Wednesday, January 28

Mental Preparation

Expect to see this get posted from time to time.

As we get closer to this weekend, I'd like to take a moment to bring something up so that you have the rest of the week to think about it, not to mention how you will be able to apply it to your own training day in and day out at CrossFit Spokane regardless of whether you ever decide to go to a competition. I say this because CrossFit is so much more than just going to the gym and exercising, trying to get back into shape, or lose some pounds of fat and gain some of muscle in functional ways.

Mental Preparation

"Successful [CrossFit] is not in the body, it's in the mind. You have to strengthen your mind to shut out everything - [the competition, the audience, the new surroundings]. You can [perform] as well as you believe you can. Your body can do what you will it to do. Don't think of your opponents, even in a contest. Never wish that the competition isn't as good or that they miss a movement. That's a negative attitude. Thinking like this means that you are relying on outside help...the will has got to come from me. It's all up to me."

"...the freak-outs. A result of fear of failure, the freak-out produces tension in our bodies that slow reflexes and neurological movement, which then causes our breathing to become short. Short and irregular breathing patterns cause a contraction in opposing muscle groups, which then reduces the quality of our technique and coordination. So, freak-outs due to the fear of failure ultimately create an ugly cycle that causes what we most fear...your months of training have now become meaningless. Your breathing is no longer controlled. You become broken, and your effort is destroyed...your ability to focus is gone. Break the cycle, appreciate failure and use it to make you better. If your mind has the power to make you fail, then it definitely has the power to make you succeed."

The above is a modified excerpt from Olympic Lifter Aimee Anaya in Performance Menu Journal.

True, this is aimed more towards Olympic Lifters at competitions, but the same applies to us at CrossFit Spokane (and not just for competitions among ourselves at the gym or against another CF box). This is the way each of us should be thinking as we set up for good form, take that breath, and stare straight ahead waiting for the command to go. It should be like this every time that we enter the gym...and also when we leave. The ability to have the right mindset in all areas is something that can give us unfathomable power, control and confidence over our lives.

In the gym it is the opportunity for us to improve and reach that elite fitness, to become superior beings in a normal world. With the right mental preparation you can overcome that fear to not try to go 10 pounds more on a lift, that makes you hesitate that extra two seconds to chalk up that means a 5:01 Fran instead of a 4:59. Can we hold onto that bar for another rep? Can we pull a little bit harder for the next 30 seconds of this row? Maybe we can. Maybe we can't. But we will try...even if we fall on our face. The mind can be your best friend, or your worst enemy.

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

-Theodore Roosevelt

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