Whether we know it or not, our mindset towards a workout and the thoughts we have before, during, and after a WOD affect our abilities to perform.
I want you to imagine that it’s 5:00 pm and you check the WOD for tomorrow
21-15-9 reps of:
Overhead squat 95/65
Toes to bar
If the first thing you thought was “Oh crap! I hate overhead squats!” or “Dang, I can’t string 21 double unders together!” then you are already at a disadvantage. Before the workout has even started, you are telling yourself that you can’t do something… seems counterproductive to me! You might not realize it, but you are giving yourself an excuse to give up.
Here are three simple steps to hit that workout with a positive mindset.
Step 1: Identify What you Like
When you look at the workout the night before, identify everything that you LIKE about the workout (oh good, the weight isn’t too heavy… or, I’m really good at overhead squatting, I can handle that). Next, take a look at the rest of the workout and identify what is going to be a challenge. Realize that challenges are what make you better, so even if you aren’t stringing double unders together, try changing your mindset to “this is a great WOD to practice DUs.” Finally, put those two things together and come up with a plan. “I’m good at overhead squatting, so I’m going to crush that part of the workout. I’ll pace out the double unders and try to hit big sets, and then try and get big sets of toes to bar with minimal rest.”
Next: the workout actually begins. Have you ever told yourself, or been told by someone, to NOT drop the barbell? You are trying to pump through 21 thrusters, and you tell yourself “don’t drop the barbell.” Our brains, especially during exercise, tend to ignore negative statements. So rather than process “don’t drop the barbell” all you are thinking about is “drop the barbell.”
Step 2: Use Positive Statements
Use only positive statements to yourself or to your friends during a workout. Instead of “don’t drop the barbell”, try “get as many as you can” or “big set.” Also – when you do put down a wall ball, kettlebell, barbell, etc, tell yourself to put your hands back on it. Once you have your hands on the barbell, your body will naturally follow and start back up, reducing your rest time. The quicker you get your hands back down, the quicker you will start back up!
Finally: post-WOD. How many of us have been guilty of finishing a workout and pouting because you didn’t do as well as you wanted? Sometimes we have bad days, bad workouts, we can’t control how everything goes, but we can control how we respond to everything
Step 3: Celebrate The Success of Everyone
As soon as you finish a workout, no matter how long it takes you, go high five everyone else in the room. Praising other people for their good work will naturally make you feel good about yourself. It helps you forget about how you performed, and it also makes everyone else feel great. If there was one movement in particular that gave you trouble, tell yourself that the next time it comes up, you are going to get to the gym 10 minutes early and practice it.
These 3 simple changes to your mindset will have a bigger impact on your performance than you might imagine. Try implementing them the next time you show up to the gym and you will be pleasantly surprised.