I’ve been thinking about writing this post for several months now and I finally decided it was time. Inspired by the recent meeting of the newly formed CFO competition team, I felt it would be a good thing to cover just one of the many elements needed to be a successful games competitor, or any type of competitor for that matter.
When one is in the pursuit of something as challenging and demanding as competitive crossfit, there are so many different things to look at and fine-tune. The physical training is the most obvious, but there are also things like diet, sleep and stress that need to be taken into account as well. One of the pieces that I’ve been really interested in for years is the mental aspect of life, both inside and outside the gym. Today I’d like to share with you just two of the things that I have learned through all of my research and experience.
The mind is powerful beyond our comprehension. Did you know that what goes on in your head has a direct effect on what happens in the physical world around you? Yes it’s true, your thoughts can change reality. This brings us to lesson number one: think positive. Now you’ve most likely heard this phrase dozens of times throughout your life, probably when you were feeling down or you were worried about something. I’m not talking about being optimistic though. I’m talking about actually changing the way you think. Just like we live in the present, you need to think in the positive. Example: when you’re preparing to do a workout what kind of thoughts are going through your head? Do they sound something like “This is going to be rough” or “I don’t think I’m going to be able to finish this one”? You see, your thoughts shape your life so by thinking these things you defeat yourself before you even start your workout. You’ve already decided that you’re not going to do very well in your head so your body follows right along. Even the smallest comment can set the tone for the event to come. Instead, tell yourself that it’s going to be great, that you’re going to kill the workout. Know that you will succeed. At first it might feel like you’re lying to yourself, but soon you will start to naturally think like this. Just like anything else you must put it to use fully and at every possible moment for it to become habit. We often think that successful people are confident because they are successful, when it is in fact the other way around. Do you think the fittest people in the world think that the workout they are about to do is going to be a suck-fest? They know it will hurt, but they trick themselves into thinking that it won’t and proceed to do things that seem almost super-human.
This brings us to lesson number two: visualize. See what you want to happen before you go to do it. There have been studies done that prove this technique works. Example: a group of basketball players participated in a research study on this very principal. One half practiced shooting free-throws for a certain number times every day. The second half shot zero free-throws. Instead they spent that same amount of time visualizing shooting free-throws, going through the very same steps that they would in a live game with the same desired outcome. Guess what? At the end of the study, group two had improved their free-throw percentage just as much as group one. This tells us that our bodies cannot tell the difference between physically doing something and mentally doing something. There are numerous other situations where this same principal has been exhibited and because of it visualization is implemented by numerous high-caliber athletes and performers around the world and in all walks of life. Whether it is the night before the big game or just the morning before a regular day, visualizing the desired outcome can help shape your reality. All you need to do is set aside a little time. Get into comfortable position, close your eyes and run through the event in your head. See your surroundings exactly as they will be. Feel the very same movements you will be executing. Picture yourself doing exactly what you need to do to be successful. Finally, be sure to feel the rewarding sense of accomplishment as you conclude your flawless performance. Then open your eyes and proceed to tackle your endeavor head on. And remember, practice makes perfect. The more you do it the greater the payoff.
These are just two pieces of what some call the mind game. Just like we train our bodies we must also train our minds. The good thing is that you don’t need any equipment to do it. You just have to be conscious of what’s going on upstairs. Some of it might sound a little weird, but just give it a shot. Just like the paleo diet or this crazy thing we call crossfit, once you try it and see the amazing results you’ll be hooked for sure.