During this last Open Season, workout 17.1 was by far the most challenging for me as an athlete. The workout included an ascending rep ladder of dumbbell snatches accompanied by 15 burpee box jump overs between each set. Prior to starting the workout, I recall feeling confident, capable, and relatively unconcerned about performing the movements. I loved burpee box jumps and how hard could a couple of dumbbell snatches really be?
Fast forward to the set of 40 dumbbell snatches, a little over halfway through the workout, and my confidence and attitude were dropping faster than my burpees. The worst part was that this emotional/mental shift was expressed throughout my entire body…and it was noticeable. “Change your body language!”, I could hear someone yell to me. Unfortunately that didn’t make a difference. My body not only heard every negative thought that was racing through my mind but it also responded to them. My shoulders were rounded forward, my pace slowed, I was giving up right in the middle of it all. “Why am I struggling this much?”, I thought. “There’s no way I’ll be able to finish this…the door is right there! Just make up an excuse, drop the weight and GET OUT!”
I didn’t drop the weight, I didn’t run away, the workout was completed. By the end of it all I was incredibly frustrated and dissatisfied with my performance, but in hindsight it was the best workout I could have asked for. Discovering how we perform when things go wrong, when our minds check out, or when workouts (or LIFE) are much MUCH harder than expected gives us the tools and the know-how to tackle them in the future. Our mental state before, during, and even after workouts is vital to our feeling accomplished and successful. The same can be said of our mindset for an important work meeting, a school speech, or a tough conversation with a loved one. Set your mind right, control your body language, and color your thoughts with positivity.
“Your mind will take the shape of what you frequently hold in thought, for the human spirit is colored by such impressions.”
-Marcus Aurelius, MEDITATIONS, 5.16