As of this date, this is the most common expression one has expressed after finishing their workout. . .
Give me more weight. . .
I can move it.
Give me more distance . . .
I can make it.
Give me more work. . .
I can do it.
Mental toughness is just as important as technique when it comes to CrossFit. Interestingly enough, when we push our bodies to a certain extent, it is our minds that scream for us to stop. When it comes to weight, it is more so our minds that first play games with us to say that there is too much weight on the bar.
Part of this anxiety and fear that builds up in you was developed through an overwhelming sense that feats of strength were reserved for the big guys that grunt at the gym. Get over it, that myth was dispelled way before MythBusters came out.
Women and men alike grunt, groan, and fart when they lift, get over it. A nice little laugh may be had, but in the end, a goal needs to be accomplished regardless of what others may think.
Now, back to mental toughness. The military utilizes certain techniques to mentally break down individuals, not to do them a disservice, but to create discipline in those who need that facet to their lives. And they do one hell of a job in a very short amount of time. They create a seriousness out of stress, in very simple aspects of one's life, like making a bed, cleaning a room, pressing your clothes, and conforming to certain hygiene standards on a daily basis (like constantly being clean-shaven). Things that are sometimes taken from granted dependent on how you may have been raised.
But back to the point. CrossFit creates mental toughness, as does Olympic Lifting (can you clean & jerk 300 lbs +), Gymnastics (Iron Cross anyone?), and anything else that you set your mind to. On the path of fitness, we develop a armor of sorts. We wear this mental armor - encompassed by it's tightness around our bodies, and it is a living breathing thing. It is what protects us when things start to get a little more than difficult. At times this armor can be broken down, only to be rebuilt stronger - any tears or holes that may have occurred because of an awkward situation, fear of the unknown, or stress in general get repaired through encouragement, perseverance, and mental fortitude.
Notice that we have not mentioned optimism, even though it is a positive tool (no pun intended), I liken the CrossFit culture to realism. The reality that things can be achieved not overnight, but in time, aka patience. Or with teamwork - dependent on what you are doing. Through strategy - cause not everything is a balls to the wall race, some are dependent on your strengths and weaknesses. Through being prepared - working technique time and time again.
This topic came about because someone working out last night stated, "And why do we pay for this again?" as he sauntered out the bay door. It brought a couple of laughs from folks who have been doing this for awhile.
My own two cents on the subject:
You have started to change. Your thoughts, your ideas, your opinions - changed, at least for a while and always everlasting. You can see things a little differently, you can try new things, you are not held back by a prison of thoughts that were your own. Your frame of reference was skewed based on past accomplishments, not potential of what you could accomplish, therefore you couldn't see exactly what you are capable of. For some reason, you are trying new things, you are letting go of inhibitions that kept you chained to a wooden stool.
So, what new challenge awaits you?
- Coach Tony