Recently reading an article in which a CrossFit Games athlete was interviewed, he gave some tips on being more mentally strong throughout workouts. It got me thinking on how I mentally take on workouts and how I can mentally become better to push through those challenging WODs. A couple of really big points stuck out to me and I wanted to share my take on them, so that you could carry them in with you to the next few workouts.
The first big point was not wishing it were easier, but rather, go the extra mile and make yourself better. (I'm breaking this segment up into two parts)... We've all done it; we see that dreaded workout where it's just not YOUR type of workout. Those two or three movements that you hate see coming up and you think to yourself, "why did I even come today?" Then we start planning in our heads ways we can cut corners or make that part of the workout easier so you can power through the rest of it. Instead, seize that opportunity to turn those movements from weaknesses into strengths. 1) Make yourself better. Instead of doing the prescribed weight, go lighter and practice the movement. Scale the number of reps back and work on the stimulus of the workout if that many number of reps is going to hinder that stimulus. For example, burpees... if 20 burpees a round is going to keep you from completing a workout in the the 10 minute suggested time, scale that number back to 10 burpees and focus on the quality of the movement. Personally, I need to work on my kettlebell swing efficiency. So for a workout that calls for a ton of kettlebell swings at a heavy weight, I need to take a step back, work on the movement to get myself better for a ton of kettlebell swings at a heavy weight. 2) Going the extra mile. With those movements were not good at, stay after class for five or ten minutes and do more. If it's an AMRAP, after class, finish that last round. You're only going to get better by doing and doing more!
The second point I took away from the article was small goals equal big goals. Whether it's getting your first pull-up or completing 30 clean and jerks in a workout, break goals up into manageable pieces. If you're working on your first pull-up, start with creating a goal of 10 unbroken difficult ring rows, then 10 unbroken seated pull-ups, then 5 negative pull-ups, etc. to get you to that pull-up. If you're working on 30 clean and jerks, tell yourself "start with ten." After that ten, do five, and then five more. All of a sudden you're at twenty. Then do three, and three more, two, and two... KAZAM you're done!
The third point and final major point I wanted to address was analyzing your workout. No, I'm not talking about sitting down and watching film like an NFL team, rather, asking yourself a few questions:
Did I achieve what I set out to achieve? If not, where could I have done better?
Could I have pushed harder?
Should I have backed off?
What can I learn from this?
With that analysis, don't overthink it. Not everyday is going to feel great, and that's ok. Some days are better than others. Take what you can from that workout and apply it to your next one, and overtime, you might find that the better ones will outweigh the not so great ones.