The Most Important Question Ever - Which Side Are You On?

The post, Are You Paying Attention?, from the other night was all about different ways and things we can do to ensure we are continuously progressing in CrossFit.  If I may, I have a few more ideas that could be helpful.

Keeping in line with the approach of being aware of our mental habits and doing our best to change them for the positive, there are countless opportunities before, in and after workouts where we can work on our mental game!

First, there is a very important idea to understand.  Our mind/thought processes determine much of our physiological operations.  For example, our body language directly effects the relationship between our testosterone and cortisol (stress hormone) levels - related Ted Talk - CLICK HERE.  Another incredible source demonstrating this idea is the book You Are The Placebo by Dr. Joe Dispenza (curious who grabbed it in the free book pile last week :)??

These two powerful resources clearly show how influential our minds are in determining our physiological states, i.e. fitness.  

Ok, so we know how capable our thoughts are at dictating our physical bodies, but how do we take advantage of this fact to progress and increase our capacities?  A few example for you...

1.  Stand Up.  The Ted Talk cited above is all about the incredibly beneficial aspects of positive body language.  You see after a lot of workouts people hit the deck and appear to be not too far from deaths door.  There's of course nothing "wrong" with this, but have you experienced this approach of riving on the floor immediately after a workout becoming a habit after a while?  Like we've made our minds up before the workout starts that when I finish this sucker, I'm hitting the deck as fast as possible and I'm welcoming any accompanying sounds to go with it.

Challenge for you (and it may feel like you don't have a choice, but may that simply be a function of an engrained habit?) - when you feel like laying down, stand up tall after a workout.  

Why?  When you fall down you are telling your body things are not ok, and your recovery hormones will reflect that.  When you stand tall, you start to feel empowered, strong, and "ok," and your physiological processes will reflect that on the other end.  

The key here, like anything in training, is repetition and practice.  Over time, instead of getting used to collapsing on the ground, you become acquainted with this new approach of always standing tall immediately after a work - WOW!  You don't really even need to do it, just watch someone that stands tall after Fran.  Do you say, "wow what a weak person.." or do you say, "DAMN that person is burly!"  And think about the ones that collapse, are you saying, "wow look how strong that dude just hit the deck?"  Getting the gist here?

Your mind and body go hand in hand.  Use your mind to make the choices that benefit your body so that your body language creates an empowered and clear mind.  

2.  Smile.  There is plenty of research in the literature on this idea, but it really is not needed.  Can you smile right now?  Did you feel that?  You used your mind and chose to smile.  That smile led to instantaneous physiological processes that support a balance nervous system.  What is arguably the most important factor in getting the most out of your training?  That's right, a balanced nervous system.  

Take it up a notch? and ask yourself immediately after the workout when you're standing tall - what is my face doing?  Is it crunched up in agony?  Is it wining?  Throw a smile on that beautiful mug, and reap all the benefits of the most effective free post workout supplement around!

3.  Experiment.  What do they say, life is one big experiment?  It's kinda true yeah?  Well it definitely is in training, and if you're reading this, you more than likely have the requisite curiosity to apply some of these and other ideas to your training to become a fitter individual.  

So what are some other ways one would be able to take advantage of our mental capacities?  Focus.  Paying more and more attention to what you are doing is an invaluable skill. 

Don't look at the clock.  I actually challenge you to never look at the clock.  The coach will let you know when you need to know how much time is left.  Looking at the clock takes you out of your focus which only stimulates thoughts and ends up in an increased stress response.

Positive self talk.  You know: I'm good, I got this, I can do it, thank you, i love this!

Breath.  Always and ever.  What is the quality of your breath?  Are you breathing?  Can you find a rhythm with your breath and movement

Feel more into what it feels like to be doing whatever movement you are.  How do your legs feel when you run?  How does it feel to be alive during your burpees ;)  The key here is to not categorize or judge, just feel what it feels like to be doing whatever it is you are doing.  No words are necessary.  

These are all just ideas and (what I think of as) fun ways to play with fitness.  Regardless if you're on board with this mumbo jumbo or not, your body will follow your mind and vice versa, so why not do our best to be on the positive side of that equation?

Such a cool way to get some volume in on the rower and road today.  Can you recall your thoughts during the first half of any run or row you did compared to the second half?  Is there anything there worthy of note that may be a good place to experiment with in the future?

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Workout:

Teams of 3:
5 K Row
5K Run
*one person at a time