Mental Reframing… or whatever you want to call it.
By – T. Elliott Field
We all know that attitude is everything, but let’s be honest… “Fran” will never be awesome. What can be awesome about “Fran” (or any other difficult/knowingly painful workout) though, is your mindset before, during, and after it happens. It truly does matter how you mentally approach a workout and what you say to yourself and/or others about that workout. Phrases like, “I’m not going to finish this,” and “That’s going to be really heavy,” or “I never want to do that again,” all have an impact on how you and your body perceive the stress of the event.
You may notice that when I am coaching, I always say things like, “It’s going to be awesome,” or “You’re gonna crush it,” or “The bar doesn’t stand a chance.” These types of responses are not only to make you laugh and motive you, but they also serve to try to get anyone that is in a defensive mindset to switch over to the offensive and attack the workout and lift with real intensity.
Admittedly, this “technique” is not going to work perhaps even the first ten times you try it, but eventually, if you start doing it often enough, you will start finding yourself less afraid of unfavorable situations both inside and outside of the gym (you know… fake it till you make it, or whatever).
When I was in BUD/s (SEAL training), there were a couple of phrases that really stuck with me and still do to this day. One of them being: “The only easy day was yesterday.” This was posted in big block letters over the parking lot where we met every morning. Another was: “The water temp is: warm and toasty.”
Initially, I didn’t get it. Every morning, I would wake up ridiculously tired and sore all over…yesterday was DEFINITELY not easy. Furthermore, to start most days, the instructors would have us get “wet and sandy” and let me tell you… the water was farrrrr from “warm and toasty.” Why would such elite level operators hold these phrases at such high standards if they were not true? Fast forward to about a year later… having dropped out of BUD/s and started Rescue Swimmer school, it finally clicked. I finally started understanding why they said what they said. It took on a whole new meaning. It’s all psychological; it’s all about your mindset. I began approaching various situations with the mindset of “Bring it on!” or simply “Easy day” and I began to notice that my anxiety and fear before certain events, heavily weighted exams, painful workouts, and high stress situations all seemed easier and less complicated.
There is one caveat, however. People will think you are a little bit crazy saying things like this because they may still be stuck in the defensive/nervous mindset. So don’t be that person that sits relaxed and content in their comfort zone, constantly making excuses why you can’t do something or that you’re not good enough. The reality is… you are good enough and you can be good enough; you just need to try, and fail, and then try again…until you make it.
So yea… go crush it.
And remember. If someone asks you if you think you can do something, your first thought should be (matter of fact), “I can do anything.”
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