Mom’s Mindset:   Chest Up, Eyes Open, Shins Against the Bar

Happy Mother’s Day to all you amazing Moms out there!

I’d like to share a framework for Mindset training out of CrossFit Invictus that I stumbled upon in 2015 when they put out the e-book The Invictus Mindset: An Athlete’s guide to Mental Toughness. I’ve been carting it around ever since.  Has Mother’s guilt ever held you back? If so, what can we do about that? Let’s get real, when you become a mom you are no longer a free agent! Let’s consider how to be our best selves while being there for our offspring.

You have likely seen the CrossFit theoretical hierarchy of development pyramid poster in the gym and noted that Mindset is at the bottom of it.  The premise is that to be successful you require productive control of your thoughts.  Without this you will be stymied.  Can being a mother throw you off course?

The prevalent theory is that mental toughness can be taught, that it is a skill that can be learned and honed, although not easily mind you.  One Invictus approach to keeping their athletes mentally strong is to focus on the athlete’s body language and refuse to allow postures of defeat to take place within their walls.  An athlete exhibiting a posture of defeat would be humped over, slouched with their head down, eyes to the floor, hands on their knees. Their belief is that this is a non-verbal statement of “I can’t do this.” It is seen as negative self talk demonstrated by body position.  You can’t see what is going on around you and air is not filling your lungs effectively.  Instead, aim for a posture of victory! Stand tall, chest up, breathe in air, look around, smile and acknowledge others and get back to it.

Athletes will call each other out if they see postures of defeat by chanting Chest up! Eyes open! What does this position have to do with being a Mom?  Sometimes you may feel beaten down.  Juggling many balls, work, kids, parents, friends, fitness goals.  It can get overwhelming.  In these times, stand tall.  Take a big breath. Exhale. Look around.  You’ve got this. No slumped shoulders.   Keep your chest up and have confidence in your abilities to manage.  Like adding Mindset at the bottom of the pyramid, a case has also been made to add self confidence as an 11th domain of fitness after stamina, strength, endurance, speed, power, agility, balance, coordination, flexibility, and accuracy. The two go hand in hand.  A strong belief in yourself will help you stamp out self doubt if it rears. Feel the fear and do it anyway. Talk to a coach if stuck in unhelpful patterns.

Some immediate strategies.  Spare yourself, confidence draining activities.  If social media gets you down, stay away. Comparison is the thief of joy.  Avoid any form of one up conversations about children’s abilities and activities. Keep it real.  Refuse to let a less than stellar training day get you down.  You are a mom and you’ve gotten yourself to the gym. In my books you’ve won! Tomorrow’s a fresh day.

Eyes open.  On the competition field you are encouraged to keep an eye on the field around you, be as efficient as possible in transition times, know where your equipment is, who you are dodging and where your supporters are.  In life, I think of it as not deluding myself.  Is my diet really in line with my goals? Is this relationship working as well as it could?  Are my kids ok?  Do my actions honestly support what I want?

Shins against the bar.  Val’s story below highlights how not wavering from your task nets you the best result. In a workout, if you need to rest, don’t wander off for chalk or across the gym.  These digressions add up and cost you over time. At a regional event, Athlete Val Voboril was in a lifting competition with stronger women. Her coach told her to keep her sets small and her shins against the bar. Knock out 3 reps, put bar down, rest at bar, get back. Never leave bar.   The other women charged through with bigger sets but left their bars to chalk or backed away to take breaks. Over the course of the event Val’s steady approach at her bar resulted in a first place win and a trip to the CrossFit Games.  Those seconds milling about add up.  Applied to life it meansstay steady, hold the course, be consistent.  Small steps, repeated faithfully.  Easier said than done. I’ve been thrown off my post, derailed away and faced with a claw back many a time.  The key is to learn what you can from these experiences and don’t repeat history next time. Accept your anxiety, feel the fear, strive to do it anyway. Sounds simple but can be a challenge.  Coaches can help!

Chest up. Eyes Open.  Shins Against the Bar.  With gratitude Moms. Go forth and enjoy!

Endurance-based workout for Mother’s Day.  We are in it for the long haul after all.  Basic movements. Simple training. Get’s it done.

Mother’s Day Basic Training Workout
2 Rounds for Time
Use 2 Dumbbells for Round 1 and 1 Dumbbell for Round 2
DB weight = aim for as close to unbroken for 26 reps as possible

200 m run
26 Dumbbell Push Press
200 m run
26 Dumbbell Lunges
200 m run
26 Dumbbell Burpees
200 m run
26 Dumbbell Squats
200 m run
26 Dumbbell Floor Press
200 m run
26 Jump Squats over Dumbbell

200 m run = 1 min marching in place, brisk walk, 20 Mountain climbers
Segment the jump squats if better = squat, stand & jump or step over db, squat, repeat
No equipment? push-ups for floor press, regular burpees, sit-ups for push press, plain jump squats.

– Shades

Monday ZWOD Double-Header
Kettlebell, dumbbell or equivalent.  Bar hang location or alternative.

Warm Up
2 mins Crawling forward & backward
1 min Sit throughs
1 min Sit through 360s
1 min Push up & roll
1 min Rock (& optional roll)
1 min No hand stand ups

WOD 1: On Hold
3 round AFSAP
1 min hanging hold
1 min handstand hold
1 min plank hold
2 min squat hold

Score = # of set required to complete (perfect score = 12)

WOD 2: KB Finisher
12 rounds:
30 sec KB Swings
30 sec rest

Score = Total # KB Swings completed in 12 rounds, record load to notes