Crossfit Tips

The Mental War of CrossFit


One of the biggest mistakes newbies can make before they start CrossFit is to assume it’s all about physical ability. Having the fittest body, lifting the biggest weights and getting the fastest time are not the only elements that make CrossFit such an addictive workout. When it comes down to it, CrossFit is an all out mental war with yourself. Your mind has to lead your body into doing things it wouldn’t typically do. Those last two reps, or seconds, when you feel like your stomach is going to rip into a black hole, it’s your mentality that will push you through till the end.

It’s crucial that you train your mind while you put your body through its paces. What you think and when you think it will play a substantial part in how you are able to perform. Once you master the mental war of Crosffit the physical part gets easier.

You’re not Alone

Whether you are walking into a CrossFit gym for the first time or you’ve been doing it for the last ten years, there is something everyone in there is going to have in common – the wish to be better. At a professional and competitive level there is a constant desire to be more prepared, stronger and faster. This is a good thing, because it keeps you coming back and striving forward, but it has to be balanced with some acceptance.

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Understand that you’ll always be enhancing your physical ability as long as you challenge yourself, so don’t be afraid to appreciate what you are capable of at this moment. At the games you’ll have several competitors, but ultimately everyone is competing with themselves. Your competitors serve as motivation and inspiration.

Establish A Switch

From the moment you start training you are going to develop habits. One habit that can really help you along the way is creating a short mantra, or switch, which brings your focus back to the challenge in front of you. It can either be a sentence, a section from a song, or just about anything that effectively gives you back your concentration. With CrossFit you are never inside a comfortable zone. In fact, it’s rather intimidating when you look at the top athletes who compete at the games. Being overwhelmed means less control over your thoughts.

CrossFit athlete flipping a tire --- Image by © Artiga Photo/Corbis

CrossFit athlete flipping a tire — Image by © Artiga Photo/Corbis

Stay in the Zone

The mindset you want to incorporate is to focus on what is in front of you. Whether it’s a lift, pull-up, or a one mile run, don’t get distracted by anything else. When you lose focus it opens the gate for negative thoughts, like “I can’t do this” or “This is too much”. The best way to do this is to literally break down the workout into small sections. Remember that it’s the person that thinks about the next step who actually gets to the top of the mountain, not the person who stands there trying to find the top from way below.

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Internal Dialogue

Take note of your internal dialogue while you are going to through the workouts. How you motivate yourself is going to have a profound effect on your performance. Try doing an L-Sit while you keep on telling yourself you can’t do it. Chances are you won’t be able to finish anything with this type of internal dialogue. Fighting the Mental War of CrossFit there is no place for negativity, only determination to get through whatever it is you’re doing. The moment you notice mental self-destruction is the moment you need to overcome it, because you are only going to disappoint yourself.

Rich Froning, Central East

Failing is Part of the Process in the Mental War of CrossFit

Even guys like Froning has failed at times, but it’s like the great saying goes, “It’s not about how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get back up.” Regardless of how hard you train you will need to practice a little patience. Remember that CrossFit is based on pushing your limits constantly, which means you’ll constantly need to take chances. Instead of becoming discouraged when you fail, see it as an increased possibility to succeed the next time around.

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