The Voice in your Head

“As you listen to that voice in your head, that voice becomes your best or worst coach. Nobody will coach you more than that voice. If that voice was projected over the loudspeaker, would you be proud of it?

– Ben Bergeron.

Have you ever found yourself mindless scrolling through social media until a post comes along and grabs your attention? Well, this quote did just that for me while looking for “fitness motivation”. And by
“fitness motivation”, I mean I actually searched “Ben Bergeron quotes” on Pinterest. Yes, true story, but that’s besides the point. We are all typically our own worst critics. We’ve all heard this before, but have you ever paid close attention to what you tell yourself during the day? Or, for the purpose of this post, during a workout?

There is power in positivity, so why do we so often resort to negative thoughts/self talk during a workout? Ever since becoming a coach, I’ve sometimes felt like quite the hypocrite when it comes to this quote. I will tell you, “you CAN do this, to keep going, to stay strong, dig deep”, etc all class long. But, when it comes to my own workouts, that voice can quickly change into: “gosh this sucks, why are you so damn out of breath right now?, why can’t you go faster?, why are you
still resting? PICK UP THE BAR” I will physically start to shake my head when I feel like I should be doing better (just ask Coach Meg, she saw me do this). Sound familiar during your workouts? Maybe. Let’s keep going.

Think back to a day when you could barely perform or string together a movement that typically came easy for you? Or the weight on the barbell felt SO heavy when usually light? For me, one day in particular pops into my mind. The WOD was called “Flight Simulator” and it goes as follows: 5-10-15-20-25-30-35-40-45-50-45-40-35-30-25-20-15-5 unbroken DU/SU’s for time. A workout of straight double unders? Sweet, I got this. 5…10…15…20…25…26, 27, 28, gosh, I could do this all da– and then it happened. I broke the set not once, not twice, but three times. I started to feel defeated by the workout. At that moment I knew, or at least told myself, I wasn’t going to finish the workout. The amount of obscenities coming into my mind (and let’s be real, out of my mouth) was absurd. So, what was the most logical thing to do in the moment? Grip those handles harder than ever, violently whip that rope up and around my body and show it who’s boss, right? Hard no. All I ended up with was what seemed like hundreds of rope marks on my shins and a time capped workout at 20min. I left in a sour mood with thoughts of how badly I had just failed that workout.

I’ll let you in on a little not-so-secret secret. We have the ability to control our thoughts and the voice in our head. The pressure we may put on ourselves before and during a workout? We create it. No, it’s not easy to change our thoughts especially in the middle of a tough workout, but it is something worth practicing.

Fast forward to the second time “Flight Simulator” came around. I knew I had to change something in order to finish the workout. Was I any better at double unders? Maybe, but not likely. Was I using a better rope? No sir, same one. Was I able to change my self talk during the
entire workout? You bet I was. After every single round I told myself, “breathe, stay calm, you only have to do 5 more reps than that set”. And guess what magical thing happened? I finished Flight Simulator completely unbroken. The “you suck at double unders…you can’t finish the workout…you might as well give up” voice turned into “just five more reps…you freaking got this…breathe and do another set, just like the last.”

Have I mastered the art of positive self talk and mindset? Heck no, but I have experienced what can happen when you switch that negative voice to a positive one. To the voice you want to hear over the loudspeaker, not the one you’d be embarrassed of others hearing. It can be as simple as, “Wow, this sucks. But I CAN do it. I AM doing it. Just keep going.” As a coach, I can encourage you all workout long, but a little positivity from that coach in your noggin’ helps a helluva lot
too. Whether you are trying to hit a PR or simply trying to finish a workout, don’t lose grasp of what your mind says to you. Don’t let it tell you that you can’t or that you won’t. I challenge you to try it out next time you workout. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, grab a few friends and give Flight Simulator a whirl.

~Coach Jennifer DiNizio

Coaches Corner

Are you off the Wagon?

Has it been awhile since you have been to the gym? It doesn’t matter why –  injury, laziness, busy with life, etc. Does it feel like a daunting task to go back? You are not alone, this is a pretty common thing after a prolonged break from whatever fitness thing you are into.
So how do you make that first step back in? Deep down or maybe not so deep for some people, you have a reason to exercise. It was the reason you signed up in the first place. Maybe you wanted to lose weight, or gain weight or meet people in the community. Maybe you “should” be physically fit for your job, or maybe you want to be healthier to play with your grand kids. Maybe you have some life goals as well, like running a marathon or completing a Spartan Race. It might not be something you have shared with anyone, but you definitely know what that reason is.
Do you feel like you are starting over? So what? Start over. At least you are back on the path to finding, discovering or reaching your WHY.  Everyone encounters set backs in their life but if you gave up every time things got hard, what would you accomplish?
Revisit your reason or your “WHY”, is this still something you want? If so, lets do it! And if you have never considered your “WHY”, sit down and write down a few goals to close out 2018, and jump start your list for 2019. After you’ve determined some goals – right down your WHY – Why are they your goals? Why are you trying to accomplish them? Who are you doing this for? When thinking about these things, also think about what motivates you? What drives you to be a better version of yourself?
Grab a friend or a coach, tell them when you are going and keep yourself accountable. Get yourself a calendar and cross out everyday you go. Go 15 times this month. It doesn’t matter if you go sit in the corner and stretch because you are sore. You got up, you went, and you are recreating a habit and working towards your goals.
Start today – don’t wait! You will never ALWAYS be Motivated, you have to LEARN to be Disciplined!
Coaches Corner

How To Overcome Self-Doubt in the Gym

How To Overcome Self-Doubt in the Gym

Intimidation and self-doubt are some of the first things I hear when talking to people about CrossFit. For instance, they are concerned they “are too old to workout like that,” “can’t lift weights,” “burpees are too difficult,” or they are “not able to do a push-up, pull-up,” etc. While coaches and other gym members may reassure you that they have been in your place at one time, it can be difficult to contain your anxiety when you see someone who can do every movement with seamless perfection.

Here are a few ideas that can help squash the self-doubt when first entering the gym and along your fitness journey.

1. Know you’re not alone.
Everyone has doubts. Rather than waste energy worrying, recognize that self-doubt can be helpful. Do not let negative thoughts overcome your will to succeed. Perhaps you’ll spend more time practicing or maybe you’ll put in more effort when you’re aware that there’s a chance it might not go smoothly. The more comfortable you become with the process, the easier it gets.

2. Stop worrying about what others think.
There will always be someone who appears to be doing better, getting further or lifting more. Do not benchmark yourself against others’ accomplishments. Take this year’s Open, for instance. Each person had their favorite workout that favored their best movement. Someone else’s accomplishments are not a litmus test to grade your own success. Remember when you find yourself in this thought pattern that everyone is on his or her own journey.

3. Set and record goals.
In addition to setting long-term goals, remember to establish attainable, short-term ones. For example, small goals can be losing one pound versus an entire 20, finally getting double unders or more than 10 single jumps in a row. Keep track of these accomplishments and your progress because it is motivating and helps keep your self-confidence up. Set goals for the day, during a workout, or for a week’s worth of WOD’s. Continue to chip away each day, week, month, and so on. It’s easy to let doubt creep in when your big long term goals aren’t immediately attained. By achieving smaller goals along the way, you can constantly take reassurance in frequent, albeit small, triumphs.

4. Surround yourself with the right people.
Keep the people who encourage you close and seek out their feedback on a regular basis. Do not be afraid to ask questions or ask for suggestions. As coaches, we want you to achieve your goals and to get there it may be the difference in a hand position or getting a little lower in a squat. Such slight changes in technique can really make a difference and help you get closer to ringing that PR bell!

5. Let go of negative self-perception.
Most people have an idealistic image of themselves, and I will use my own experience as an example. I don’t mind burpees, box jumps or dumbbell snatches, so when 17.1 was announced I thought “Yes! I like these movements, it couldn’t possibly be that hard, I got this!” Boy was I wrong! I failed to live up to that image of myself and I let doubt sink in. Despite your best efforts and intentions, mistakes happen and it doesn’t make sense to dwell on them. Instead, learn from each blunder and actively develop better habits.

6. Don’t fear a change of plan.
When joining a gym you have a plan: a plan to lose weight, get healthy, get in shape or become stronger. In all of these instances you must pace yourself. It takes time. Time for your body to become adjusted to new food choices, heavier weight or moving in ways you never thought possible. So a particular WOD didn’t go your way or you couldn’t lift as heavy as you did last week, sometimes it’s as easy as stepping away and refocusing. Take a rest day, do a different movement, take some weight off, look at your short term goals and reassess. Every day is a new day and you always have the ability to start fresh.

7. Face your fears.
The more you push yourself, the more you’ll realize what you are capable of. So what if you do not have push-ups today or next week or even next month! With hard work, practice and dedication, you will get there. You CAN do it, it will just take time. Learn to practice patience.

8. Worst-case scenario.
Self-doubt is fueled by thoughts like, “I’m not going to be able to finish,” “I can’t get a pull-up,” “I won’t be able to lift that.” When you find yourself guessing, things will go poorly. Instead, ask yourself “what’s really the worst thing that could happen?” If you do mess up or finish last, would it really be that bad? You are surrounded by others who know the pain you are going through. Fail or not you are encouraged to try your hardest and not give in to self-doubt. Remind yourself that even if things go terribly, you are there, continuing to change and making progress towards your goals. AND most of all, you are not alone!

Coach Sarah