5 Psychological Tricks to Help You Crush Tough CrossFit Workouts


Don’t be scared to fail. First, remind yourself of the reason why you are doing CrossFit. Maybe it’s because you like the people there, want to get fitter or maybe you need it to counter depression and the stress you have in your life.

Whatever your individual reason, all CrossFitters are united by the fact that we want to become better versions of ourselves.

To accomplish this you have to push yourself to your limits and then exceed those limits during a WOD. That also means that you have to FIND your limits as well. These are the points, places and times at which you fail. Failure to hit a certain weight, perform a specific number of reps or finish a WOD within a time cap does not mean that you will never be able to do these things, it just means that you can’t do them right now. You want to get better, hit those targets and improve, then you need to put in the work.

crossfitter snatch barbell lift with full hydrationSource: RX'd Photography
Focus and determination!

If you succeed at every WOD, you always PR with every lift and you’re always first, then you simply aren’t pushing yourself hard enough (or you are Rich Froning). Failure is part of the process, and it makes it all the more rewarding when you finally hit that lift or WOD time you’ve been chasing for months!


Mindfulness just means being mindful of your surroundings, observing certain things that you otherwise may not focus on. During a WOD you can use mindfulness in different ways.

– Control your breathing

Breathing techniques can help to calm yourself down if you feel anxious during (or especially before) a WOD. Concentrate on making your breathing regular, and adapt it to each exercise. It is amazing the effect this can have on diminishing negative thoughts during workouts.

Another method  is to breathe in and count to four. Then breathe out and count to eight. Try to exhale for twice as long as it takes you to inhale. Doing this for at least a minute increases you heart rate variability and puts you into a much more calm and relaxed mood. Because you have to do this for at least a minute for it to really work, it is a great way to calm yourself before a workout or competition.

male crossfitter snatch lift testosteroneSource: Stevie D Photography
Control your breathing, calm your mind

– Think about WHY negative thoughts occur and WHERE they come from

Another option is to pay attention to the emotions and negative thoughts you feel, and think about what is causing them. Observing them rationally may help you to use logic to diminish them. Being hangry (angry and grumpy because you feel hungry) is a great and example of this. In this state your mood and thoughts are being influenced because your body needs feeding. The way you think is affected by your body. In a WOD when your legs are on fire because of the Wall Balls for example, try to rationalise this pain. I.e. “Well I only have 10 left to complete…there’s only 30 seconds left on the clock…At least I can rest them when I move onto the Pull Ups” etc.

Understanding why you are feeling something will help you to create a distance between yourself and those negative thoughts that make you want to quit. you are smart so use your head as well when you work out.

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