What Type of Mentality Helps You Perform?

Occasionally I feature posts from other individuals who have helpful input about the mental side of fitness, training or life. I learn a lot from the athletes who I work with, and I love to share their stories and tips.

Enjoy this post by April Lowe, CrossFit Masters Athlete (2015 &2016 CF Games) and someone who I’ve had the pleasure of coaching over the past 6 months. She recently finished 3rd place at The 2017 Wodapalooza and is prepping for The Open.


What Type of Mentality Helps You Perform Your Best?

I have discovered recently that I perform my best when I approach each competitive situation with a thankful heart. I found this out in the last few months while competing in the MIA Classic and American Open Weightlifting Meets, The Wodapalooza Qualifier, and The Wodapalooza.

As I am reflecting on these last few months and comparing it to my experience at the 2016 CrossFit Games, I realize the biggest difference from then to now is my attitude. See, at The Games, I didn’t feel like I had the mental composure and strength that I do now. At the time, I wasn’t sure what to focus on and how to set myself up for success. I wasn’t able to perform like I felt I was capable of performing, mostly because of my mental game. I knew that I needed to make a change, and begin working on it as soon as I got home from Carson. I hired Dawn Fletcher and we got to work.

We are all motivated by different factors. No one way is right or wrong. I have tried different approaches over the years. I have never competed well in an angry or aggressive – that will never help me PR or move faster in a metcon. Getting super hyped doesn’t work either because I start off too fast and fizzle out. And even though I believe I have always been grateful for what I get to do, I never consistently felt that way in competitions. Mostly, I’ve just walked around in a haze feeling scared, nervous and anxious in competitions.

When I am intentional about finding gratitude in the middle of the competitive event, everything changes. I stop looking at my competitors and comparing, I stop feeling fearful and afraid… I feel less stressed. TIME SLOWS DOWN. I laugh, I smile, I feel lighter. I embrace the nerves instead of wasting energy fighting them. I find ways to ENJOY the moment.

In the middle of all the craziness of a competition, I start giving thanks.

I give thanks for:

  • My coaches and the support crew for giving up their time to coach me in the event
  • My health, athleticism, and strength
  • The opportunity to reconnect with so many friends I rarely get to see
  • The awesome text messages and well wishes my friends and family are sending me
  • The nerves because I know they are telling me I am doing something that matters
  • The ability to live a life that challenges and excites me
  • The fact that I get to/choose to do this

In the past, I’d allow my thoughts and emotions to be determined by my surroundings and the people around me. Now, I know how to prep myself mentally, so I can determine my attitude, which sets me up for performing my best. I commit to certain practices that help me feel calmer and more confident.

I’m continuing to work on my mentality because I know that I want to be able to adapt to anything that CrossFit (or life) throws at me. I want to stay present, stay grateful and continue to compete with the best in the sport. I want to focus on what I can control, and trust that the rest will work itself out, hopefully taking me back to The Games.

It’s exciting to have finally tapped into what makes me a better competitor and more importantly what makes competing so much more enjoyable. What type of mentality helps you perform your best? Comment below.


Connect With April

Instagram: cfaklowe

Contact: aprillowe9@gmail.com


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  1. Kris says

    For me, the best mindset is to battle against my best, and not worry about others. Sure, when running a race there are other people all around you, but I can’t control other people’s genetics or training or effort. I can just control my own. I’m just a weekend athlete so maybe it’s different at higher levels of competition, but that’s the mindset that works best for me.

    • ffmentalitywod says

      Thanks for your comment Kris, I think that’s very helpful insight to add to the convo – it is a LEARNED practice and I think every athlete can benefit from continuing to refocus on that which you can influence

  2. Kalana says

    Very interesting approach here! I have never thought about this.

    Personally, I have a very different approach. I write all my goals down onto paper, I write EXACTLY how I am going to achieve them – and a deadline for when I will achieve them.

    Currently, I have some fat on my stomach which I am working hard at removing before bulking again. When I workout at the gym, say for example – when I am running on the treadmill or doing laps in the pool. I have this mentality where I “pretend” I am a machine. I say in my head “I am going to keep on going for x amount of minutes.” And I literally think, “there is no way, under no circumstances that I am going to stop. If I end up in hospital, that is fine. As long as I reach my goal.” It’s a very ‘hardcore’ mentality, but I have found it to be very beneficial personally.

    I am actually thinking of writing an article about this sort of mentality on my blog. I think when you trick your conscious mind into thinking this body is not yours, but of a machine, then subconsciously you are able to push yourself even harder.

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