GPF: Keep Your Head In It by Chris Spealler (tips for The Open)

Keep Your Head In It

Welcome to “Guest Post Friday”! I will be featuring posts from individuals who have solid input about the mental side of fitness, training, and life. I tend to gravitate towards witty and honest posts, that actually give you tips to help you improve. This post was written a year ago, right at the end of The Open, so it is great timing because the tips all carry over to this year!

Check out the post below written by Chris Spealler

[Editor’s Note: this post was originally posted on April 3, 2013 on Chris’s site]

It’s almost over, tomorrow is the announcement of the last Open Workout of the 2013 CrossFit Games Season.  Keep your head in it.  We have all had ups hand downs in the Open.  You may have had some performances that have left you feeling like you could have done better, maybe even after multiple attempts.  Others you may have surprised yourself and have gotten a glimpse at how far you have come which is really what it is all about.  Leaderboarding aside tomorrow is a new day.  The last workout is just as new as the first.  Here are some things that I have learned that may help you keep your head in it as you get after the last WOD.  Most of which I have learned from others, and some on my own.


  • The past doesn’t define you TODAY:  This is a new workout that sits before you and NONE of your past performances dictate what you can do on this workout and what you WILL do if you set out to do it.
  • Set small goals, and I mean small:  When it gets tough, like it does for all of us, set micro goals.  Ben had me working on this the week I visited him and it’s tremendously helpful.  It may be just getting your hands on a bar again, keeping your hands off your knees, turing to face the next exercise.  You have to do all of these things before the next rep and you are one step closer to it when you do it.
  • EVERYONE is nervous:  We all think that we are the only ones that get the jitters and that everyone else is super confident and comfortable with the workout. No one is, some just manage it better than others, and hopefully all of these things help you out with that.
  • Your performance has NO impact on your identity:  If CrossFit is the ONLY thing you have you may think otherwise, but it’s still not WHO you are.  It’s what you do.  I think the only failure is not attempting to get after it at all. 
  •  Before you start the workout remind yourself WHY you are thankful that you can do this:  It may be personal growth, realizing that you have abilities that some may never have, being grateful for a community that you are part of, etc.  Either way, take a look at the bigger pic and make sure you have a reality check before the 3,2,1 go.
  • Give yourself a grounding point:  When things get nasty, along with those micro goals get back to a phrase or word that grounds you in confidence.  I often find myself saying “Calm and Strong”, or “We’ve got this”.  I’m not alone in it and I won’t phrase things like that (make sense?).
  • Walk away having left it all out there:  No matter what, I really believe that no one will judge you based on your performance.  We all may want to see someone or another do well.  But the reality is that we are all so incredibly motivated by ANYONE that pours their heart out and lays it all on the line.  Regardless of the outcome walk away knowing it was all you had.

Hopefully you can take a couple of these with you before attacking the last WOD.  Remember, CrossFit is not the Games.  The community of people that throw down every day is CrossFit.  As Rx’d or not, a regional or games contender or not.  Soccer mom to elite athlete, we make up the community.  The overwhelming majority of the community may never walk on the Games stadium floor but will have far more impact on their local community and possibly even farther by their daily efforts in the gym. THAT is CrossFit.


About The Author: You all know CrossFit legend Chris Spealler. He is a mentally and physically strong athlete, who sets a great example. He is an outstanding coach and a ridiculously talented athlete who loves to push himself. If you haven’t already met Chris, I hope you get to. At the very least, follow Chris on Twitter & Instagram. Make sure to check out his blog. Check out CrossFIt Park City!

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