CrossFit Requires Mental Fortitude

The human brain is capable of amazing things.

It can process an image your eyes have seen for as little as 13 milliseconds – less than the time it takes you to blink – and generate enough electricity – 12-25 watts of electricity – to power a low-wattage LED light.

But it can also act as that little voice in your head that holds you back from accomplishing things, like getting through a particularly tough WOD.

One of the true challenges of CrossFit is driving to get in that extra movement, or move for 30 more seconds, before you collapse in a pool of sweat.

When our athletes are pushing through a workout, nobody is checking up on them to make sure they are doing what needs to be done; we expect that those who show up are willing to push themselves to great heights, even when it makes them uncomfortable. But, hypothetically, nobody is stopping you from cheating yourself in a workout.

That’s where you brain comes in.

Skipping through a workout without giving maximum effort is akin to procrastinating, which is something we are all guilty of. Why do ten kettlebell swings when eight will suffice? It’s easy to tell yourself you won’t do it next time around. But if you are the only person responsible for your success, it’s easy to make up an excuse not to do it.

Those who get the most out of CrossFit are the ones who push their bodies as hard as possible, even when their brain is screaming at them to slow down and take a second or two to rest. These athletes are the ones who succeed because they are willing to not take the easy way out. Rather, they push and push until the end because the benefit far outweighs the guilt that comes with stopping.

Those who have the proper mental fortitude can take success at the box and translate it to their everyday lives. It’s been said that those with the mental toughness to be resilient in the face of fear (or, in this case, 100 wall balls in five minutes) are the ones who become successful in their careers.

We are not saying CrossFit is the key to a successful life, but when you can push through a particularly challenging WOD, the project at work that’s due might finally seem doable.

After all, your brain might remind you it’s not possible, but you will know better.

Want to give it a try? Sign up for a free, no-sweat intro today!

5 Tips when Choosing a Personal Trainer

Let’s face it, trying to find a personal trainer ranks up there with some of life’s most difficult decisions. Choosing a college…starting a family…what to watch on Netflix this weekend?

A good personal trainer should always be a good listener, explain why you are doing specific workouts/exercises and will always prescribe a plan that will help you reach your fitness goals. Daunting as it is to choose a trainer, there are a few key areas to help you start your search.

  1. Experience

Experience is an important factor in choosing a trainer, but first you have to define the specific experience needed for YOU. Because a trainer has been “in the business” for years doesn’t mean they’ll know the area you’re looking to improve. Instead consider some other forms of experience:

  • Look for experience showed by happy reference-able clients. Each trainer should have stories of past clients they helped.
  • Ask yourself, has this trainer worked with people who look, act, or sound like me?
  • Look for experience outside the fitness environment. This could mean a trainer who has proven success in business, academics, military service, or personal endeavors. Top performers tend to bring their work ethic and attitude to all areas of life.
  • Look for shared experiences or similar backgrounds. A trainer who happens to be a mother of 3 children can offer invaluable experience to a new mother who is nervous about returning to training.
  1. Knowledge

Experience can take many forms, but you want to make sure that your trainer is in fact knowledgeable. The best trainers are lifelong learners and their resume should speak to that. If you are having a hard time locating their credentials, it’s important to ask. Most trainers will open the floodgates about their inspirations and influences. Some leading questions could be:

  • How did you start your fitness journey?
  • What are your biggest influences in health and fitness?
  • What certifications do you hold?
  • Do you recommend any websites or articles where I could learn more?
  • What systems or progressions do you use to help clients achieve their outcomes?
  1. The 5 Chimps Theory

In zoology, you can predict the mood and behavior patterns of any chimp by which five chimps they hang out with the most. What does this have to do with choosing a trainer? It means find a trainer who you want to be like. Consider what personal characteristics would best help you on your fitness journey:

Do you need a trainer who is serious and intense? Or are they quirky and can always lighten your mood? Keep in mind that you aren’t selecting the trainer you WANT, but the trainer you NEED!

Once you feel that a trainer has a background that aligns with your goals it’s time to explore how they engage with you.

  1. You’ll know how much they care!

The initial meeting is the perfect time to gauge your trainers level of caring. A good trainer takes interest in your needs and listens to your concerns. They inquire about your health and fitness background as well as relevant personal information. Expect questions about injuries, conditions, and athletic background as well.

The trainer/client relationship involves more than planning a workout routine. It involves building trust, addressing challenges, and working together towards a recognized goal. Now the trainer should set clear expectations for what you can expect from training. The approach they use should have a clear progression and benchmarks to track your progress along the way.

  1. Persistence trumps Intensity

As author Derek Sivers says, “If more information was the answer, we’d all be billionaires with perfect abs.” Most people have an idea of what they SHOULD do, but generally struggle with what they WILL do. When you begin a new routine, adherence is key. For your first month or two, your trainer should be helping you develop habits around fitness and other healthy practices. When you choose a trainer consider the factors that will encourage your training as well as remove potential roadblocks.

  • Is it a convenient commute to the gym or park?
  • How often will you be able to meet? What times?
  • Is this a price that I am able to pay for each month/week/session?
  • Is this an environment that is safe and comfortable?

It’s easy to find an excuse why you shouldn’t call, but let’s face it, you’re still reading this for a reason. You’re reading because you care. Because you have a goal. Because you’re ready to do what it takes.

So instead of justifying why you can’t right now. Why it’s not a good time. Why next month would be better. Think about what your life would look like if today you made the choice that changed everything.

Interested in trying CrossFit? Sign up for a free, no-sweat intro today! 

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