Mindset is the most important part of training. We train movement patterns, seek to get stronger, we want more pull ups, faster times, heavier lifts and the ability to perform under fatigue. The missing piece of the puzzle that doesn’t have “For Time” or “AMRAP” attached to it is your brain. Your brain is the driving force behind all of your desires and the better you are at setting your mind toward something, the better you will be at achieving that something.

The Open is less than two weeks away and I want to talk about three mindset ideas for your consideration.

STAY IN YOUR LANE. Your lane is right beneath your feet. You can only go as fast or lift as much as your lane will allow. Your lane is the culmination of all the hard work you’ve been putting in. You KNOW your abilities. But you want to surprise yourself and others, so you step out of your lane to try to get further. You change your strategy because you feel overcome with the energy that the Open brings. The person next to you is going fast! They’re going unbroken! And you’re keeping up with them, but then you soon find out that it was a big mistake. Your initial plan was to break up the snatches by 3’s and wall balls by 15’s but you felt pumped so you went way bigger than that. You stepped out of your lane and ran straight into a wall. To stay in your lane means to have confidence in your abilities, come up with a plan and stick to it. But of course, you have to realize a lane in order to stay in it.

NERVES. The Open has a tendency to stir up emotions. You watch the leaderboard, watch your friends throw down, your coach says this, an athlete does that, all the while the suspense leading up to you actually doing the workout kills your insides and now you are nervous. Having nerves and being nervous are two very different things. Before the workout starts your heart rate increases, your palms get sweaty, and you start to breath heavier. At this point you have two roads to take:

  • ROAD 1 (the easy one): you let the nerves get the best of you and you become nervous. Your mind is overrun with thoughts and you don’t understand why you are so nervous which makes you more nervous.

  • ROAD 2 (the road less travelled): you turn your nerves into an ally, because that’s what they are. Your body can sense that you are about to do something that requires energy. It’s built in to our system; it’s a good thing! You need to understand and believe that those nerves are helping you to do what you’re about to do. This too takes practice, just like those damn thrusters. It’s easy to understand that if you want to be better at thrusters all you have to do is practice them. Same with your ability to calm your nerves, practice the mindset of realizing those nerves can help you, not hurt you.

*Try this next time you get put into a situation where you feel overcome with nerves. Find the furthest thing away from you that your eyes can see: a person, a wall, a random object, something across the room. Whatever it is, focus on it. Really focus on it. Take in all the details of that object.

REMEMBER WHY YOU STARTED. Having a well defined “Why” is potentially one of the best things you can do for your life. Anyone who has defied expectations and disrupted the odds have had a clear cut why. CrossFit is the sport of fitness and while your why can be as simple as that, to get fit, it’s important to remember why you started in the first place. Was it for your kids, your job, your enemies, your friends, your parents, siblings, for yourself? Pinpoint your why and think about that before, during and after your workout. Remembering why you started and reminding yourself of that fact when times get rough will help you push past difficulties.

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