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“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”
After this past Saturday’s class I talked for about 10 minutes on Mental Toughness. If you missed it no need to be bummed out. I will go over exactly what I talked about below! It is a bit long but
Firstly, I talked about The Path of Least Resistance. Now, this can relate to a lot of things, however what I am referring to speaks to human nature. It is built into our minds to follow the path of least resistance whenever possible to conserve energy. When we need to pick something off the floor say a pencil or pen, we do send our down and back, slightly bend our knees, send our shoulders forward while maintain a braced core and intact lumber curve. We just round our backs and pick it up. In workouts however, the path of least resistance could be not sending your hips back to catch a power clean, or coming off your heels during the dip of a STO, or letting your elbows drop during a front squat. During all of these actions your body, is following the path of least resistance. It’s trying to expend the least amount of energy to accomplish the task. Ironically it is failing. When we follow the path of least resistance we become drastically less efficient, and in the long run slows us down.
When we are less efficient it can lead to the second topic I talked about: False Rest. What is false rest you ask? False rest for example is when you stop to rest at the top of a box jump when your legs aren’t really tired, when you drop a light hang power clean when your grip isn’t that tired, when you start to walk in a 400m run when you know you could still jog. False Rest is when your mind wants the path of least resistance aka the easy way out and tells you to rest. More times than not, you could have kept going. On Saturday I used the thrusters as an example. I asked a couple folks in the crowd “what is your 1 RM thruster?”. A couple men answered with numbers both higher than 200. The Rx weight in that workout was 75/55. How many times did people put their hands on the thighs or stare at the bar during their ~2:00 rounds? That’s a false rest. Between a rock and a hard place everyone could probably do 30 reps unbroken at the weight they chose on Saturday. False rest just gives you a fake sense of security and holds you back from your true physical potential.
What keeps false rest occurring is the negative voice in your head. The voice telling you, this is too hard, I need to stop, I can’t do this etc. All this is, is food for one of two wolves in your head:the negative wolf. The negative wolf is fed through your own disbelief in yourself, and all the negative talk, all of the false rest you take. If you constantly feed it, it will devour the other wolf:the positive wolf. The positive wolf feeds of confidence, will, and self-efficacy. We have all been in workouts, that we lost mentally. Those instances are where the negative wolf won. How do you insure the positive wolf wins in workouts and in life?
Positive self-talk is the pep talk you give yourself in your head constantly. Ben Bergeron puts it simply, “Turn your have to’s into Get to’s”. Turn, I have to do three more rounds into I get to do three more rounds and get fitter. “I have to run into today’s workout. Ugh I hate running”. That should be “I get to go run into today’s workout. Good, time to get better”. This can apply to life as well I have to go to work, no you get to go to work. I have to pick my kids up, no you get to go to work. “It’s only ten thrusters you got this” would be a great example for Saturdays workout. Or “I get to rest after this, push hard through.”
Using simple phrases is all it takes. Having a self-mantra should be your ace in the hole. It’s a small phrase or word that has significant emotional importance and motivates you. Mine is “still breathing”. The story behind “still breathing” comes from my freshman year in college. I almost passed away. I went into anaphylactic shock after taking a medicine and didn’t breathe for over four minutes. I spent the next six days in the ICU recovering and getting tests run. I remember so desperately wanting air in the back of the ambulance, trying to inhale with all my might but to no avail. I remember thinking “this is it”. Fortunately, I lived almost right next to a hospital and am still here to tell you about it. Whenever I’m in WODs and my lungs feel like they are filling with battery acid, my heart is pounding out of my chest, my muscles feel like they are on fire, I tell myself “Still breathing”. I’m still here and I can keep going. Find a self-mantra and use it as fuel.
So this next week and the following ones in and out of the gym. Refuse to follow the path of least resistance, don’t take false rests, feed the positive wolf not the negative one, use positive self-talk, and create your own self-mantra. These simple tasks will help improve your state of mind and also your fitness.