Mental Toughness


Alan of CrossFit Hypoxia at the Mountain States Sectionals. Photo from CrossFit Verve.

There's a lot of talk in the CrossFit community that although the workouts are physically challenging, sometimes the mental component is what makes or breaks you. In the March 2010 CrossFit Journal article titled The Mental Game, Steven Shrago, an organizational psychologist, discusses that although competency in the 10 domains of fitness is important, performance can be improved or decreased by mental preparedness.

Some parts of the article really hit home:

Our beliefs work the same way in the CrossFit box. If a Crossfitter believes getting upside down in a handstand is scary, then guess what? His mind is going to find all the scary bits of that experience, put them in the spotlight  and turn the volume up to 11.

If I believe completing Fran or Murph as RX’d is going to kick my butt in a most unpleasant way, I create an expectation of a miserable experience and start to live it even before I have started. The toll can be felt both emotionally (dread, worry, stress) and physically (butterflies, sickness, hyper-awareness of aches and pains).

Beliefs are self-fulfilling, both in terms of enhancing our performance as well as placing limits on it.

For the full gist of the article, be sure to log onto the Journal and check it out. The passages above were selected because of their theme – your mind plays as much a part in your workout as your body. The right mindset has as much an impact on your fitness as your nutrition and recovery. So when it's time for your next WOD, go into it with a positive attitude and see your performance improve.


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