Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Gray matter... matters!

     Hey there people. Yes, I'm back again and got some good stuff planned for today... Ok, maybe less "planned" and more of a lightbuld went off in my head saying, "Hey, I can fill the ramble with this!" So, I hope I don't bring dissapointment to the masses, like a dish of bread pudding at a Paleo dinner. Let's get after it!

     Look through old rambles and you'll see a few talks about the mental side of CrossFit. There's a huge mental piece of any training. Olympic weightlifters actually spend a lot of time on visualization, and they find that it is very effective (which we'll talk about in a bit). The greatest piece of eqipment in the gym is right between your ears.


     Attitude is absolutely key when persuing any training regiment. Hell, it helps in all aspects of our life. When you're setting limitation on yourself before you ever take a crack at a WOD then you're already half-defeated. Words like: "This is going to suck", "I'm horrible at this" and the dreaded "I can't do this" is already putting you in the red. Your telling yourself you can't do something before you ever start.

     In fact, our bodies are far more capable than what we can imagine. Why not put your head right and use that big buzz word... Positive Self Talk! Tell yourself you can do this, or find what you can do and let that give you a boost. I know that when I encounter Fran the thrusters are the bane of my existence. If I focus on that, your damn right that'll be a tough WOD. However, I know that I can rock those pullups like nobodies business. That is what I can tell myself before any WOD, what I can do. You can use it in almost any WOD:

          "This WOD may be tough, but the _____ are right in my wheelhouse!"

     Doing this we focus on the positive outcome on the WOD and after 3,2,1, GO! we're hitting this with a positive outlook, and (with any luck) end up with an equally positive outcome.


     This is used by great athletes and coaches in many different disciples. Have you ever seen The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise? If you haven't, let me make my point. Throughout the movie he gets his posterior chain handed to him during any sparing sessions. It isn't until he visualizes the entire fight, from start to finish, that he comes out with a win (turns out to be a tie... but it was a win for him). Even though this is Hollywood it isn't far off.

     Visualization can be used prior to a lift, prior to a WOD, or prior ot almost anything. If you're about to go for a PR deadlift, top, close your eyes, and imigine the lift from start to finish. See yourself with your proper setup pull the bar off the ground, keeping the bar close, and standing up with it. For one, we're focusing on the points of performance of the lift. Secondly you are visualizing yourself with a positive outcome! And that right there, is a positive tool.

     Same thing when in that magical pre-WOD moments. Imagine how you will attack the WOD, how you will manage your transitions, maybe how many reps you want to complete before breaking them up, and (very importantly) how the WOD will feel. Again, we're setting ourselves up for a positive outcome! So visualize a win, and you will be that much closer to achieving it.


     Goals come in all shapes and sizes. We have long term goals, short term goal, and even what I like to call minute-to-minute goals.

     First, long-term goals are just that. It's goals that may take weeks, months or even years to accomplish. CrossFitters use these frequently when setting themselves up for lifting or gymnastics goals. a 3x bodweight deadlift, a 2x boweight squat, your first muscle-up. All of these you aren't going to be able to come in and get in one session. With this we can make ourselves a plan, or even road map on how to accomplish this goal. These's some great coaches out there (and maybe even me) that have tried and tested methods to meet these goals. It takes the mental fortitiude to stick with the plan and KNOW that you can do it.

     In my travels in the Navy, I've ran into a few folks that have gone through the SEAL selection process. Some that were successful, and some that we're not. Both groups attest to the fact thet BUD/S (as it is called) is 20% physical and 80% mental. One of the succesful folks described how he made it through "Hell Week". HW was a true test for any SEAL hopeful. it's 5 staright days of grueling tasks from navigating the surf, O-courses and sand runs; throughout which the cnadidates get 4 hours of sleep during the entire 5 days! What this person told me was he set himself a goal throughout the week. He KNEW that he would get 3 meals a day, and 15 meals that week. So he told himself to make it to the next meal... and the next meal... and then next. Before he knew it, the week was over and he was that much closer toward his goal.

     Finally, the "minute-to-minute goals". These are what I see a lot of CrossFitters use in their daily WOD. A horrific WOD like Eva, the Filthy Fitfy, or that brutal WOD we saw to kick off the 2011 CF Games are a great place to use these. Giving yourself goals of, "I'm going to break this up 10 reps at a time with 3 breaths between sets" is a great goal to set. Things like this can be made on the fly when things start to fall apart too. This could be a rep-by-rep, step-by-step, or breath-by-breath goal. When the tough gets going then so do you. Keep telling yourself that no mater what, you can do it... and you will.

Aim above the mark to hit the make - Ralph Wlado Emerson

     I hope this wasn't too lengthy or dry. I just want you to relize how important an positive mindeset, good viusualization, and achievable goals can be. If you use all the mental tools in the toolbox then you are over halfway to success. Post thoughts, questions, experiences, and any mental cues that  you use in the comments section. So visualize, stay positive... and set a goal to do burpees!

3,2,1 GO!

Yesterday's Training:

Rest Day
40 minutes of stretching, foam rolling and MWOD drills. Finished it off with a "recovery WOD":
3 round
0:30 Handstand Hold
0:30 Hold bottom of the squat

Day 153 Burpee Challenge / 11659 Burpees Completed


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