Effective training is not only physically taxing, but it can be mentally draining. This is not a bad thing because it ends up making you stronger at both.
Workouts have become almost a sort of meditation for me. I can zone out everything going on, be completely in the present moment, be one with my body, and hear only my own thoughts. No matter if it is a slow day of heavy deadlifts or a 20 min AMRAP, it is my time to become mentally challenged. I love the fact that if I lose concentration for even a second, I can miss a lift. I love how if I start to think one negative thought, it can lead to the remaining time being filled with a pessimistic outlook. I love having to challenge myself to stay in the present moment.
What does that mean? It means lots of things. For one, I have to only focus on now, not my old PRs. Some days you have it, some days you don’t. With training varying all the time, sometimes you won’t hit a PR… and that’s okay. As long as I know I gave 100%, I have to be happy with myself because I know I am one day fitter, no matter if it was a “good” or “bad” day.
It means that I have to be focused to be in tune with my body. I need to know how my body is moving in space in order to be efficient. When performing the snatch balance, if I don’t give my focus to being aware of my mid-line, my shoulder positioning, my squat stance, and so forth, I am increasing my risk for failure as well as injury.
It means I have to keep a positive attitude and remember what the human body is capable of. Learning to focus on the present rather than the future allows for you to enter what my dad calls, “the twilight zone“. You can always do one more rep and by staying in the present, one more rep, one more rep and one more rep start to add up. Before you know it, you are past the point of pain and it is all mental from there.
Being able to learn about myself mentally has been one of the greatest things I have received from CrossFit. As Greg Glassman once said, “The greatest adaptation to CrossFit will take place between the ears.” The great thing is, I know I’m only on the tip of the iceberg.