“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward.” -Rocky
I have been blogging about mental toughness for several years now. The idea was born out of a Check-in with one of our members. I asked what is the number one thing I could do to help and the answer was, "Teach me about mental toughness."
Mental toughness can be trained, just like endurance, power, speed, strength and flexibility. That's really great news! You can become tougher with simple and effective practices.
One such practice is gratitude. Keeping a gratitude journal, or just acknowledging the good things in your life, can help keep you focused on what is good in our life. Because I can tell you from experience, it's far too easy to get sucked down the deep dark hole of "everything sucks." One way you can express gratitude is to comment on our Celebration Saturday (or Sunday) post in the Facebook Community Group. Kerri and I just started posting celebration posts a few weeks ago as a way for us to publicly acknowledge our gratitude. I invite you to join us in this weekly practice.
Another mental toughness practice is to not take anything personally. This is one of the Four Agreements (an OUTSTANDING book my Don Miguel Ruiz) that can help you eliminate so. much. suffering. This agreement reminds us that people treat us as they do because of who THEY are not because of who YOU are. Once you wrap your brain around this, and trust me it takes DAILY PRACTICE, you feel weightless. I wish this for all of you.
My last mental toughness training tip for today is to dive deep, I mean really deep, into what motivates you. If you want to lose weight, ask yourself why. Then ask yourself why again. Keep asking why until you get to the root (it's down there in the deep dark I promise) of why you want to lose weight. Whenever you set a goal, ask yourself why you want that goal about 5 times. If you're not uncomfortable by the 3rd time you've asked yourself why, keep going. This practice will make you squirm a bit AND THAT'S OK! Going deep into motivation will help keep you on the path to success.
I have lots of other practical tips for developing mental toughness. You can view them by going into my archives: https://www.truespiritcrossfit.com/workout-of-the-day/category/mental-toughness
Get ready to sit up and stand!
Mental Toughness - The Importance of Scaling
It is necessary and expected that most of the time, nearly all of us will scale a workout. We don't really give a second thought to scaling or modifying a movement we are not yet able to do. Yet, it surprises the coaches when we hear folks fret over the prescribed weight of a workout (the load). We prescribe load based on the strongest 10% in the gym. Therefore, on any given day we expect at least 90% of you are going to scale the load. If you don't scale the load and it takes you twice as long to finish the workout, then something was lost in translation.
When you go through our Foundations program we talk quite a bit about the CrossFit progression of Mechanics, Consistency, Intensity. It is most important when you're first learning how to do CrossFit that you move well and you move well consistently before you add intensity. Intensity is sexy and once you get a taste of it it's hard to resist. But, seeking intensity at the cost of mechanics and consistency will certainly impeded your progress.
However, there is a path to intensity that is smart and will ensure you make progress and have fun in class. It's outlined in this CrossFit Journal article from 2005 (Yes, CrossFit has been around that long!)
The author outlines 4 rules that can help everyone have an effective and fun CrossFit journey:
Check out the entire article below. Whether we've been CrossFitting for 3 months or 3 years, at some point we all have to scale a workout, and this article is a good reminder of that.
Today's Mental Toughness Thursday blog is written by guest blogger and all around amazing woman, Kim Pribanic.
I went, I saw, I tried, I finished. I planned my race, and I raced my plan.
Correction. I didn’t race. Racing will come with other things. This was about finishing what I started, about living every moment as it came, and – as much as possible - relying only on myself, my instincts, and my training to see me through. Although there were fun moments, I would never describe the week as fun. It was brutal, needed, and immensely satisfying.
You know, the funny thing about starting this race, as compared to starting Gobi March in 2013, is that this time around I assumed that I’d be the last person to finish, and I was okay with that. In Gobi, I was determined NOT to be last. However, there I made poor decisions from the get go, and I paid for them almost instantly. Dropping out the first day of the race was a lousy feeling, and it’s haunted me for 6-1/2 years.
This time out, I had a plan and I stuck to it. I pre-taped my feet and changed my socks, and made sure to take a short rest and have something to eat when I felt my mental state taking a nose-dive. The challenges were more mental than physical (although God knows there were plenty of physical challenges). I had planned to walk, but I certainly felt like I could go faster. (All hail the inventor of the cortisone shot.) There were times when a little gremlin in my head said, “Oh, what the hell, just run the downhills”, but I fought that back. My goal was to finish, and to finish with a strong, healthy body and mind. The conditions were so hellish that eleven people had to drop out over the first three days. I did not want to be one of them.
The one comment I consistently heard was how strong I looked, even when I finished the long day, after 22 hours on my feet. I was exhausted, but I was in good condition, and relative to many others, I was strong. All of those deadlifts and squats helped protect my back, hips and feet, but so did the pull ups and push ups. Because my upper body was fairly strong and resilient, I could use it to help the rest of me, especially on rough descents and the hours spent in sandy, gritty dry river beds.
I have to say, though, that the mental toughness I’ve been developing at TSCF was the thing that served me best of all. I’ve learned to say to myself, “Well, this sucks, but it’s where I am at the moment, so I’d better deal with it”. When going through hell, keep going. Do not go gentle into that good night. Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.
I learned that it was best to just be where and when I was, and to not worry about how long the climb was, or how much further I had to go. I learned to trust my instincts, and to realize that sometimes taking a short break and getting re-centered was the best way to continue moving forward. I learned that I was just fine on my own, but that sometimes company was helpful, and that I didn’t have to fight it out on my own unless I felt like I wanted to. I learned that sometimes a smile is the best support you can get – and give.
Like the community at TSCF, I fell in with a crowd that just… well… gets it. I didn’t feel like I had to explain anything. My slow speed, my fueling strategy, my insistence on keeping my feet healthy? I did what worked for me, and no one made snide comments. We all picked our battles.
We’re capable of so much more than we think. Making the decision to try, and being willing to trust in ourselves, are the most difficult steps. Walking 250 kilometers is the easy part.
Coach Noah and I do burpees in the gym just after we got the keys to the warehouse.
Today is my birthday. As I get closer to the big Five Oh, I'm 48 today, I reflect on my life and the things I've learned over these past 48 years. One of the most valuable lessons? Admit you don't know everything.
A year ago last October, I got up on stage in front of strangers and members of our gym and admitted I need help. This was probably one of the most difficult public speaking engagements I've ever agreed to do. I don't have much fear of public speaking. I have won awards, been interviewed on TV & radio, and used to lead my squadron in PT (physical training). No, public speaking is not a problem for me. What is a problem for me? Admitting that I need help.
I had just 99 seconds to convince my audience to grant me $5000 in a pitch contest sponsored by Bunker Labs. I knew I needed to make a convincing case for the money. I spent several weeks agonizing about what I would say. You see, I wanted that money so I can hire a business coach. I knew that if I asked for $5000 worth of new air assault bikes it wouldn't bring in more members or convince any of you to stay. While it would be cool to have a fleet of bikes, it's not going to make True Spirit CrossFit better. What would make True Spirit better is if I became better. I was super worried that if I admitted I need to be better, it was the same as admitting I am not good enough. Wow! talk about overthinking and getting out of my head.
After a few days of meditating and journaling I realized asking for help is a sign of strength. It's all too easy to just keep things as status quo and drift into complacency. True Spirit is paying its bills, the coaches get paid, why does it need to be better? Because status quo and complacency is not the world in which I live.
I live in the world of knowing what are my strengths and weaknesses. I live in the world of self-development, self-awareness and self actualization. That means I need to be strong enough to know when I need help and astute enough to know from whom I need to ask for it. That's what I did last year. I set aside my doubts, worries and fears that people would learn my big secret, "I don't know how to do it all by myself." Shocking, I know. I'm sure you've never felt that way.
Once I realized that asking for help is the absolute best thing I can do for True Spirit CrossFit, I knew that nothing would stand in my way. I knew that I would get on stage and give the best 99 second speech of my life. I did and I won $5000.
For the past year I have been a part of the Two Brain Business mentoring program. I have tightened our operations and systems, implemented new ideas, and done lots of tweaking, twisting, and altering. Our gym values are to be safe, fun effective and inclusive of everyone who walks through our door. We are the best CrossFit gym in Bozeman. Together with our staff I will continue to examine and tweak this business so I can offer you the best fitness and health programs in the valley.
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