You are no doubt familiar with the phrase “constantly-varied, functional movement, at high intensity”. It’s something that you hear during your first interaction with a CrossFit coach. It’s a catchy definition. It’s any coach’s mantra. It’s our favorite flavor of Kool-Aid. It also has some interesting sub-text.
Let’s take a look at that phrase from a different angle; a mental perspective. Simply replacing the word “movement” with “thinking” will get you there. Constantly-varied, functional thinking, at high intensity. Not only is CrossFit training your body to react to extreme and ever-changing situations, while under duress by the clock, but it is training your mind to do the same.
Every WOD requires a unique mental approach: constantly varied mental strategies.
Put yourself in a “real world” situation. You have had a long, hard day at work, and just before quitting time your boss drops big mess on you. It’s a good thing you deal with being fed up and ready to quit every day at the gym. You roll up your sleeves and do the work. If you can do 100 burpees, you can certainly do this.
CrossFit is like anything else; it is what you make of it. You are going to get out of it what you put into it, and that’s going to be different for everyone. The one unwavering truth is that it is going to challenge you. It’s not only going to challenge your body, but it will challenge your mind as well. It doesn’t matter if you are a fire-breather, chasing someone on the whiteboard, or just show up to get a decent sweat on a couple times a week, you will definitely feel your mind sharpen from it. Embrace that, people! There might be days when the WOD doesn’t excite you or you just feel sore and tired and would be okay with phoning it in. These are perfect days for you to really challenge yourself mentally. Find a mental area of improvement and tackle it head on. Maybe you don’t pace yourself very well, or you take too many breaks, or too long of breaks. Maybe today is the day that you just forget the clock and focus on taking short or no breaks. Give yourself a goal and fight for that goal. Think “I cannot do all these thrusters unbroken, but I am going to count to 5 when I have to drop the bar and pick it right back up”. Maybe it’s 10. Maybe it’s 3. If you do this, you will become it. Your breaks will become shorter out of habit. Give your mental training some attention and you will be surprised at the dividends it pays.
Back in the real world, problems that seem insurmountable to others will look like mere speed bumps to you.