Crushing my WOD, circa 2011
After the CrossFit Open, a competition, or a race, we celebrate our hard work. Now, take a moment here, have you also taken a moment to look at your performances? Not just the numerical performance, but how you felt during the WOD and if you could have done more? Was it a lack of physical ability or mental?
What is it exactly that allows some athletes to plow through a WOD, while others take breaks? How is it possible that work capacity differs so much and how can we get better at being able to embrace the pain?
Each athlete has a different threshold, but it’s truly that inner voice that dictates the whole mind-body reaction. Before coming to a WOD, are you thinking about your performance? Are you thinking how bad the workout is going to suck or how kick ass you’re going to be? That miniscule bit of negativity can trickle into your whole WOD. You can spend your energy fighting for every rep or waste it complaining about how much the WOD blows. Why waste more energy cursing and getting frustrated, as opposed to taking a second, and re-focusing?
Looks like the WOD CRUSHED me.
BUT WHAT ABOUT HIGH VOLUME EXERCISES/LONG WODs?
Let’s be honest, without a doubt, they are brutal. Honestly, it’s WHATEVER IT TAKES TO GET YOU TO FINISH. I try to occupy myself mentally by breaking down rep schemes or aiming to hit certain targets; or I look at a WOD and think about where exactly am I going to hit that wall, that way when I’m mid-WOD trying, I can think the hardest part is almost over; Or the ever popular “ every rep counts”. Eeking out a rep or two can often help out with movements that require very little thinking (e.g. lunges/burpees). However, for more technique based movements (e.g. pullups/HSPUs), take a few seconds to compose yourself, instead of getting the dreaded “NO REP”.
In short –
The mental toughness you gain is by your PERSONAL experience and pushing yourself through the mental challenge. Not listening to that lactic acid build up and your brain saying, just take a quick break. I think the beauty of CrossFit is that you’re constantly fighting to perform at your full potential. With repeated experiences, you become more attuned with both your mental and physical threshold and know how to push towards that red line. The more you train, the greater you can expand your threshold.