Thursday, August 19, 2010

Comfortable with the uncomfortable

How do you push through the pain? How do you get mental toughness? How do you get better, stronger, faster?

I have been receiving a few emails on how to become competitive in Crossfit, what is the right formula, how do I take it to the next level. There is no right answer to that question, especially in a sport like Crossfit, and especially since the sport is so new. It is finding what works for you, and maybe that comes from trying what has worked for others. What I do know is to be the best that you can be, you have to give it 100% and get comfortable with the uncomfortable. So how do you do this. Below are some things that I learned this past year and some strategies I use that I would suggest to anyone wanting to be competitive, really for any sport.

Find something that gets you excited to train. If that means take some time off, then do that. Thats the hardest thing to do, and I can't do it too well, but I definitely learned to listen to my body. I see too many people that dont do this and end up injured or continually workout at 90% or less, never really achieving 100%. The times I have hit my workouts the hardest have always been after an injury when I can't wait to get back at it. So take a lesson from me and prevent the injuries from happening and take some time off to relax until you cannot stand it anymore. You can also take this time to do workouts you enjoy from a strength program to yoga. But just find a way that gets you excited to train and hit it 100%. I always imagine that i am lucky to just be able to move around the way I can, so I take advantage of it.

Pushing 100% and taking yourself to a place beyond what you thought was possible takes practice and Im not sure if you ever truly get comfortable with it, maybe just more confident. That confidence comes from just doing it. That is what I am focusing on right now, it is the only way to get better, to keep pushing through. Its what prevented me from winning the games. Here are some strategies that I use to push through. My sole focus during the workouts right now is pushing as hard as I can, no thinking abut the time, and no thinking about failing, just trying. I actually want to fail right now. That means I pushed hard, very hard! Its challenging to go to failure, its a mental test. Right now I sprint the first round of any wod as fast as I can go and just struggle through the rest of the wod, no pacing, that makes it a lot tougher. I have side bets with the guys I workout with; who can win the first round, and who can win the rest of the workout. I did this strategy recently in a 20 min amrap, it made the rest of the wod very interesting. It almost helps me push harder. There are always those wods where you think they will be easy then get surprised by how difficult it is. Its hard to push through there because you werent expecting that and all that goes through my mind is why is it so difficult. When I push hard early it gets me in the right mindset that this is going to be hard, but I know I can push through. This helps me get comfortable with the very uncomfortable.

Lastly positive self talk is crucial, listen to what goes on inside your head during workouts, try to make it positive as if you were coaching someone else. This is not easy! Try to even smile during the wods, and tell yourself it is fun and you like it! You may look crazy but realize it is fun, at least afterward is fun knowing youre done and you achieved going 100%. I have surprised myself the last couple weeks when the voice inside my head says you can't do it, slow down, and I just try to ignore it expecting to fail (which is what Im shooting for) but to my surprise I have been achieving. It shows I have more potential than I even think.  I need to work on that voice inside my head a little bit. But doing it and surprising myself builds confidence which in turn helps to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. Try it!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Trying to get back into some healthy eating, it has been nice eating some bad foods that I have been craviing for a long time, I have to say the stress levels are a lot lower.  Some of my favorites have been Mexican food with a Modelo Especial and ice cream.  But been trying hard now to get back on the wagon.  Almost there, except I cooked this healthy meal and my girlfriend made cous cous to along with it, not paleo but it went with the meal well.  It was a recipe from the blog "What I feed Rory," and it turned out good.  It was sauted garlic, onion, cherries, kale, and chicken with balsamic vinegar and dijon mustard.  Pretty good!

Here is a workout I did over the weekend with a couple friends, it's always nice to have some people there to push me, especially on the weekends when nobody is around.  My strategy of going all out in these workout has been going great as you can see the first round was fast and unbroken, obviously I slow down some, but this is helping me get comfortable with the uncomfortable.  I had a bet with Matt in the video to see who could win the first round, then who could continue on and win the rest of the workout.  Its like a little side bet in golf, who can get closest to the hole off the tee shot, then who can be first one in the hole, it helps to have a little something on the line, maybe I will start betting money haha.  It's a little more painful and probably not a good idea to do in competition because usually in a 20min amrap I would pace a little and try to get a god score, but it is a good practice to struggle through an entire workout.  And if you read my previous post, the top guys in Crossfit definitely fail a lot.  You spike your heart rate early and see how long you can hold it there, a good way to get comfortable with the uncomfortable.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Post Crossfit Games

I wont go into too much detail on my thoughts of the Games, but I want to say that they were fun, inspiring, and a great learning experience.  I thought the workouts at the Games were perfctly designed exposing many weakness and representing true athletes.  It was inspiring to see all the great athletes pushing their limits which has motivated me to push harder and try to find more potential within.  My greatest weakness I saw in myself was my mental toughness and fear of failing.  I saw the best times in most events were from athletes who pushed the limits and failed one or two reps.  That will be my focus for the next couple weeks or so, to push myself to failure.  I want t fail more often.  As I approach competition I can then work on more strategy and pacing, but for now Im gonna go hard, dig deep, and see how much more I got.  If I fail, I know I will learn and grow.  

Here is a video of a workout where I failed a few reps, it was good because I pushed hard and learned that not having a false grip muscle up makes it much more difficult.  I still want to push harder on squat cleans, i have to get rid of that fear of getting tired and failing.

Todays workout I may not have pushed hard enough. It was unbroken sets which made me think to pace a little, but at the end it may have been easier than I expected. I need to push failure. I need to test my mental toughness!

5 Rounds:
25 x unbroken wall ball toss
10 unbroken chest to bar pullups

t= 6:29