This interview features Chelsey Hughes who began competing for Brick CrossFit in the Summer of 2012. She is dominated The CrossFit Open and her mentality positive and strong.
Check out Chelsey’s answers to my interview questions and learn more about the mindset of this great athlete.
1.Why do you do CrossFit?
I also CrossFit because it’s FUN!! I love the variety. Love the constant challenges. Love the people. Endless combinations of workouts, sweaty celebrations, the ability to be a life long athlete, inspiring others to make health a priority.
Also, I sorta dig being part of something from the early stages. Those of us in the industry understand the massive potential for the sport; it’s exciting to help mold that in some small way.
My favorite scripture is Romans 8:38 – “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Like any scripture its meaning in my life is new with each phase/life stage, but it’s one that I constantly go back to. It reminds me to rise above, to conquer; that with God’s crazy powerful love and strength, we can persevere any challenge.
3. What do focus on thinking about in the minutes leading up to a WOD or event?
I think about EVERYTHING! The workout, the competitors, my outfit, my game plan, what I’ll eat and drink, how I want to feel, how I want to finish. Sometimes you have days to strategize (like the Open), weeks to practice (like regionals), and sometimes only moments before 3, 2, 1, GO (like the Games). Regardless of the amount of time I have to strategize, to mentally prepare, I make sure to properly visualize, give myself a pep talk and figure out a way to insert some fun. I have a warmup routine that begins the same no matter what the workout is. Getting into this routine helps me focus. It’s like doing the movements sends signals to my brain to start getting ready for action.
In the past couple years I re-routed my professional life so that I could train and compete. Reminding myself of this sacrifice and the immense opportunities in front of me in the sport inspire me to bring my very best effort.
4. What strategies do you use to mentally recover after a WOD that didn’t go quite how you wanted it to?
Some people can laugh things off. I have a few teammates who are dancers and they can dance their way back to having fun. Not me. I tend to beat myself up. I’m learning to quickly refocus on the next challenge.
When a WOD doesn’t go as I hoped or planned, I analyze why and what exactly went wrong, then quickly bounce back. When you’re competing you don’t have a lot of time to dwell on a workout that’s already over; you have to move on to the next event. It’s better to look back over the weekend once it’s complete and dissect what you learned. In the middle of competition though, you have to constantly be able to “hit refresh” in your mind.
In CrossFit sometimes you have to do this in the middle of working out, if the points are divided into multiple scores. Understanding what’s at stake and how you can make the most of what you’re doing at that very moment, despite disappointments in the past is crucial.
Mental toughness is important because our minds and bodies work together. The very nature of our sport requires that we be in discomfort to excel. Learning to embrace that discomfort mentally enables us to handle it physically. Before CrossFit I ran marathons. From experience I knew that my body would begin to break down around mile 23 because that’s as far as my training had taken me, and my mind and willpower would have to carry me through the last few miles. Around mile 20 I would start playing mind games, preparing myself to embrace the pain before it even set in. The pain in running a marathon is much more predictable than in CrossFit, but the idea to ready yourself for discomfort before it hits you really helps. Luckily in CrossFit the pain doesn’t usually last that long!
6. If you had to use 5 words to describe yourself as an athlete, what would you use?
competitive, driven, well-rounded, passionate, determined