Flip the Switch –
3…2…1…GO! When you hear those fateful words called out seconds before the WOD starts, where is your head? What are you thinking about? Is the music just what you were hoping for or could it not be further from what motivates you? How about the movements on the board today, are they strengths of yours or weaknesses?
Something I want to touch on today is the idea of how to ‘flip the switch.’ But first of all, what the heck do I even mean by that? Basically, you’ve got to be able to shut out any and all external distractions and focus on the one thing that you can control – yourself. Elite athletes call this notion ‘being in the zone’ or ‘being dialed in.’ But it’s not just for the pros…anybody who is trying to complete a difficult task should know how to flip the switch. I want to give you five tips on how to help you do this so that you can get the most out of each workout when you’re with us:
- Create a consistent approach – before you start any movement (deadlift, box jump, snatch, double unders, etc), make it a habit to approach the bar/box/rope the same way each time. For instance, with the deadlift you could be sure to take the same number of steps to meet the bar, take a certain amount of breaths before bending down to pick it up, even fixing your shirt in the same manner each time is a way to create a habit. Doing this time after time will provide the comfort necessary to keep your confidence level high, especially at elevated heart rates!
- Think positive – if I were to tell you “Stop thinking about your grandfather in a t-back,” what is the first image that pops into your head? Exactly, your grandfather in a t-back! The mind skips right over the supposed negating action words like stop or don’t. While the notion of “don’t put the bar down” seems like a good one, it actually reinforces in your head the idea of ‘put the bar down.’ The brain skips right over the ‘don’t.’ Instead, try positive phrases such as “keep the bar moving” or “breathe slow and deep.” These keep you in a positive mindset and help you make it through those grueling workouts.
- Make each set manageable – you look up at the board and see that we’re doing 50 wall balls…holy cow!! You start to think about how impossible that task is and before you know it you’ve already psyched yourself out of a good workout. Instead, try to break a large set into a more manageable number…go for sets of 25, 15, 10, or even 5. If the WOD calls for heavy squat cleans that are close to your max for sets of 6, think about breaking them down into smaller sets of three or two. Whatever approach you decide on, realize that you can and should adjust it in real time. If sets of 10 start to become too difficult, cut it in half. Remember, “just keep moving.”
- Use a motivating phrase to keep you going – when the weight becomes too much to handle or you just can’t seem to catch your breath, you need to be able to calm yourself down and get back in the groove. Come up with a short and concise phrase that you can whisper (or SHOUT) to yourself that will keep you moving. “Three more reps” or “you can do anything for 10 seconds” are examples. A short bible verse or favorite motivational quote will work great too. Just remember to be sure they are short, positive, and consistent.
- Tune out distractions – there are few things more frustrating in the middle of a workout than when someone moves your bar or steps in your path while jumping rope. Why can’t they just stay out of your way!?!?!?! Look, everyone does it…yes, even YOU! Once you hear the words ‘GO’ and the WOD begins, get into your own comfort zone and tune out everything around you. If someone grabs the medball you were using by accident but another is available, just think of it as another hurdle to get over during the course of the workout. Unless you are legitimately in harms way, let it slide and keep moving. Chances are that other person is just working so hard they don’t realize what they did.
So, five tips to help you mentally. When will you start using them? Tomorrow? The next day? How about today!? I can guarantee that you will see your results go up faster than ever before. If you have questions or want help implementing these, you know where to find me! Now, go crush your next WOD!!