A former colleague of mine shared an article this morning on Facebook that I found particularly interesting. It was called: “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do”. Of course, I read the article, and when it was over I kept considering how it applied to what we do at the gym.
So often we stress the physical aspects at the gym and neglect the mental. However, the mental aspect of CrossFit needs to considered regularly. Our mind can often be the determining factor between bad, good, or even great workouts and/or results. For that same reason, I took it upon myself to paraphrase and adapt Amy Morin’s original post for CrossFit. Here are “10 Things Mentally Strong CrossFitter’s Don’t Do”:
Don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself: Miss a PR? Have a bad WOD? Do not dwell on the disappointment. Instead, try to understand the event in question better, so that it can be avoided in the future.
Don’t give away your power: Do not allow your coaches and/or other athletes to diminish your confidence. Understand and own your abilities and your attitude. Only you have true control over both.
Don’t be afraid of change: Struggling with a new movement? Intrigued by a new weightlifting approach? Embrace the new opportunities within the sport itself and believe in your ability to adapt.
Don’t waste energy on things out of your control: Consider the following example: Shorter individuals usually dislike movements such as Wall Balls, rowing, and running. Taller individuals sometimes agonize over Handstand Push Ups, Snatch, Toes-to-Bar, and Burpees (Okay… pretty much everyone dislikes Burpees.) For 99% of us (CrossFit Kids excluded, of course) at the gym our height is out of our control. As a result, the only thing these athletes need to control is their attitude and how they approach those movements that may be out of their wheelhouse.
Don’t be afraid of taking calculated risks: If your previous Clean PR was the same weight you just Hang Power Cleaned three times, chances are you are in for a new Clean personal record. Do not be afraid to take calculated risks based off of improvements in other transferable lifts and movements. (That said, don’t just throw on an extra 50# onto your Deadlift bar just because your previous PR was two months ago. Be smart, people.)
Don’t make the same mistakes over and over: Talk to your coaches, talk to other athletes, watch videos, and read articles to try and minimize mistakes. Figure out how to remedy the ailment so that you are able to better yourself and move on.
Don’t resent other people’s success: Most people at the gym have one or more persons that they compete with on a regular basis to gauge their own performance. Friendly competition is great and encouraged because it can yield higher performance and amazing results; however, resenting your peer’s accomplishments will only lead you to feel down with your own results. Recognize that progress comes with hard work and be willing to work hard for your own chance at success.
Don’t give up after the first failure: More often than not, we learn more from our failures than our achievements. As a result, see failure as an opportunity for growth, and keep trying until you get it right.
Don’t feel the world owes you anything: Whether you are a former couch potato or a former athlete, don’t feel entitled to results. In many cases, your success is directly related to how hard you are willing to work for it.
Don’t expect immediate results: There is no magic pill for good health. Strength, power, endurance, and the like all take time and effort to develop and maintain. Understand that real change and progress will not happen overnight.
It takes a mentally strong person to CrossFit. The regimen is hard; however, by controlling your attitude and your approach to those difficulties, you give yourself the best chance at success. The point every day you come into the gym is to be better than you were the day before – let your mental game reflect that and now go kill a WOD.