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.
Check out this post from Mino, an amazing athlete who I have been working with recently.
GORUCK Mindset Challenge
Last week I completed what was probably, no, was definitely the most mentally challenging thing I have ever done. I was a college athlete, outdoor rock climber and I’m an avid CrossFitter, yet this was still the most mentally challenging thing I have ever done.
It began in the dark of the with a trek to the beach where we immediately began PT in the ocean and sand in what turned out to be a 14 hour, 16.5 mile GORUCK Challenge that involved, but wasn’t limited to: midnight burpees and flutter kicks in the ocean, bear crawls, more push-ups and air squats than I care to admit, log carries, sandbag carries, people carries, sprints up Lombard, OH Squats, all done while carrying a backpack with 6 bricks inside.
Almost immediately I started wondering “Why am I doing this?” There was absolutely no reason I needed to be doing burpees in the ocean in the middle of the night… EXCEPT for the fact that it was part of an experience I signed up for. The answer came to me almost immediately in a surprisingly convincing voice in my head… “Because you want to get better, because you want to be the best version of yourself, because you want to prove to yourself how far you can push yourself mentally and physically.” This voice became a prevalent one through the night, into the dawn, and all the way to the conclusion the next afternoon. Of course this voice would get become background noise at times so I began focusing on a couple of cues besides my “WHY”.
The first was to focus on the 5 most important words that I want to express in my thoughts and actions (this was a mental training drill that I did recently).
My 5 words are:
Confident (Belief in myself)
At first, simply trying to recite the words in my head kept my mind off the reality that I was cold, wet, tired and hungry. Then I began to really internalize each word individually and self-reflect on how I was fulfilling each word in the moment. Was I being selfless and staying at the front carrying the team weight? Was I reliable and continuing to motivate my team? Was I driven and confident that I would not only accomplish and finish but that I would do it in a way I would be proud of? Did I carry and give off a positive energy? Continuing to reflect on each of these words kept me in check and made it so that I was able to be the person I wanted to be throughout the challenge, rather than letting the suck get to me. I was embracing it and focusing on being the best version of me.
The second cue I kept going back to was tied to one of my words, Positive Energy (two words I know). The best way for me to exude this was to smile, and as I look back at photos of the event there are all these examples of me wearing this stupid smile when from the outside there was no reason to be. Throughout the event I focused on smiling and embracing that how I felt was a choice and it was my choice alone, I might as well enjoy it and get better
Hakuna Matata (you know it) was the song that popped in my head and became a cue to smile and enjoy the process. By the end, I had been humming and singing the stupid song so much, others on the team were saying it as a cue to mentally go to that “happy place”.
This was one of the most rewarding things I have ever accomplished because of the mental challenge that came with it. Before I made a focus and commitment to improving my mental ability and drive, I would have only focused on finishing and though I still would have, I wouldn’t have been as fulfilled about how I did it. I wouldn’t have grown stronger in the way I did either. I know for a fact that despite being determined to finish, I wouldn’t have done it with the same attitude or stayed pushing myself the entire time and grown in the way I did.
Because of my recent mental training with Coach Dawn of Mentality WOD, I was able to not only finish and complete it, but I enjoyed the process and did it in a way that I was proud of. Simply finishing is no longer acceptable; I now look at how I did it and if it was my absolute best effort. This is only one challenge and I’m still early in the process but I know that with a continued focus on mental training I will get better every day.
About the author: Mino Solomon is a bad ass. He is an athlete who competes in CrossFit and every day in his life. He is director of group sales for the Oakland Raiders! You can connect with him on Instagram and Twitter.