(In the last part of this series, I talked about how you must transfer what you’ve learn in the physical aspect of this training to your personal life. This training is about being mentally tough only in the gym, but with your everyday world. Whatever personnel problems you will face, you must apply the same 3 mental strategies that you used in the WODs.
The first mental strategy is preparing you to be aggressive. Like how you must gear yourself up with the WODs, you must do the same when attacking your personal problems. Come up with at least two things to do every day to get you closer to finishing a specific project. Make it a habit to do something every day. The skill that you are honing in on is taking action. Learning to doing something is always better than doing nothing or falling back on your bad habit of just wishful thinking.)
Mental Strategy #2 – You Must Make a Strong Connection with Your Will
Taking some sort of action is always a good thing, especially when you are learning how to finish things. The problem most of you have is that you procrastinate too much and don’t do the necessary work to get things done. As a result, things begin to pile up. When this happens, it makes it even harder for you to complete any project. Now when you go back and attempt to finish the task, you are met with huge obstacles that stand in your way. It’s all just one big fucken headache.
There’s just so much work to do, is not worth all the grief and mental distress. It’s much easier to just dump the whole thing and start a new project. However, it doesn’t matter if you begin a new plan with great enthusiasm and optimism, eventually you will get frustrated and get down on yourself. Instead of persevering and working through the problems, you end up shelving that idea as well. You try to convince yourself that you are just putting the project “on hold”, but that’s more denial on your part. In reality, you just quit on yourself again. This pattern of starting something and not being able to finish, has dominated your adult life and is the reason you have little to show for your accomplishments. Sadly, this is manifested in how you view yourself. This is one of the main reasons why you feel so inferior and have such a low image of yourself.
There are probably many psychological reasons on why you keep on repeating this habit of unconsciously failing at completing your tasks. I don’t have time for years of psychoanalysis on the reasons for this debilitating habit nor is my intention to harp on you for it. I want to help you overcome it with the simplest terms and accordance to your overall mental toughness training. Basically, you are having difficulties persevering because you have a weak will. Sure there are other psychological factors like fear, lack of discipline or focus, but the underlying reason to all of these instances on which you quit on yourself is your lack of will.
This is where the physical training with the WODs comes to play. One of the most important aspects of the WODs is that you are targeting on improving your connections with your will. Your will is your determination. In order get through the misery of the WODs you must have a strong relationship with your will. By engaging your will into the battle and constantly finishing the WODs, you are essentially strengthening your will. What you are learning with the physical training is that you have the capacity to consistently finish events that cause you much mental distress. By forcing yourself to stay in the fight, you are learning how to deal with obstacles and withstand discomfort during the process of finishing challenges. By learning how to fix this problem in the WODs, you can now attempt to fix the problem in your personal life as well.
In a lot of ways, the physical discomfort of your average CrossFit WOD is much easier to deal with than the emotional stress we face in life. However, when it comes down to differentiating between the suffering in the WODs or with your personal problem, your will can’t discriminate between the two. It sees the agony of your muscles searing and the agony when you are having when trying to finish a project as the same thing. Your will could give a shit if you are at work or at the gym. It only has one thing on its mind – is to push you forward so that you can overcome the adversity that you are facing.
So the next time, you are working on completing a project and your stress level hits the roof top, stay calm. Instead of looking for the easy way out or flat out just quit, continue to work with the emotional pressure. Call on your will to help you move forward. This is the same will that help push you through “Fran” and that tortuous Litvinov WODs with all those fucken burpees. As uncomfortable as you may be in dealing with all that is going wrong with your project, your will can help you stay focused and remind you that you can get through it. Unlike in the WOD where you have a certain time limit, your will is patient and is tireless as you continue to aggressively follow your plan till your finish off the project.
This ability to finish what you intend to is not going to happen overnight. But in time, you will see the connection with how aggressive you are in pursing down the WOD is slowly starting to affect how aggressive you are trying to finish your projects. When you want to give up during the WODs, your will can help you make that finial push towards the finish line. This is the same will that won’t let you quit when you are getting slammed by negative self-chatter when attempting to finish a long and challenging project.
When you start to make the connection with the strength of your will during the WODs and with how having a relentless will is improving your personal life, you are making towards the right direction with your mental toughness growth.
(To be continued)
Today’s strength day WOD –
6 sets of 2 reps
(Warm up well and do as many sets before you find the particular weight which you want to lift today for each compound movement. If you know your one rep max for each exercise, work with 90 percent today.)
Bent over rows
Hip thrust – Here’s a great tutorial on this new exercise – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCm-70-9_XE
Stay with today’s theme of engaging your will with today’s strength WOD. When you start lifting with heavy loads, even though the rep volume is low, fear will be a huge factor today. In other words, the more of a load you lift, the more likely fear will be a factor. The most important coaching cue today is to not sacrifice your form when going heavier than normal. If ever you find your form breaking down, stop the movement. Lower the weights take a break and go back to it. Always make sure you have a spotter for safety reasons.
You never ever want to force out an extra rep with form that sucks. This is a huge no-no when it comes to safety reasons particularly when you are out of your normal comfort level of tolerable weights.
Now if you are working with a load that you can handle two reps very uncomfortably, stay with this weight. It needs to be uncomfortable enough for you to engage your will to lift the weight, but not to the point that your form goes to shit.
In an extreme metcon WOD where you are near exhaustion and having a difficult time catching your breath, your mind can play tricks on you to get you to quit. When it comes to heavy training your mind can fuck with you just as well and probably worse. For example, when lifting something heavy over your head like with a push press, one mistake and that weight can come tumbling down on your head so the threat of an injury or a concussion is real.
So when fear and self-doubt arises, engage your will. Take a deep breath, visualize yourself making the lift and summons your will to give you the strength to make the lift. If your will can get your tired body to run hard after 19 minutes of a demanding WOD, it can also deliver great amounts of force that you never knew existed in you. You just have to practice honing in on this untapped source of power in your body.
When you do, expect yourself to push, pull and move heavier loads than you ever expected out of yourself.
Today’s strength WOD is just a different example of how the mind can always lead the body to do unbelievable things.
Scaled back version of this WOD –
1. Do the same rep scheme of 6 sets of 2 reps, but work at 80 percent or with a weight that you know you can handle.
2. Do only three sets for each compound movement.
2. Acceptable alternatives –
1. If push presses aren’t a part of your exercise regiment, do military presses instead.