How do you turn your inner thoughts into fuel for achieving new PRs and crossing your own limits? These 6 tips will help to bring your psychological A game to every training session, early morning and Crossfit competition.
1. DISCIPLINE AND WORK
There is no substitute for hard work. As the saying goes:
‘Hard work beats talent every time when talent doesn’t work hard’
Discipline is your ability to make yourself do the things you need to do, when you HAVE to do them, even when you don’t want to.
It is an absolute necessity for success in all areas of life. Training on a summer evening when you are fresh and your body feels good is easy. Getting up for that early morning class when it’s the middle of winter, freezing, and your body is sore is not so easy. High intensity WODs can take their toll on both your body and central nervous system. So make sure you remember why you started and keep putting in the hard work, lift well, stay safe, do your recovery and mobility work and you WILL get there in the end.
2. COPING WITH THE HIGHER VOLUME OF TRAINING
If you want to get better then the amount of time you spend training will probably increase. It will be up to you to be able to cope with this increase in volume. This doesn’t mean that you will suddenly be doing seven metcons every week, but it does mean that more time will be needed for the additional skill, strength, mobility and endurance work that you will undertake.
This places more stress on your mental ability to get this work done, and unless you are blessed with unlimited time for whatever reason, you will have to readjust your work/life balance accordingly. Professional Crossfit athletes can train two to three times a day, and have all their meals specially prepared for them, but for the huge majority, this simply isn’t an option, so we have to find another way.
This increased workload will sometimes be a chore, so you must constantly keep your end goal in sight and concentrate on that every single day. You need to constantly remind yourself of why you are doing this. Keep your goals in sharp focus.
3. LIVE IN AN ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH YOU ARE ENCOURAGED TO SUCCEED
If you want to succeed, you need to spend time in an environment that helps you to succeed. Thankfully, Crossfit Boxes are the perfect place to start. A good Box will have everything you need: Great equipment, awesome coaches, intelligent programming, a good community of members and an atmosphere that makes you want to train hard.
Here you will be surrounded by people that will help you hit your targets and push you to achieve even more than you thought possible.
‘Your fellow Box members will suffer in the same way as you do, and shared suffering always brings solidarity.’
When you have training partners that push you to succeed, you will drive each other to success and find ways to cross your limits.
4. EXTENDED WILLPOWER
The concept of extended willpower can be best thought of as an effective method to eliminate temptation from your lifestyle. For example, if you are following a very strict diet, carefully catered to your exact athletic needs, then that extra cheat meal will start looking more and more tempting as you go on.
If you keep foods that you aren’t supposed to eat stored in your kitchen or fridge, then every time you walk into the room, you are forcing yourself to keep on turning them down. You constantly test your own willpower and mentally resist what your body (thanks to hundreds of thousands of years of evolution) is telling you to eat.
Get rid of them. If they aren’t there then you are less likely to want them. If you do this then you can relax more, and you won’t wear yourself down psychologically by constantly chipping away at your own willpower. The idea is that you create an environment that encourages you to succeed (in a similar way to the point above), and you don’t create any unnecessary mental pressure on yourself that could be distracting.
5. THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD REST AND RECOVERY
Quality rest and recovery is absolutely essential if you wish to cross your limits and become a better athlete. Pushing yourself to new levels and adapting to cope with more intense WODs is a waste of time if there is no consistency and you simply burn out. Look at the top athletes, they are characterised by their ability to perform at a consistently high level. Whatever the event, exercise or level of intensity, they can bring their A Game.
This is due to many factors, but they perform well because they get the full benefit from every workout by allowing their bodies to rest and repair.
Everyone is different, and sometimes a solid 7 or 8 hours is simply impossible if you have a new child or for whatever other reason, but without proper rest, you will never reap the full benefits of the intensity and work that you sow.
6. CROSS YOUR LIMITS: TRAINING MOTIVATION
Crossfit is great therapy. Whether the Box is the place where you can be yourself, exercise your demons or simply throwdown until you are lying flat on your back and covered in sweat because it makes you feel good, there is no doubting the positive psychological effects of the sport. Whatever your motivation, keep hold of it.
For me personally I love the simplicity. You cannot cheat a barbell or fake a new PR.
In the words of Henry Rollins, ‘you either lift the weight or you don’t.’
We live incredibly busy lives and juggle multiple roles in a hyper connected, rapidly accelerating globalised world. In the Box, none of that matters, it is simply you and the clock, or you zoning out everything around you and concentrating completely on that new Snatch PR you are about to smash.
YOUR NEXT SNATCH PR
All you feel is the chalk and the steel of the barbell against the skin of your hands. All noises slowly fade away, and you move with strength, control and power. Your muscle memory and carefully developed technique move in harmony to power the bar though the full range of motion. You catch the weight, stabilise and stand.
As you throw the weight down triumphantly, you realise that you have become the proud owner of a new PR. You had two two options, to lift the weight or to fail. You chose the first and crossed your own limits.