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Are You Exercising or Are You Training?

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By: Jacob Wellock

I believe that there are many CF athletes that need to ask themselves this question. So what is the difference? If you go to the gym just to sweat and feel better when you WOD, then this blog won’t necessarily apply to you. If you go to the gym and are in pursuit of being a competitor and have that mindset, then read on. With that said, let’s dive into this.

As many of you know, competing in CrossFit and more so, training for CrossFit is very demanding. It is, in my opinion, the most demanding sport in the world. Now when I say that, it is one of the only sports where you have to be very good at A LOT of different things. You don’t get the luxury to specialize in anything, but you do have the responsibility to better yourself at everything. This is of course if you want to be the best you can.

Now, the first thing you need to do is dedicate yourself to a program or an outline of how you are going to attack all of these things in a way that allows you to allocate your time efficiently while getting better at everything. Sounds hard doesn’t it? That’s because it is, but enjoyable and rewarding if you stick to the plan. In that plan, not everything is going to go according to the way you think it should. Chances are, you WILL have set backs along the way and that’s ok. Facing those set backs with a positive mindset is what is going to help push you forward even more. This is a part of your training. Along with those set backs you aren’t going to feel 100% everyday and be in the mood to attack every training session, that’s what makes us human. But you do have control over what you do and how you respond to it. So those days when you aren’t feeling 100%, are you still going to hit those heavy clean pulls and rowing intervals or are you just going to “sweat”? Are you going to have a good attitude about it or are you going to just go through the motions and maybe not push as hard. This is where that champions mindset comes into play. You might be thinking, “I’m not going to be a champion, so why do I have to do that?” You’re right, there is only one winner in a sport at the end of the competition, but we’re not talking about the competition, we are talking about the mindset. You could get last place at a competition, but if you put in everything that YOU have and know that you did everything you could, AND have a positive attitude with yourself, that is a champions mindset. It’s not exclusive to just the Rich Froning’s and Katrin Davidsdottir’s of the CF world, they just adopted this way of thinking. You can too, but it takes a commitment that not many are willing to take.

What does it look like to adopt this mindset? For everyone it is going to be slightly different, but there are some things (in my opinion) that will be common among all of them. Let’s lay it out simply.

  1. Constant Ambition/Motivation
  2. Confidence
  3. Humility
  4. Mental Toughness
  5. Positivity
  6. Outside the Box Thinking
  7. Commitment
  8. Habit

These are just some of the things that I believe 99% of champions have in common. If you adopt these things into all ways of your life, then you will see differences in everything that you do. On that list, the one thing that makes everything seem a little less like work and more like it’s just a way of life is HABIT. If you do anything enough with consistency, it will turn into a habit and when that happens, your subconscious takes over for a lot of what you do, and now all of the sudden the work is easier. You will find that you get more quality work done. Doing this will not only help you, but it will help others around you to be better. I am a firm believer that in some way we should help those we can with the talents that we have been given while pursuing the best life that we truly want.

So now, what does this look like in your training? Once again, there are going to be subtle differences with everyone and how you attack your unique situations.

  1. Know when you are actually tired vs just not in the “mood”.
  2. If you choose not to recover just as hard as you train, then you aren’t really training. Adopt the mindset.
  3. Chances are, you can always go a little harder. Don’t take the easy way out.
  4. Do the boring monotonous work, it serves a purpose. Not everything you do will be fun, but your mindset can make it enjoyable or a chore. You choose.
  5. Commit to proper fueling of your body. Drink more water, eat more vegetables.
  6. If you define your worth for likes on Instagram, you have already lost.
  7. Embrace adversity. This is what induces change, like a muscle being torn down and building up again, so you must do with the mind.
  8. Attack your fears head on. Afraid of muscle ups and running, it’s a perfect time to do some muscle ups and running. When you think you are getting better at them, you guessed it, do more. Make the choice that they will be a strength.
  9. Enjoy yourself and always be humbled. There is always someone better than you.
  10. Know your “why” and stay committed to it. You won’t be able to snatch 300 pounds or run a 5 minute mile forever. Everything you do and what you train for should have a greater purpose than just your spot on the podium. After all, it’s about the journey and not the destination and who you enjoy it with. This is outside the box thinking.