Wednesday 150422

As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
50 Double unders
40 Ab-mat sit-ups
30 Pull-ups
20 Burpees

Post rounds to comments and BTWB

Jason nailing his box jump overs.

Jason nailing his box jump overs.


Are you prepared for this. . . mentally? By Courtney “mental toughness is my middle name” Shepherd

I’m certain you’ve heard this said before but, sometimes the hardest part of the workout is the mental part. That part during a workout when your mind is telling you to quit. A few weeks ago we had a workout with 150 wall balls. Every break in the wall balls meant you had to go do a 400m run, I’m certain many of you remember this workout. I had a game plan when I approached it, I wanted to get a solid set of 50 wall balls right off the bat. Somewhere around 20 things didn’t follow the plan, I got about 7 no reps in a row with no sign of recovery. So I dropped my ball and went for a run. . . 25 reps into this workout. As I ran out the door I cussed. . . a lot. I said a lot of negative things about the stupid WOD, the stupid run, a lot of things were stupid to me. But about half way through the run I started to tell myself that I needed to turn this around, I can’t get back to the ball this angry. When I walked back in the door, I had a smile on my face, I laughed, and said “I see a lot of running in my future.” I got another 25 reps in before I headed out the door for my next run. I won’t lie to you, I was still pretty angry and frustrated. But, as I ran, I simply repeated to myself “this does not define you”. Sounds silly but it’s very true. That horribly defeating workout does not define me as a person. In 20 minutes I did not get through 150 wall balls. . . this does not make me a failure at life or CrossFit or anything else. I wanted to quit that WOD sooooooo many times, at one point I even looked at Anna and said “I don’t want this anymore”. I didn’t. I did not want to keep going after I realized early on how unsuccessful I would be. But I didn’t quit. I finished that workout no where near achieving what I set out to or adhering to any game plan I set for myself. That is what defines me. That workout helped build my mental game. Quitting is easy, changing a mindset to push through is the hard part. 

In an article title “Are You Mentally Tough?” by Scott Barry Kaufman, in Scientific American, he discusses mental toughness as a necessary character trait needed in athletes:

“Mental toughness” is a phrase that is commonly used in sports to describe the superior mental qualities of the competitor. Most elite athletes report that at least 50% of superior athletic performance is the result of mental or psychological factors, and a whopping 83% of coaches rate mental toughness as the most important set of psychological characteristics for determining competitive success.

People who are mentally tough have a psychological edge that enables them to cope better than their opponents with the many demands that sports place on a performer, and they are also more consistent and better than their opponents in remaining determined, focused, confident, and in control under pressure.”

Several athletes from a variety of sports were asked to describe mental toughness, this is what they said:

  1. Unshakeable self-belief in your ability to achieve competition goals.
  2. Ability to bounce back from performance set-backs as a result of an increased determination to succeed.
  3. Unshakeable self-belief that you possess unique qualities and abilities that make you better than your opponents.
  4. Insatiable desire and internalized motives to succeed.
  5. Remaining fully focused on the task at hand in the face of competition-specific distractions.
  6. Regaining psychological control following unexpected, uncontrollable events (comeptition-specific).
  7. Pushing back the boundaries of physical and emotional pain, while still maintaining technique and effort under distress during training and competition.
  8. Accepting that competition anxiety is inevitable and knowing that you can cope with it. 
  9. Not being adversely affected by other’s good and bad performances.
  10. Thriving on the pressure of competition.
  11. Remaining fully focused in the face of personal life distractions.
  12. Switching sport focus on and off as required.

Mental toughness is an ongoing developing process. The attitudes, cognitions, emotions, and personal values that comprise mental toughness develop as a result of repeated exposure to a variety of experiences, challenges, and adversities. The more we work our weaknesses, the more will build strength, not only physically, but mentally as well. It’s easy to cherry pick a workout. To see a 5K run and think, “I hate running, I’ll skip this one”. Maybe the next time you don’t skip it, maybe the next time you say “Running a 5K will be difficult but showing up and doing it knowing the difficulty I face, makes me a stronger person”.

Mental toughness is not only important in sports. Research has found that adolescents with higher mental toughness are more resilient against stress and depression. . . . mental toughness is important in any environment that requires performance setting, challenges, and adversities.”

Running that 5K when you don’t want to may help build a mental toughness that let’s you take on challenges at work, at school, even in our own personal lives. Funny sometimes how CrossFit and life can be intertwined. Kick that mental toughness in from the start. The workout doesn’t suck because it’s made up of everything you hate. Instead, the workout is providing an opportunity for you to work on your weaknesses. Fight for the mental toughness in the workout. Don’t think “I’ve got so much more work to do”, but rather “I’ve done so much work already, there is very little left in my way of finishing it”. When the workout is done, don’t fall on the floor thinking how awful it was but rather stand up and celebrate completing it. It’s hard advice to take, I struggle with mental toughness, these things can be easier said than done. But now is the time to try, now is the time to starting flipping our mindset and building our mental toughness, not just for CrossFit but for life. 

Click here for full article.



  1. Kimberly :

    This is one of your best blog posts yet. There have definitely been several rough wods that this would have been helpful for and I’m sure the new mindset will help in the future!
    Thanks Coach Courtney!

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