No one is born with a champion’s mindset. It is something we each have to train for ourselves. Your brain is wired to focus on the negative, on the things outside your control, so is mine. Forging a champion mindset requires you to develop the discipline to focus on the positive and the things you can control. For me the gym is the best place to practice and develop a winning mindset. But you can’t do this if all your workouts are easy. The WODs you win do not give you the opportunity to grow.
Most of us like to avoid struggle but it is the struggle that forces you to grow. The struggle is the journey. Adversity is the greatest gift you can receive. Nestled in your comfort zone this can be easy/convenient to forget. But the setbacks you encounter have, with the proper mindset, the potential to become your most defining moments, the opportunity to create the most dramatic changes. They are valuable opportunities to be sought out and cherished not feared and avoided.
Yesterday I got crushed by a chipper. It took me 78 minutes to complete a workout I had once completed in only 48 minutes. It was a soul-crushing defeat. It was a miserable suffer fest. It left me feeling physically wrecked. But not emotionally. My first thought was “good job getting that one done”. In rounds 3 and 4 I felt terribly nauseous and light headed, the urge to stop was powerful and with another class to coach looming my time was running short. I could have made an excuse, tapped out early and hit the shower. I didn’t. Even when it was clear my score was going to be by 22 minutes my worst ever on this WOD, I determined to get it done and not in any haphazard way either. I clung to my commitment to complete the heavy KB Swings unbroken each round. Broke the GHD Sit Ups into just two sets per round and kept the K2E to 3 sets per round despite fatigue. I did not allow fatigue or disappointment to take me out of my plan. I controlled what I could control. You cannot always control the outcome but you can control getting it done and sticking to your plan. That was the win inside the devastating loss.
Once work was done I returned home physically exhausted. With Sprite and Shades covering the evening classes I could have called it a day, and taken a much deserved break to let my tired body fully recover. But I had booked to attend at 5pm to do my second WOD of the day. My body didn’t feel up to it so I went early and spent 30 minutes before class doing my Original Strength resets to help restore my central nervous system and loosen my stiff muscles. Exhausted I could have phoned in the next workout a 5×5 hang squat clean for total volume. Considering my fatigue I could have rationalized turning it into a technical lifting day. I didn’t. Instead I went for it and aimed for my max. At the CanWest Games I missed a set of 3 at 185lbs twice when my grip gave out. So I started at 185lbs. It was really hard but I did it. It would have been reasonable to stay there and do all the sets at 185lbs. I almost did. But as I sat there between sets and looked at the bar I asked myself if I truly believed 185lbs was really my 5 rep max. I didn’t. So I added 5lbs. The first set at 190lbs was rough, I almost missed it. But I didn’t. I wondered if I should go back down on the next set. But I reasoned if I could do it once, I could do it again. And I did. The second time went better. In sets 4 and 5 fatigue was setting in and they became very challenging but by now my mind was set and I knew I could do it even if my body was doubting it. And my mind won.
10 hours earlier my workout crushed me. It could have left me crushed for the day. But there is nothing like a dose of adversity to fire me up. I refuse to be beat. I came back at night and this time I crushed the workout. And rediscovered some of the fire that has been missing from my training lately.
We all need adversity. I need it and you need it. Adversity isn’t an obstacle to be overcome, it is the fuel that will get you to the next level. Getting crushed by Monday morning’s workout was the best thing that could happen to me. It was what I needed to happen to me. It is the gift I didn’t want but needed.
Famed CrossFit Coach Ben Bergeron points out that most people focus on training ability (strength, skill & conditioning) and strategy (game plan) but his coaching begins with developing the person (character of a champion) and process (maximizing training minutes). His results speak for themselves.
Inside the gym and outside the gym, you can cultivate a champion’s mindset by seeking out adversity, embracing the struggle and reaping the rewards. You aren’t born with a champion’s mindset, you have to earn it. So does everybody else. But most people will do everything they can to avoid the struggle. How about you?
Wednesday Make Up Day
Hang Squat Snatch
5-10-15m Shuttle Sprint
Rest as needed between rounds.
Empower Reset #15
1 min Belly breathing Hands & Knees
30/30 sec Head Nods/rotations
3 mins Frog Rolls
20 Speed Skaters
10 Judo Push Up Rocks
20 Gait Bugs
10 Windshield Wipers
Hands & Knees Box Crawl
Leopard Box Crawl
30 sec Hanging Hold
30 sec Goblet Squat Hold
2 mins Alt KB TGU
400m Double KB Carry AFSAP
2 alt KB TGU for every break taken