Discomfort, is it a bad thing?

As athletes at CrossFit FerVor can attest, you will experience some discomfort when you get involved with CrossFit.  Initially as your body adapts to the rigors of constantly varied functional movements performed at a high intensity muscle soreness, lactate build up can be nearly crippling.  As in, “I need a spotter to help me off the toilet” kind of soreness.  But after a short period (generally a week or two) this type of discomfort passes.  The next level of discomfort comes as you have gained capacity and you are able to push through old limitations.  This is generally experienced during the work out of the day (WOD) as you discover that your body has more to give that you mind wants you to.

This is where mental toughness is forged through overcoming challenges.  This capacity (or skill) is much like our physical skills / capacity it is developed through correct practice.  When you are in the middle of the challenge, be it a WOD or any stressor in life there is discomfort.  How you respond internally will determine to a large degree how you respond externally.

If your internal dialogue in times of discomfort turns negative your performance (behavior) suffers.  Fortunately, this is something we have full control over.  Although many people push back against owning that control.  We all have heard children excuse their behavior (performance) with “She made me mad.” or “It was be cause he said….” When you learn to own your control over not only your actions but the thoughts that precede them you allow yourself to move to a higher level of performance both in the box and in life.

Much like there are things we can do to prepare our bodies for the challenges of CrossFit (and life) such as mobility work (see MobilityWod.com or triggerpoint therapy).  There are things we can do to prepare our minds to deal with the challenges at CrossFit FerVor (and in life).

Just a couple of items I will touch on and we can explore the subject deeper in later posts:

Meditation:  Don’t get wrapped up in all the mysticism that can be attachech to meditation, Just allow yourself to sit quietly for just a few minutes.  A 5 minute meditation WOD if you will is a great way to start.  Just get alone (no interruptions, no phone, no TV, no FaceBook, no kids, just alone) and set a timer for 5 minutes.  Sit in silence.  As thoughts come through your head, just observe them.  Don’t allow the stream of your thoughts to hyjack you.  Nothing that comes through your head (and a ton will) should take you away from this 5 minutes of sitting there in silence.

Positive self talk:  When you have meditated some you will have learned to listen and interestingly you will learn that no everything that comes to you is YOU.  It can’t be how can you be the thinker of the thoughts and simultaneously observing the thoughts as the flow past.  Anyway, when you learn to hear the stream of stuff that passes through your head you can then learn to respond in positive ways.  When you are in the middle of a situation (or WOD) and a thought like “This Sucks!” or “This is Stupid!” comes up you can respond with something positive like “I am Strong!” or “I love this stuff!”

If you take ownership of your reponses to discomfort, the old saying can hold true.  Pain is just weakness leaving the body (or the mind).  😉

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