Mental Toughness

In CrossFit, you have to possess resilience. You have to handle what seems like a setback and keep coming back, pushing yourself against the limits of your comfort zone; adjusting to each new obstacle that presents itself. It’s called mental toughness.

We have seen a bunch of psychologically fragile athletes come and go in the gym. Missed lifts ruin the rest of their workout; as if they’re never going to miss any lifts throughout their entire gym life. They create crises that they have to train around, so they never really make progress. They don’t PR at the end of a strength cycle and they start questioning the entire training philosophy. They don’t handle bad days well, leading, inevitably, to more bad days.

Being mentally tough means planning not on results, but on consistent work, which will have its inevitable ups and downs. Mentally tough athletes don’t get too emotionally invested in PR’s or too hung up on a few misses. They work. As long as they’ve given their best effort “that day”, they go home happy that they’re on the right path. They don’t question the programming, the coaching, or blame a miss on a classmate who walked in front of them during a lift. They also don’t dismiss their ability, or run themselves down with negative self-talk.

Can this mental toughness be taught? Learned? Maybe. We have seen people who we didn’t think had any resilience in them dig down and find it. We have seen lifters who suffered frustration after frustration finally hit a groove and start focusing on their lifts to to become better technicians, to become truly strong. Their minds changed somehow; it would not be long before their bodies had no choice but to follow.

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