Written by Tom Verman
When we think of CrossFit, we think of the workouts, recovery, the programming, the RomWod, the nutrition and the maca. However cometh the time, cometh the mindset. Everything pales in comparison to the mindset during the crunch. You could have the athleticism of Rich Froning, but without a mind made of steel, you will fail well before you experience the fullness of your physical glory. 10% body and 90% mind? Perhaps, but I think we can delve deeper into it.
The question you need to ask yourself is “Why?” Why do you workout 3 times a week, enter the open, run in the rain, try to live a healthy lifestyle, etc? The list can go on and on, but many of us tend to jump on the bandwagon without identifying the purpose behind our efforts. Is it because CrossFit has the best socks?? Our influencers can be positive or negative in our lives. They can come from deep within us, or they can be a strong external pressure, all of which can be good, or not so good. Is it genuinely out of health reasons, or for the love of fitness? If it is health reasons, do you want to get healthy or did your doctor or spouse tell you to?. If it is fitness, is it the love of movement or the drive to get to the Games? Or is it for others’ approval, or our own self worth? There are many tools that we can use to improve our mental state and make a shift toward positive thinking, but my belief is that we first have to be grounded in our “why.”
Chris Spealler explains that when we identify why we are training it provides us with 3 things.
- Purpose: This is much of the reason why we are doing it. When we train with purpose we are reminded of our why. It gives us the motivation and direction allowing us to set realistic and accurate goals.
- Passion: When our “why” has been identified, it often provides us with the passion that many of us have lost. Instead of mindlessly going into the gym or a training session because it’s a sense of duty, we know why we are there. We know what we will get out of it and how it will help us get one step closer to reaching our goals.
- Drive: This is the innate desire or need to stick with something and see it through to the end. Our drive can look different depending on our season of life. Some can be driven to strive toward competing at the CrossFit Games. If that is one of our realistic goals and we are passionate about it, we will make the sacrifices to live the lifestyle required to get there. On the other hand, if our goal is to be healthier for our family, be more active with our kids, or improve our quality of life, our drive will accommodate this lifestyle.
If you find yourself stagnating in your fitness, go back to your “why”. It changes over time. This is normal, but rarely do people take the time to reevaluate why they are doing it. For me, after finishing my (illustrious) rugby career, I needed something active but competitive for me to get stuck into. This eventually evolved into looking better physically and striving for that and then eventually aiming for competitive fitness. This is now evolving into just being healthy again. It has not been an easy road identifying why I am training now, setting new goals, and finding the positive reasons for doing it. But continually, I am finding myself enjoying training again, more than ever before. The community aspect. The lifestyle. The T-Shirts. My Purpose, Passion, and Drive support this lifestyle.
Had I not taken the time to identify why I train, I think it would have left me in one of two places. One, training out of duty, and I would have had a total lack of enjoyment with it. Feeling the need to be where I once was, please others, be better than the rest. This pressure can quickly diminish any enjoyment and genuine gains from training really quickly. Two, I would have had to completely walk away from it. If my reasons for training were negative and I couldn’t find the positive, I think my frustration would have risen and caused me to end up disliking training so much that I would have found another mindset, and my training would likely be less effective and less community oriented. I’m far too ADHD at the best of times.
Take a moment to sit back and identify your why. Maybe you are more motivated than ever, and you make lifestyle changes to accomplish some lofty, but attainable goals. Think of three that are tangible, such as ensuring for a month you hit three classes a week. And then think of some that are intangible, such as feeling more positive about training or life (these are harder to measure so go for an out of 10 type thing). Write these down and refer to them and change them every six months or so. It’s up to you to ask “why.”