If you would have asked me a couple of months ago if I were a mentally sound athlete, or human in general, I would confidently say, “yeah, sure.” I can make myself keep going in a workout. I can somewhat stay calm, breathe, and push through when my body is telling me to stop – especially in a competition. Well, through this training process, I’ve realized that I in fact am not so mentally sound. In fact, I’m pretty much a basket case.
I never really knew how much of a mental case I was until I started training hard. I’ve flipped out to myself and to others more than I probably ever have before. It’s affected everything from my sleep to conversations with people because I’ve been so dang distracted. I’ll admit to you that I’ve noticed little character traits in me that I don’t like. I get uptight, and I have pretty negative thoughts about myself. And it’s made working out not as much fun.
But with less than a week left before Regionals, I’ve been trying to get that mind right. So, I’ve been trying hard to think more positively, pray, remember why I’m doing this in the first place, and honestly, I’ve just tried to suck it up.
Since then, here is how the past week has gone down:
I’ve been mostly flippin’ out about the first event. I hate snatching. I hit a snatch PR this past week. To the athletes I’m about to go compete against, it’s nothing impressive. But to me, it’s gold. It’s gold because it set me up mentally to meet my goal for Event 1, when honestly, I’ve been terrified of it. Although I’m not where I want to be when it comes to the ole’ snatch, Colin has been working with me on it, and I have improved a lot, and instead of getting down on myself and focusing on how I’ll never make it to the last set of snatches (or probably the set of weights before that.. or before that :)) I’m going to focus on that PR and the improvement I’ve seen in myself.
PS. I know this still isn’t considered a “great snatch,” but if you saw me 3 weeks ago, you’d agree that this is a win- jump forward and all.
Also, last Monday I went and ran on a True Form Runner. Most people hate this thing, and they make it clear (on their face, and by their words) that they can’t stand it. You are the motor. You power the thing. If you stop, or even slow down really, you feel it. Mentally, that would suck. Now don’t get me wrong- I’d much rather go for a casual run around a garden or something, but I have now somehow talked myself up to loving the True Form – even when it’s combined with deadlifts. This mindset has made me so excited to take on Event 5.
Another way I’ve been preparing mentally is this little game we play at CFEC called Nutmeg. If you workout at CFEC, you’ve probably heard of it. Either you love it, or you hate it. I’m not going to ramble on to you about all the rules, but it’s basically every (wo)man for themself – there are balls flying, people getting hit in the face, crazy glasses, Steve Perry, the best of 80’s Pop, dangles, handstands — if it doesn’t make you mentally stronger, I dunno what will. My friend, Shawn Hanna, is the instigator and has played a huge role in increasing my mental capacity over the past two years, really, but more specifically, the past month. Nutmegs aren’t a good thing. Basically it means the ball went between your legs. It’s the worst. But I’ve been on the quest (not on purpose) to 100 nutmegs in 2016 before Regionals. Well, good thing I not only surpassed 100 this past week, but I actually got 101. The purpose of me telling you this: Surround yourself with people who make you stronger mentally. Nutmeg has made me more mentally sound, and therefore, it has been an extensive part of my training.
Last, but not least – I did Events 3,4,& 5 yesterday. I woke up feeling great, but as I got to the gym and started warming up, I felt terrible. I wasn’t scared of the workouts, I just felt a lot of pressure to do reallllllly well on them. I’ve come a long way on skills like butterfly pullups and pistols, but I couldn’t find my rhythm on butterfly pullups, and then I tore my hand before we even started, and then I couldn’t do pistols when we were warming up. It was the set up for disaster. So, I just decided to do what was familiar to me, which is really humbling – all my pullups kipping, and I actually finished the workout that way before the time cap. SO looks like I’ll probably be the only athlete kipping pullups at regionals, and that’s ok because “kippin’ aint easy, y’all.” I then told myself that I could do pistols (as I did my first one 2 weeks ago) and I did way better on event 4. And then I told myself that I wasn’t too tired to deadlift 275 pounds 21 times, and I did better on event 5 from the previous week. All because I made a choice to just suck it up, and get it done.
Almost done- bare with me- people have been showing me way more love than I deserve, and I’m holding on to all the positivity. Words mean a lot to me. Colin keeps putting up with me (I dunno how he does it). Nick keeps telling me that he thinks I’m going to win (thanks Nick). Daniel keeps telling me he’s proud of me. And people at CFEC have been so encouraging to me.
Last, but not least, here is an article I read by Josh Bridges – who I’m guessing will probably win the Cali region in about an hour or so, and he should because of that mustache: Breaking the Mental Barrier- By Josh Bridges
The purpose of this isn’t to bore you, or to rave about what I’ve accomplished in the gym. But I want you to know that only you can control your thoughts. Here’s what I’ve learned through it:
- Take every thought captive – only you control your thoughts. Your thoughts will either make you crumble, or they’ll change things for the better.
- Figure out your “Why?” – and go back to it when you need to remember why you’re doing what you’re doing in the first place.
- <— make sure you are a part of that “why.” At least some part of what you’re doing has to be for you (not necessarily all of it though).
- Have go to’s – for me, I have everything from Bible verses(2 Corinthians 10:5 and Philippians 1:6 to name a few), to quotes, to song lyrics (Right now, I legitimately rap “make me proud” by Drake on the way to the gym everyday).
- I don’t necessarily have to quit being critical of myself, but instead, if I am critical of myself to someone else, I follow it up with something positive.
- Sometimes you just have to suck it up, get over yourself, and go for it. You’ll feel better when it’s over.
- Don’t be afraid to be humbled.
I can’t wait to be in Atlanta in less than a week, competing with some pretty great people, with no expectations other than to do my best and have fun while doing it. I’m sure there will be times that I flip out, but I’m more ready than I was to control those thoughts, calm myself back down, and get my mind right.
Ok, have a great week, and be nice to yourself. No pressure.
Oh, yeah, and I almost forgot a recipe. I’ve been slacking with trying out new food lately. So, here is another recipe that we love from PaleOMG. It builds on that fried cauli I talked about last week: Chicken Bacon Rice Bowl