• Erik

The Mind Game

The hardest thing you can do in CrossFit is to start the timer. It's why your coach does it for you.


The hardest button to press.

Ask any CrossFitter what keeps them coming back and more often than not the answer is "community". When I became a coach, due to scheduling, I found myself training alone most days. There was nobody there to motivate me, correct my form, or push me through a tough WOD. And nothing was harder than pressing the start button on the timer. I just never felt ready for it.


Without a buddy to yell in my face, I needed new sources of motivation. I found them in two places: from within, and on the whiteboard.


I love and I hate when someone's there to count my reps during a benchmark. They always want me to get back on the barbell when I still want to rest. They always want me to do ten reps unbroken when I'm only up for five. They're a real pain in the ass, and even worse, they're often right. How many times have you thanked someone for pushing you through a WOD? How many PRs have you gotten because someone refused to allow you to let up?

When I started training alone, I lost those coaches and workout buddies. So I had to start pushing myself. If I wanted to take a five second rest, I’d only take three. If I wanted to do eight unbroken pull-ups, I'd do ten. If I wanted to give up, I'd remind myself that the mind always quits before the body. I used to work hard so I wouldn't disappoint my coach. Now I worked hard so I won't disappoint myself.


The whiteboard is a huge source of inspiration as well. I seek out the athletes whose ability most closely reflects mine. That's my competition. They give me a target, and I always perform better if I have a score to beat. If I'm the first one to post a score to the board? No problem--I'm now setting the benchmark for the athletes chasing me. (I once compared my scores to another athletes for some time before meeting her. I introduced myself by saying "you don't know me, but you've been competing against me for months."



Those numbers on the right aren't scores. They're inspiration.


Hitting that start button is still the hardest part though. I'll always want a quick bathroom break, a sip of water, or even check my email before getting to the WOD. I've found a thirty second countdown instead of ten helps, but it's still way easier if someone just hits the button for me.


I still miss working out with the #FitFam, but training alone has developed more mental strength and discipline that I thought I had in me.


And now for some homework. For the next few weeks, I want you to be your own motivator during a workout. I want you to rest one second less each break, to perform one extra unbroken rep. Have your inner voice say all the things others say to get you motivated. Get out of your comfort zone a little bit until that becomes your new normal, then do it again. Always remember: the mind always quits before the body, but only if you let it.

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