Human beings are very unique in the manner in which they continually seek efficiency. Early man wasn’t satisfied with living in the elements, so he learned to seek refuse in caves, then build primitive dwellings. Modern man didn’t like the limitations of horse-and-buggy, so they began the automotive revolution. And none of us like doing things the hard way. With time and experience, we often find ways to make almost everything we do easier, faster, more convenient, and above all, less painful!
The objective of CrossFit training is to push your body to new levels of performance using highly intelligently designed training practices. To push your body, you need to train with more weight, for a greater number of repetitions, with less rest and greater intensity, every single workout. In one word, this means PAIN. So if you’re going to train the CrossFit style – intense and progressively harder every time – then you are going to want to train through the pain. Here are some steps for getting tougher mentally in order to meet the demands of CrossFit training.
Take a look around the box. You know the people that are training the hardest – they’re going all-out 24/7, harder, louder, and with greater intensity than anyone else. They’re also the ones making the greatest strides, moving more weight for more reps, and advancing at a faster rate than their peers. Study them! Talk to them! Learn from them! Most Crossfitters love an opportunity to work with those around them and teach their wisdom to interested parties. Watch, listen and learn! Embrace the mental toughness that they show, and adopt it as your own.
Plot your course
Once you know the style of training your need to embrace – progressive and more intense every time – you will need to map out how to approach this mentally. You’re up against new levels of pain that you haven’t seen before. lactic acid buildup in your muscle groups can lead to some serious pain. However, it’s a manageable pain faced daily by those at your training centers who are turning in the greatest performances on a regular basis. Decide you are willing to commit to applying yourself to a higher training standard, and accept the additional soreness, aches and pains which will accompany this training style.
Train the mind AND the body
Mental exercises can go a long way in helping you to train yourself to train longer and harder. Visualize where you want to be, and talk yourself through the pain you’re going to face. When you tackle the workout of the day (WOD), realize you need to train your brain with the same intensity as you’re training your body. You cannot just ‘call in’ any workouts – you have to push your mental faculties just as hard as you’re pushing those of the physical variety.
Focus on the weaknesses
You know your strong points. You know what exercises allow you to be your strongest and perform at the highest level. You know what muscle groups and core muscle systems have the greatest strengths. On the other hand, you also know which areas are your weakest. You know which movements need the most strength, and you should be giving them the most attention and intensity? Why? Because those are the areas with the most room for improvement. Your chest and triceps, along with your bench press, may be your strongest areas. But as much as you train them over the next year, your progress won’t be that much. On the other hand, consider how much progress you could make on your LAGGING exercises and muscle groups, which haven’t been trained to their potential in the past. You can make much greater strides in terms of development in these weak areas, which will improve your overall physique and core movement performance in all areas.
Failing isn’t a bad thing in CrossFit training. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Training to a point of failure is a very GOOD thing. It means you have forced your muscles to perform at a level not previously possible. This leads to new progress and growth in terms of muscle size, strength and stamina. If you’re finishing sets and you still have gas in the tank, or a few remaining repetitions, then you aren’t using an adequate amount of weight. Train to failure, and you will grow and make new progress. Stop before failure and you’ll maintain your current levels, but fail to grow to new levels of strength, size and stamina.