3 Tips for Overcoming The Most Challenging Workouts

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Our Favorite Ways To Promote Improvement!

We’ve all been there. You’re staring at that WOD, it’s packed full of all the things you hate, and you DO NOT want to do it. You’ve been logging your food for three weeks now, but its a holiday weekend and there were so many snacks at the BBQ you just couldn’t imagine logging them all. You’re 7 minutes into this work out, you’re completely gassed, and you’re not even half way done yet. All you can think about is stopping. Your split jerk one rep max is 180 and you’ve been trying to hit 190 for three months. It feels like you’ll never get past 180.

Whatever it is, the task in front of you seems impossible. You feel weak, defeated or intimidated. Your thoughts might sound something like: “I’ve never done this before, what makes me think I can do it?”, “I can’t.”or “This is way too hard.” Today we want to tell you about 3 of our favorite ways to get past that challenging moment. The challenge could be anything from learning or practicing a skill, to finally pushing past a new weight in a lift, to mentally preparing for a long or fast-paced work out. It can even be nutrition or diet related, it all applies! I think we can all agree that doing the things that scare us a little bit, things that get us out of our comfort zones and push us past that point of resistance are what creates change, right? Forward movement, improvements, break throughs. These things get us to our goals and encourage us to keep working for a happy, healthy, fit lifestyle! So here we go.

1. Think positive thoughts! Our thoughts really do affect our actions. This concept goes much deeper than just telling yourself “I can do this” before attempting a task. Although one simple thought won’t instantly enable you to squat 50 pounds more than your max, a pattern of thoughts, or the way you talk to yourself can have a very positive or very negative effect on your life. Self talk is a habit that is formed in childhood, it grows and changes with us over the years. It can become destructive without us even realizing it. If you want to change your self talk, it will take practice. Since most people don’t even realize what they are telling themselves in their thoughts, the first step to improving them is to recognize that these conversations are happening at all. Pay attention to your thoughts as you go throughout your day. What kinds of things do you tell yourself? Is your self talk positive and reassuring? Are you playing out arguments or mistakes that have already happened? Are you realistic and honest in your self talks?  Are you imagining yourself failing before you’ve tried?  Do you talk to yourself with love, the way you would want a loved one to talk to themselves? All of this applies in daily tasks as well as in fitness and nutrition! If you are constantly repeating negative thoughts, even in the silence of your own mind, it could be sabotaging your work outs or your nutrition success! Be kind to yourself, encourage yourself like you would encourage a fellow athlete. If you fail, tell yourself you’ll be back for it next time and congratulate yourself on the effort! Just like practicing pull ups or pistols, positive self talk will take some conscious effort on your part. I know, because its something I work on too!

2. Go back to the basics. Say you are struggling to hit a one rep max and are repeatedly failing a lift, or you have a work out coming up that includes a movement that is challenging for you. Before you let yourself get frustrated, take a moment to breathe, and reset. Remember what you learned in the beginning. Think about the foundations. Scale back, lessen the weight, decrease the complexity of the movement. Sometimes when you take a step back and break things down, you will be able to see things more clearly. This may allow you to notice something you’ve been missing, or shine a spotlight on a correction that needs to be made. Sometimes challenging or complex movements can cause us to overthink things and in the process, we lose sight of the basics. So don’t be afraid to grab an empty bar in the middle of trying to find your snatch one rep max, and just remind yourself what it feels like to snatch without weight on the bar. Try doing some single unders while you’re working on your dubs! Or, if your kipping pull up rhythm is off, practice some kipping drills! Simplify for success!

3. Remember: This is only temporary. When it feels like this Metcon has gone on forever, and there’s no end in sight, remind yourself that this is only temporary. Remember why you’re here! Even though your whole body hurts and it feels like your lunch is in your throat, your goal still stands. Whatever that goal is for you, always keep it close by for these moments that we all have, the moments when we want to cry and run away, let go of that bar, or give up for WHATEVER reason. If you can fight through this now, the discomfort will be over soon. Then you can go on with the rest of your day knowing that you did what you set out to do and that you tried YOUR hardest.

I hope that at least one of these tips speaks to you! Be aware of your self talk, and practice keeping your thoughts positive and loving. When in doubt, go back to the basics, and remember THIS IS ONLY TEMPORARY! Keep your goals in sight when things get tough! You’ve got this! Now let’s go get fit, healthy and happy!

  • By: Marci DiLeonardo


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About the author

Nicole Aucoin, MS, RD, LD/N

Founder, Healthy Steps Nutrition
Home of CrossFit HSN & HSN Mentoring

Author of Nourish & Healthy Kids Cookbook

Author of The Basics of Nutrition Coaching Course, CrossFit Preferred Nutrition Course

CrossFit Level 2 Trainer