Written By: Coach Walt
Picture this, you walk into the gym or check SugarWOD and see the
workout – and shudder.
It’s your least favourite workout and movements on the board for today. You know you must do it but it’s not something you’re happy about –– at all.
Luckily, this happens to everyone and you are most definitely not alone.
HOWEVER, some people thrive in this situation. They look completely unphased by the workout and can push through on these sorts of days.
In some cases, they even excel when they attack a workout that has a weakness of theirs because they are so determined to overcome it. This is a handful of people and if you currently aren’t one of those, how can you start to approach less favourable workouts with this mindset.
Like many things, mental toughness is a skill and must be practised. This
isn’t like flicking a switch and overnight becoming able to put your mind to anything. It will take work.
Here are some steps to implement when you approach a workout that has an element (or two) that you’re not looking forward to:
1 – Check your ego at the door.
This is the first and most important thing to do when approaching a workout you’re not fond of. Many of us won’t try things because we aren’t good enough at them. Unfortunately, this is the only way to guarantee that we never get better at them. Comparing yourself to other people and being unwilling to fail sometimes, will hold you back from improvements.
Let go of the idea that you need to be good at something
to try it!
2 – Break up the workout.
Often, workouts can seem extremely daunting and get into your head.
Rather than looking at the whole workout, try looking at the parts which make up the workout. On most days, the coach will give you the intended timings and stimulus for each workout. Use this to guide you.
If the coach says this 4 rounds workout should take around 20 minutes to complete. You know that you should be looking to complete each round in under or around 5 minutes. During the workout, all you need to do is get this next round done in under 5 minutes. Don’t worry about what comes next, you’re not on to those yet.
This works the same for individual movements within the workout. Say you’ve got 20 thrusters to move through. That’s 2 sets of 10. That means as soon as you pick the bar up all you need to think about is getting to 10 reps. Don’t worry about the next 10 just yet, get to 10 and go from there.
Breaking workouts down in this manner works incredibly well to keep us motivated by giving us those smaller checkpoints to work towards. It also provides you with a strategy that will help you stick to smaller rest periods, increase your intensity and improves the overall effect of your workout.
3 – Identifying your focus.
Most modifications to workouts occur when someone is either limited by skill (technique), capacity (strength or fitness level) or has some kind of injury.
However, there is another reason for modifying workouts.
Take the case of seeing a workout and being confronted by your biggest weakness. As mentioned above, we should break the workout down into its separate parts or even its separate movements.
In this instance, many people get through parts that they are strong at by doing bigger sets or going faster to then be able to slow down on their weakness to have some buffer time.
What we could do instead is flip the script.
You know that those other parts of the workouts are your strengths, so in this case, take those a little easier so that you have more energy to be able to attack the weaker part of this workout.
Performing a workout in this way should enable you to work on your weaknesses to bring them up to the level of your strengths.
4 – Change your viewpoint.
You’ve broken up the workout into different parts and identified which area is your weakness which you are going to push hard on.
It’s not a bad thing that you’ve found your weakness, it’s a GREAT thing.
You have a direct focus and a direct goal for that workout AND you’re getting a great opportunity to practice it right away.
Changing your mindset to that of determination and growth will help us see how important it is to regularly perform workouts that contain weaknesses.
These are what help us grow and make progress. Having weaknesses and failing is what leads to progress.
5 – Have confidence.
You’ve broken up the workout, identified any weaknesses with a strategy and are fully focus on improving whatever your weakness may be. Now, as the timer is counting down, you’re having those last-second self-doubts, starting to second guess your game plan and your abilities.
The more we second guess ourselves, the more we set ourselves up for mediocrity. We don’t need to be overly certain but having a certain level of confidence in your own effort is key when approaching a weakness.
You need to be sure that even though the workout will be challenging and possibly won’t go exactly how you want it, you will still put 100% effort into it. You can be confident in your ability to learn and improve.
Once you start telling yourself ‘I’ll never be able to do that’ or ‘I’m too heavy for that gymnastics workout’ you’ve already limited yourself.
Have confidence in your ability to learn, adapt and overcome obstacles.
It may not be that day that you suddenly master that weakness, but it will be the day that sets you up for it. Every workout can feel different for every single person.
Hopefully, these tips will help you maximise each workout you do and keep getting you closer and closer towards your goals and eliminating weaknesses.