Strong Starts in the Mind (ft. Coach Marissa)

  July 18, 2016


Three strategies to apply in the fight to be mentally tougher


“One thing I can assure you of is the weights don’t care if you’re having a

bad day. They don’t care what your medication today is. They won’t get

lighter because you’re mentally hurting. It’s never going to be easy-and

that’s a good thing. Because life doesn’t care either. Sometimes you get

kicked in the teeth and things don’t go right. Sometimes you hurt and at

times you will lose. If you crumble and fall apart you’ll never make anything

of yourself in any arena of life. So get up, wipe the blood of your face..and

move forward.”

Denise Greenway

Cancer fighter/figure competitor/powerlifter/coach



I was relaxing by the pool when this idea for a pending blog post struck. I

fully admit to laughing at the irony of me being the one to write an article on

mental toughness. There are days my “grind” is more like a “moderate trot”

where my main motivation to finish a wod is to get to the post workout meal.

Let me say this..those days I pout/whimper/tantrum my way through a

workout I know with no uncertainty it was my choice to take the easy way

out. Those are the days I may drop in a later class and redo the workout,

because the words of my first coach still ring in my ears “you could do’re just choosing not to.” And he was right. So with that let me give

you three strategies to apply to training and becoming mentally tougher.




I think when the average person signs on for Crossfit they realize a certain

amount of struggle will be involved, and most will typically fall into a totally

normal pattern of stopping when it hurts or they are tired. You have to

realize the body will do what the mind tells it to. It is a skill set to learn how

to push yourself beyond your perceived limits, but trust me in that once you

learn and apply an ability to go to that dark place-you will begin to do things

you’d never thought possible. Most Crossfit workouts are programmed to

fatigue the body to the point of exhaustion. When you feel like you can no

longer go on you will have to a have a different energy source to complete the

task before you. You have to learn to rely on your mind to push through the

suffering. That is where your true power lies.




Crossfit is a sport of numbers. PR’s, mile splits, Fran times, podium

spots..the more you delve into the sport the more you have to deal with that

inner critic or performance anxiety. Big weights can be scary-even walking

into the box knowing your performance will be scored and displayed against

the 12-15 other people in your class can factor into how well you perform

during a workout. Getting out of your comfort zone is difficult and can make

you feel like at times like a wimp-the worst thing you can do is be overly

critical or even hesitant to try. Yes, the goal is to do things right-but many

times people are hindered because they didn’t get that “perfect lift”. In order

to progress we must challenge the body in new ways with heavier loads.

Move as much weight as you can move (safely with good technique) as fast as

you can, and view failed lifts as what they are-part of the learning process.

When your drive to be perfect prevents you from appreciating what you’ve

already accomplished, your perfectionism is out of control.



3. KILL YOUR GOATS: Turning your weakness into strength

In Crossfit a GOAT is a movement that you are not so good at and find

yourself wincing when it’s in a wod. Everyone has their wheelhouse be it

OLY, gymnastics, endurance..but few jump at the chance to do a workout

packed with movements they haven’t mastered. For me this would be double

unders, for others it might be hand stand pushups or pullups. By constantly

learning new and challenging skills, you force your body to grow and get

stronger all over. Crossfit is a sport that is “constantly varied” so we have to

step out and devote time to learning the skills we are weakest at. Taking

advantage of things like Open Gym and Barbell Club gives us a chance to help

you tackle anything you might find more of a challenge.

I hope this gives you food for thought in ways you can apply to your training.

Should you have any additional questions or ways in which we can assist you,

feel free to contact any of the coaches at River to River Fitness.


Stay strong,

Marissa Oliver


Crossfit L1 Trainer @ R2R Fitness


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