I saw this video quite a while ago from Greg Amundson, one of the studs from the early days of CrossFit. So much of what he says makes sense yet so few people really try and make a change that is needed regarding their mentality as it relates to CrossFit or any goal that they have set for themselves.
This is something I feel pretty strongly about and I will do my best not to ramble….but for anyone who reads my blog, you know that will most likely not be possible. Grab a cup of coffee and get comfortable…or just make your spouse read it and give you the cliff notes version (That’s what I have done for years and it has worked great).
Something that I think doesn’t get the recognition that it deserves in not only success, but also failure, as it relates to your goals, is your mental approach. So many times we measure our successes or failures based on numbers and reps, or places and times. If we come up short, we usually focus on something training related being the reason for the shortcoming. I have seen this issue frequently within the CrossFit world, experienced not only by the serious competitors but also those that have just started CrossFitting….and everyone in between.
Lets look at the competitor level first. Think about it, I am sure you can remember seeing people that do really well at local competitions or even during the Open. However, when those people get to Regionals or whatever the next level is for them, they find themselves not performing with the same results. I have said all along that I think you can tell athletes that are going to be competitive in this sport based on their training and how they go about it. Emotion plays such a huge role and so much can be lost by not harnessing that emotion. I don’t have a huge issue with getting excited over a PR or a specific performance, but too many people waste too much energy on celebrating every detail of their training, no matter what it is they are doing. I have always had the mindset of, “act like you’ve been there before”. Again, I am not trying to take the fun out of this Sport and I absolutely think you should celebrate the achievements of goals that have taken months/years to achieve, but pick and choose wisely. In my mind, if I celebrate, it means that I had doubt in my mind of whether or not it was possible for me to complete the challenge. Rarely do you see someone celebrate and then turn around and do something else really well immediately following that. The above are examples of celebration, the same can be applied to frustration. When an athlete is frustrated, especially in CrossFit, they have no chance of doing anything positive. This is not a sport you will be successful in if you let anger and frustration control you in workouts. As an example, show me someone who gets frustrated doing double-unders and then improves after he/she throws a little temper tantrum….I have never seen it happen and I doubt it will. As soon as you lose control of your emotions, your performance will be the first piece that immediately suffer.
Now, let’s take a look at the average CrossFitter and how their attitude plays a role in their success….or failure. If you have been doing CrossFit between 6 months and 3 years, I would consider you to be a part of the 80% of those in the Sport. Proficient in most movements with absolutely no desire to compete. Attitude still plays an enormous role as it relates to achieving whatever goals you have set for yourself. I have heard it so many times as I explain workouts, “I will never be able to do that much weight”….”can you watch me do this, I won’t get it, but can you watch”….”Why can’t I do this”….”I am never going to be strong enough to do (fill in with any movement you want)”. As soon as I hear that, the game is already over, in your head, you have convinced yourself that your incapable of doing whatever it is your talking about. I don’t deal well with this type of attitude and I am sure I have made that clear to you if you are someone who has said something like that to me and I am not sorry for my reaction. I refuse to allow you to think like that. Like I always say, what you do in this box will bleed over to so many other aspects of your life. I don’t care if you fail or if you miss a lift, but you need to approach that lift with confidence, so much so that those around you have no idea that you were getting ready to PR your lift. It just looks like another lift to them because of your calm and collected demeanor. You can’t tiptoe up to the bar as you mutter under your breath to your lifting partner, “I am never going to get this”. If you haven’t noticed yet, success is contagious, I can’t tell you how many times I have watched one person get a PR and then 3-4 other people get a PR right after them. The more common result however is, one person talks about how heavy or how hard something will be and the negative mentality is a plague and will quickly deflate the confidence of those around that person. They start to second guess their ability to perform. The same concept as when someone gets out front in a workout, in most cases, that person starts to question whether they are doing the correct reps or if they missed something as part of the workout instead of giving themselves credit for gaming the workout well and being efficient.
As anything else with CrossFit, some methods won’t work for everyone. However, this may be the anomaly that can apply to EVERYONE. Give this a fair shot. For one week, try not to be negative and see what happens. Be proud of your effort first, then your results. Stop judging yourself based on the weight you move or how fast you move it. Judge yourself on the fact you approached the workout with a positive attitude and you worked as hard as you possibly could to achieve the desired outcome. If it doesn’t go your way, which most of the times, it won’t, be proud of your effort but don’t lose your cool. Don’t pout about it and drag others down by making them listen to the nonsense of why life isn’t fair. You create your circumstances, no one else does. Luck doesn’t exist, it is the result of preparation.