If you’re a CrossFitter, then I know you’ve been to that dark place in the middle of a WOD. We all have, whether you're a Games athlete, or if it’s your first ever CrossFit workout, we’ve all gone there. It’s a miserable little piece of hell where WODs go to die, and once you've crossed over to the Dark Side, it’s very hard to return.
There are countless times during metcons or before a new PR lift that I have gotten inside my head and totally self-destructed. I start slowing down, staring at the bar, or failing at weights I should be lifting. I tell myself how much it hurts, and how I don’t feel like doing it. Once I start down this slippery slope, it’s bad news bears.
"I Can Do This"
But lately, I’ve been trying a different method to help me get through workouts and set new PRs. I’ve been doing things I’ve never done before because I was too scared to try and too scared to fail at. Lately all I’ve been telling myself is: “You can do this. Your body CAN do this.”
Just writing that sounds so cheesy and so cliché. But you know what? It freaking works.
There is a girl at our box who I look up to. She’s strong as hell, never seems to slow down in workouts, and is just a straight up machine. When we work out together, I’m lucky if I stay within five or six minutes of her metcon times. She pushes me to just keep moving, whether she knows it or not.
I always wondered how the heck she does it. How does she just push on and on and never stop? While I’m wallowing in a pool of self-pity, staring at the pull-up bar, she is continually banging out reps like it’s nothing.
One day, while I was hanging around at the box, I was watching her and another friend hit a miserable WOD that was looming in my near future. I was dreading everything about it. Rowing, heavy cleans, burpees, every two minutes on the minute for 20 minutes. Hell. But as I was watching my friend, I literally saw her say out loud:
“I can do this.”
Those four words stuck with me, and throughout that workout, all I kept telling myself was, “You can do this.” I had to scale the reps of the burpees down at one point to finish within the two minutes, but you know what? I finished that workout without ever thinking of stopping. I didn't tell myself my legs hurt and my lungs were on fire. I told myself to embrace the suck. I finally figured out how she just keeps moving. This time, I finally just kept moving, definitely not as fast as her, but at least I moved.
Not Perfect, But Improving
Don’t get me wrong, I still have workouts where I just want to stop and rest, and a lot of the times, I do. But lately, I’ve felt confident and strong. I’m using positive self-talk more then I ever have before, and I know that’s what’s getting me through workouts. It’s making me a better athlete. And it’s making CrossFit fun again.
Instead of telling myself I can’t do it or I don’t want to do it, I say tell myself to just go. When I approach a bar with a new PR stacked up, I own that bar. I go up to it with confidence, tell myself it’s light, and just I just go for it. Yes, a lot of the times I fail, but many times I come out on top, smiling because I’m amazed that I did it.
I’ve been working on things I’ve always been too scared to try, because I just know I will eventually be able to do it. I’ve been working on handstands and muscle ups, and even though I don't have them yet, I see improvement every time I practice. Instead of getting frustrated and pissed off like I normally would, I take it for what it is and truly believe that I will soon be able to do these things.
You Can Do It Too
Positive self-talk has made world of difference in my CrossFit experience and my performance. No, I still don’t move as fast as my friend, and definitely not as fast as most CrossFitters, but I’m moving. I’m not staring at the bar as long as I used to. I’m building the mentality to do things I don't want to do when I don’t want to do them. And it’s because I can do it. My body can do it. Your body can do it.
So the next time you are traveling down that road to the corner of WOD hell, change your mentality. Change your mindset. Tell yourself that you can get one more rep, or you can go unbroken, and that you will hit that PR. Tell yourself those four magic words "I can do this" and I guarantee that you will be doing things you never thought you could in no time!