the notion of “simplify” fool you. The degree of struggle will be very high for the WODs picked for this program.

For you CrossFit purists, you may be disappointed that I didn’t include some of the more technical skill movements in the upcoming WODs. I don’t blame you. You can’t call yourself a true CrossFitter if you don’t include muscle-ups or snatches somewhere in your program. However, this isn’t a “how to CrossFit” website. The purpose of this site is to teach mental toughness development to everybody at any level.  I will use a majority of CrossFit principals as well as other methods to teach these mental toughness skills. If you want extensive information on CrossFit, I highly suggest you go to their main website or join a CrossFit box in your neighborhood. You won’t regret it. Nothing can ever replace the direct instruction, firsthand knowledge and a keen eye for the subtle changes that can lead to great improvements from experienced CrossFit coaches. For me, I am very lucky to have had some of the best CrossFit coaches along my journey who helped me enormously. I can’t thank them enough.  Also, by becoming a member of a CrossFit box, you will experience the irreplaceable camaraderie and inspiration from your CrossFit brothers and sisters. This bond that you will feel with other member’s is really indescribable until you experience for yourself. If you already train at a CrossFit facility, you know what I’m talking about. However, the information on this site can still make you a better CrossFitter. You can still use the mental strategies in this site to solidify your psychological fortitude. Once you begin to tap into your mental toughness skills, I have no doubt that you will not only improve in your personal records, but you will trounce your former scores and times.

Today’s WOD:

8 sets

10 Burpees

Sprints (approximately 50 yards or so)

In yesterday’s post, I talked about positive self-talk as a require skill for those who are  mentally tough. Today’s WOD is good place for you to practice using your new positive self-coaching skills. At some point of the WOD, negative self-talk will start to slowly creep into your psyche while doing the burpees. By the third set, your negativity will begin to overwhelm you with negative thoughts to quit. I have no doubt, that early on with this WOD, your mind will be screaming all sorts of negative shit for you to stop. When this negative onslaught happens is when the true test of mental toughness begins.

Expect this to happen before you start the WOD that way you can be better prepare for it

Positive self-talk is a play of words, but just a subtle change can put whole different meaning to your thought process. Remember this training is all about how your thoughts influence your behavior so you want to have as much positive and aggressive action statements roaming around in your head. The good news is that most people repeat the same negative statements over and over like “I can’t do this” or “This is too hard.” For some sentences look for certain negative verbs in your thought patterns like “can’t”, “don’t” or “won’t” and replace with positive verbs like “must”, “can” or “will.” This method is simplistic, but quite effective especially when the high amount of burpees will cause your heart rate to pound at a rapid pace.

So before you do this WOD,  write down any self-defeating cliches that you normally say to yourself during  a challenging workout. Change these nonconstructive statements into positive one.  Anticipate these negative thoughts popping up so when you are doing this WOD, you are way prepare and ready to override them with the new encouraging statements that you wrote down. For example, If you know ahead of time that your say stuff like “I can’t go on” get ready to flip this statement to something positive like “I can go on.”  I know most of my clients say self-defeating stuff in their head like “I hate this because this hurts.”Get ready to change this statement to something positive like “I know I can handle this hurt.” 

These simple tricks will go a long way with this heavy handed burpee WOD and will help you develop your positive self-talk skills that will be greatly needed when you face more upcoming brutal WODs. But more importantly, positive self-talk is essential when you leave the gym and have to overcome your demons and adversities in your personal life.

The goal of this site is to make you a bad ass in all areas of you life. 

Now go train.

Scaled back versions for this WOD:

  1. Do less sets. 6 or 4 sets may be sufficient, depending on your conditioning level
  2. Do only  5 burpees per set
  3. Run shorter sprints (approximately 20 yards)


Appropriate substitutions for this WOD:

1. If indoors, you can jump rope or sprint on treadmill for a minute.

Again, modify the WOD to fit where you currently at with your fitness level.

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