In training, you listen to your body. In competition, you tell your body to shut up.
Over the last five years, I’ve focused on becoming more self-aware of my emotions. During times of distress, I ask myself these three questions:
- “What emotion am I feeling.”
- “Why am I feeling this emotion?”
- “Is this emotion productive?”
In doing so, I’ve been able to become more stable with my emotions and actions in training and life.
If emotions are a guidepost to our thoughts and our thoughts guide our actions. It would make sense to understand feelings on a deep level. It’s called being Emotionally Intelligent.
Sometimes you just have to “tell your body to shut up.” For example, the pain of physical discomfort caused by intense physical exertion can cause many people to give up or slow down as the discomfort grows. I believe the reason for that is these athletes let the EMOTION of physical discomfort become greater than their WILL to keep going.
As I began to see more and more of that in my gym, I have recommended one of two things to my athletes.
Talk To Yourself
You can never let yourself be surprised when exercise begins to hurt and become uncomfortable. That’s the whole point. In those instances, you must positively affirm your worth using mantras as the uneasiness grows. “I can do this!” “I’m tough” “I’m not going to quit.” “Don’t stop now.” “I’m almost done.”
This is a character trait of some of the best athletes in the world. When someone says “so-and-so has great composure” what they are saying is that the athlete can maintain a level of positively in seemingly difficult situations. That consistency comes from their continuous positive self-talk during competition.
For some, positive self-talk is drowned out by the aggressive ridicule that goes on in one’s mind. In this case, learn to shut it off completely.
By definition “mindless” involves the act of doing without justification or concern for the consequence. The cost of competition causes immense discomfort. So instead, we stay at the lighter loads, drop the bar sooner than we need to or make modifications to exercises without ever challenging ourselves. All to reduce the discomfort that may occur.
Rather than giving yourself the ability to overthink the situation, BECOME MINDLESS. Do it anyways. Defy what you think you can or can’t do. Run the extra lap. Add the additional 10lbs to your bench. Attempt your first pull-up. You don’t know what you don’t know.
Defying logic gives you the ability to create more discomfort. That extra discomfort produces greater results. It’s doing without thinking. Don’t think, just do.
This isn’t just a skill in overcoming intense physical exercise. This is a life skill. How do you act when something doesn’t go your way? What do you do when you start having a bad day?
We can choose to rise above it by thinking positive. We can ignore it and continue with our day. Or we can let it beat us and affect our happiness. Understanding this one concept has developed more maturity in my life than any other thing I’ve done
Double Under are by far the most abused exercise in CrossFit. Bad technique is usually a byproduct of little practice and improper rope lengths. Owning your own rope ensures appropriate rope length and a personal rope you can use to practice at home with. They are also great travel companions.
The Sand Bar
The more you grab onto things, the more calluses your skin develops to protect your hands from ripping. Unfortunately many let the calluses build up so much that they are forced to tear. This ingenious tool makes the process fluid and natural. Like good hygiene, it is recommended that you perform daily.
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Foam rolling is one of those things you don’t realize you need until you do it often enough. This isn’t about stretching your muscles it’s about self-massaging them in order to make them more supple. Foam rolling at home for 5-10minutes/day has tremendous benefits.
There will come a time in your training where a good weight belt is necessary. The spine can only take on so much load before it can’t. Keep in mind that a belt doesn’t substitute a weak core. A good belt does help engage the abdominal much greater at heavy loads. There’s a reason the world strongest lifters use them.
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