We have all been there before. That “oh, sh*t” moment. That moment you ask yourself, “why the hell am I doing this to myself?” I personally had one of those moments this Saturday as a competitor at the Garage Games in Allentown, PA hosted by CrossFit 610. Of course it was the last of three WODs (CrossFit parlance for “workout of the day”) for the day and of course it was the one that was by far the most mentally and physically grueling, a quintessential slugfest. The workout was as follows:
Squat Clean Thrusters (115 lbs) / Chest to Bar Pullups.
I hate thrusters. I hate squat clean thrusters even more...
Thrusters have always been my goat for some reason. It makes for an exquisite cocktail of pain and despair. I knew the WOD would be really difficult as I am in the middle of my strength cycle and the volume of conditioning workouts has been purposefully quite low. But ever the one for a challenge, I laced up my Oly shoes and manned up. It was a humbling experience…
It sucked. I felt horrible not only during the WOD, but also disappointed with myself because I probably could have pushed a bit harder. So why didn’t I? After much reflection, the simple reason was because I was not mentally with the workout as much as I should have been.
Members of The Movement Program, the only way to go into The Darkness and come out alive and stronger is to make sure you have a solid mental strategy going into each WOD. Have you visualized yourself doing the movements smoothly and effortlessly? Do you envision yourself destroying the workout or do you focus more on how horrible the workout will be? If you approach a workout with the latter mentality, you’ve already lost. During the WOD, the strategy I have found that works best is to move with as little time from one movement to the next. This sounds simply like “just move fast.” Sounds pretty straight forward, almost insultingly so, but how can I do that when my muscles are on fire and everything says “stop”?
At the beginning of the WOD your body is shocked to attention with an increased cardiovascular and endocrine response as a result of the intense nature of the workouts. Your mind is wired to save your body from harm so it signals you to “please stop. You are hurting me.” To fool your body into ignoring this feeling, you must press on, even if this means doing only two reps of the next movement and/or round. For instance, in a “5 rounds for time” style of WOD, getting past the second round is arguably the most mentally difficult for the reasons mentioned above. Once you get passed that first round, go immediately into the second round, with acceptance of the pain and without hesitation. It will hurt. Deal with it. The quicker you do this you will find that eventually you will settle into a rhythm for the WOD and the discomfort becomes a bit more bearable.
Some things to consider… You’ll have a chance to test these principles out when we are back to it on Friday.
Yes, you heard me right: Friday. Wednesday we will be holding a movement and mobility workshop. It is open to any student or faculty member regardless of whether or not they went through the Foundations courses. A lot of you have asked me how to fix some of your nasty banged up bits, so I think it is imperative that we spend a class talking about some ways to treat our soft tissues that we destroy three times a week.
Enjoy MLK day!