Wednesday 150304

4 Rounds for time of:
50′ Overhead walking lunge, 135#(95#)
25 GHD sit-ups

Post time to comments or BTW


Robyn showing a solid turnover during 15.1!

Robyn showing a solid turnover during 15.1!

Before I head into this post, Verve wants to take a chance to wish Max E. the best of luck as he moves to Georgia to embark on his journey to become an Army Ranger!  We can’t wait for him to come back to visit and share all of his successes.


Recently, I was told to do a workout named the Burgeron Beep Test.  If you are not familiar, it is an EMOM in which you complete 7 thrusters, 7 pull-ups, and 7 burpees every minute on the minute for as long as you can.  IT HURT!  Sure it hurt physically, but it KILLED me mentally.  My mind and heart gave up before my body did; perhaps one of the worst feelings when walking away from a workout.  This workout made me realize that I need to get my mental toughness in check.  This was no easy search, but I came across a great article that gives some tips and tricks on how to build a tougher brain.  You can view the article in its entirety here.

…The fact is, you can build up your mental toughness, your grit, your will power, your brain power, your focus, or your cognitive function by taking small steps to improve it everyday. If you don’t, your grit will vanish. For some, maybe it already has! Let’s get your grit back (or improve on what you’ve got)!

The principle you need to keep in mind for this article is…

  • OWNING your brain = The ability to push yourself harder, the ability to stick to diets, and the ability to have that long-lasting motivation.

Ready to own your brain? Ready to get to work?

First, we need to go right to the root of the problem. The problem is that with our day-to-day lives we are border line drones. We do the same things everyday, we eat the same stuff and we maintain the same habits and patterns.

I’m not preaching here. I am no different! I get in my car and drive to work and next thing I know I am in the parking lot at work and vaguely recall the drive. And it’s the same reason I can’t remember if I took my multivitamin 10 seconds after I TOOK my multivitamin. Sound familiar to anyone (…I hope I am not the only one)? We need to stop starving our brains and start challenging them!

To challenge our brains we are going to change neural pathways and synapses by changing behavior and environment. Your brain is capable of this; it’s called neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity is not “snake oil”, the next “big thing”, or any sort of placebo-effect. It’s just how the brain works. An abundance of studies are starting to show just how beneficial training your brain can be as you age, and it turns out the adult brain is not a static organ; it is now clear that the organization of brain circuitry is constantly changing as a function of experience or learning.

Now, we are going to go over how you can do this in your daily life depending on how serious you want to get and how much time you have.

Getting Started…Taking Control of Your Brain
Quick and easy brain challenges:
Brushing Your Teeth
– This one is the easiest.  Simply try brushing your teeth with your opposite hand for the next few days. Over the course of a few days you will notice how challenging it is at first and how it kind of wakes you up and keeps the brain from wandering as it is forced to focus on developing this new neural pathway. But it will learn, adapt and get better.

Writing – Memorize a small passage, nothing epic, maybe just a short quote. Every morning when you get to work try writing this passage from memory and with the opposite hand. Same principle as above, notice how on day one you want to rip up the paper you are writing on, but over time it gets easier as your brain grows.

Driving –  Take a new route to work. Drive a different way and force your brain to think about what it is doing as opposed to repeating the same exact thing you do everyday.

Changing Routine – On top of brushing your teeth with your opposite hand, try changing up your morning routine. Whatever you do to get ready in the morning i.e. breakfast, shower, clothes, coffee, etc. Just change up the order. Shower first, or shower last, whatever that case may be try doing your morning routine in the opposite, or random, order.

Applying Brain Power to Mental Toughness
Here are some quick tips on how to really push yourself in spite of pain:

Visualize – If you actually visualize what you are about to go through it helps your brain tremendously. It is not visualizing the pain, but rather the event. Actually walking yourself through the entire thing. Simple visualization builds neural pathways as we discussed earlier. If your brain feels it has already done something, you will be more prepared and better able to cope with exertion pain.

Remember the big picture – There HAS to be a bigger reason that you are working out. For your health? For you family? Whatever the case may be, you need to focus on that when it gets tough. It will help!

10-second Goals – When you are in a tough workout, do your best not to think past the next 10 seconds. ONLY focus on your next two reps or the next 10 seconds. Worry about the other reps and other seconds after this 10-second period. Nothing else exists. Breaking your workouts down into small, micro-goals will help you maintain intensity you never thought possible for longer durations.

There is no doubt that working out is one of the best ways to promote brain health, but you will only get out what you put in. Pushing yourself to the limit will really pay huge dividends. Mental toughness doesn’t come easy, but it can be trained just as any other aspect of fitness.

Do you have any go-to habits to prepare for a mentally tough challenge?


  1. Patrick McGinty :

    During long endurance races or crazy moments in a kayak; I have found myself singing songs or doing count downs. Tiny Dancer by Elton John morphs into Tony Danza… also “I can feel the rhythm of the night.”

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