The book ROAR by Stacy Sims, PhD devotes a chapter to the mental aspects of training.  As you know, mindset is the base of the Empower fitness pyramid so this chapter seems particularly important to me.  Having read it I’d suggest that it’s just as relevant to male athletes though I will agree with the experts that some issues are more prevalent (or at least more readily discussed) in the women I coach.  Actually, if I was a betting man I’d suggest this is why women have better success at CrossFit, because they are willing to talk about issues as they arise, many men just quit.  Women are resilient.  The strong silent type tends to be much more fragile.  But that’s just my opinion, there’s no science that I am aware of to back it up.  Here is what the experts in the field of women and sport do tend to agree upon:

1) Over training
Women are far more prone to overtraining.  Monitor your moods.  If you feel miserable and unmotivated in the gym or in life in general it may be an indicator of elevated stress hormones (cortisol) resulting from over training.  Women do not recover as quickly as men from training and are therefore more prone to over training.  If you’re feeling fatigued and down in the dumps, scale back the intensity and give yourself a rest day!  Men you’re not off the hook, you are not immune to over training or mood swings, this applies to you too!

2) Self Talk
Women are apparently more likely than men to be self critical of their performances and blame themselves for things that go wrong.  Men tend to be more objective citing factors such as lack of sleep, poor nutrition, bad weather conditions, etc on subpar performances.  I’m not suggesting you avoid personal responsibility but cut yourself some slack, every day won’t be your best day don’t get too down on yourself.  And learn to engage in some positive self talk, learn to eliminate phrases like: “I can’t…” or “I’ll never be able to…”.  Instead learn to harness the power of positive self talk like: “I’ve got this!”

3) Focus
Women are superior multi-taskers.  That is not always a strength.  In training, sometimes task focus pays greater dividends.  Try to be in the moment and try not to be distracted by things going on around you.  Try to shut out the background noise and the internal dialogue, in my experience, it never goes away but the volume can be lowered.  Often a quick head nod/head rotation reset is enough to get me back on track when the workout is threatening to go off the rails.  And nothing is good for centering yourself like some deep, diaphragm breathing.

4) Be an Athlete
Even many elite female athletes tend to identify first as a wife, mother, or working professional.  Apparently many struggle to refer to themselves as an athlete at all.  Do you?  Men can throw a dart in a pool hall with a beer in one hand and a cigarette hanging off their lip and consider themselves an unsigned all star.  Women not so much.  One of my coaching mentors, Sensei John Huntley, taught us 22 years ago that everyone is an athlete at a different level of competition.  I still believe this to be true.  Athlete is not a designations someone gives you, it is a mindset that you adopt.  You are a person with many roles and identities and you are also an athlete!  These roles are not mutually exclusive.  Embrace them.

I’ve seen it so many times in male and female athletes alike, when you change your mindset, your transform your performance.  Inside and outside of the gym.  Whatever level of performance you are currently at learn to identify as an athlete.  Learn to bring focus and intention to your training, stay centered and on task.  Learn to roll with the ups and downs of training and cultivate a supportive inner coach who provides positive feedback instead of criticism.  And do not drive your mood into the ground with constant over training, workouts should be fun, the gym is your playground nut your prison!

Wednesday WOD
We will have 9 stations for barbell snatches in the gym Wednesday.  We can fit 1-2 additional members if they are dumbbell snatching.  If there are more than 11 attendees we will provide an outdoor workout for the overflow.  The 4 lifting platform stations will be equipped for dropping weights, if you plan to lift heavy, please choose a spot on the platform.  Other stations will have to use lighter loads.

Equipment: PVC Pipe, Barbell, Plates, Collars

Warm Up
2 rounds:
1 min Full Body Rocks
1 min Leopard Crawl
1 min Cross Crawls
1 min Shoulder Pass Throughs
1 min OHS

Girard Warm Up

5 Round E5MOM
3 Snatches at ascending weights

Cool Down
Scap Rocks
Scap Rotations
Scap Retractions