Coming off of Coach Chris’s newsletter last month about focusing on personal practice and training and as we find ourselves at the start of the 2018 CrossFit Open, I think a discussion about mindset is important. Mindset can have an incredible influence on performance, yet it’s something that, as athletes, we often overlook. There’s immense value in setting an intention; at the start of your day, leading up to a tough work meeting, or before a daunting Open workout.
“Before every workout, you need to prepare yourself for how bad it’s going to hurt when you get to that sticking point. If you don’t what’s going to happen is the brain is going to go, ‘We’re in trouble and to protect you, I’m going to shut you down.” -Chris Hinshaw, CrossFit Aerobic Capacity Expert.
Regardless of your CrossFit experience, you know that during each workout, you will reach your personal sticking point. Your heart rate is through the roof, you’re gasping for air and your muscles are screaming. You think to yourself, “why am I doing this? Am I crazy?!” (yes, I like to think we all are a little crazy- the good kind, of course- to do what we do for fun) There’s one constant in every Crossfit WOD: It’s going to suck and hurt and you’re going to want to quit. Yet somehow, we often find ourselves reaching that sticking point in a state of shock, almost surprised to be there, yet again. These workouts challenge everyone, even the best athletes in the world, so don’t be shocked when it hurts. Anticipate difficulty and also visualize yourself working through that sticking point. Taking a few seconds before each workout to mentally prepare for that point reinforces our ability for positive self-talk when things get really hard. I can vouch for the significance of this simple practice. I’m someone who has to employ positive self-talk before and during workouts; when I don’t, you can find me out on the gym floor, hunched over, shaking my head in utter defeat. On the flipside, when I anticipate the suck or a setback and tell myself I’ll get through it, I’m able to lift my head, steady my breath and continue on when those things inevitably rear their ugly heads midworkout. We will nearly always fail mentally before we fail physically.
If you’ve never done the Open before, holy moly, are you in for a treat. It’s a whole different energy than a typical class and I guarantee you that you’ll do something you didn’t think possible of yourself. I can also tell you that there’s no worse feeling than leaving the gym on such an eventful night feeling like you didn’t perform your best or you had more to give. And if you’re feeling that you could have given more after a workout, it’s because you could have; you got in your own way and your mentality is likely the main culprit. If, at the end of each Friday Night Lights, you haven’t enjoyed yourself, then it’s time to reevaluate your mindset. Visualize yourself doing YOUR absolute best in the workout, embracing the suck, and feeling an incredible sense of support and camaraderie from the Stealth community.
Give it your all and have fun!