A short guide to the World's Greatest Mentality for Masters Athletes
This time of year evokes lots of emotions and mental battles from Master’s CrossFit athletes. If you aren’t preparing for Age Group Semi-finals, you fall on the spectrum of “could’ve, should’ve, would’ve” or “PHEW…. Glad that's over…” or “if I just didn’t make that one mistake in that one workout” following Age Group Quarterfinal workouts. If this sounds like you, or someone you know, keep reading. My goal is to give each athlete a tangible checklist that they can attack in order to have no regrets in 2023.
Where does the journey start?
It starts with having an honest conversation with yourself about what you truly want versus what it will take. As an athlete, what are the things I need to improve on? The more raw and real you can answer this question without mentally burying yourself, the better. While going through this process, separate the statements that might make this overwhelming. For example, “I am bad at rope climbs” versus “I can be better at rope climbs.” For some reason, the second statement eludes excitement, while the first statement evokes shame. Tease out the idea that your value or worth is attached to a movement. Your humanity is in the errors, but your identity is not the movement. I am not my muscle ups! My muscle ups are an expression of things I’ve learned and drilled on my journey in CrossFit, but not a representation of who I AM! There are far too many instances with either people I have coached or athletes I have competed against that take a movement or lack of movement and replace it with their worth. Your worth as an athlete is no more important than your worth as a human, don’t get it twisted! Create a list of movements you can’t wait to attack and enjoy the process!
What does your time and commitment to this goal for 2023 look like? Is it a reasonable and fair thing to request based on your current life picture? How to navigate these questions is to think: how often do I put myself first in regards to this goal? Or is this goal an afterthought and I try to do the best I can? The reality is that being competitive and having the desire to go this route requires you to be selfish. I LOVE working with Master’s athletes because I respect them so much! They are able to do crazy feats in a workout or strength piece, and they’ve already gotten kids to school, ran a million meetings, cleaned their house, and now show up to the gym to crush! In that process though, the finer details can be pushed to the side (sleep, nutrition, recovery, details of a training session). The one thing that could make the biggest difference could be the ONE THING you aren’t doing, so take some time to analyze your current life picture and ask yourself if there is room to do ONE THING better, and if so, what is that THING?
If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far go together!
Who is on your team? Who is in your corner? Who are you sharing your goal/dreams with? This is just as important as your training. You NEED a pit crew! Everyone wants to show up to support competitors when it comes to the open or quarters, but who is there NOW? During the offseason to lay the foundation? Find people that you respect, that are more than just words, but that deliver in actions. These people should be the ones that are good at the things you aren’t. Humble yourself to know that you don’t know everything and that certain relationships are out there for you to learn things from and for people to give you the answers that you may not like. To challenge you in the areas of your life that you want to keep hidden or comfortable. If you don’t have these relationships or people, start being aware of the world around you either at your gym or within your family/friends enough to know that this will make all the difference! Be vulnerable in sharing what is in your head with someone else so that you give bones and life to your words.
Consistency is KEY!
Do you have a plan or do you jump around from programming to programming? Idea to idea, quick fix to quick fix hoping to jump ahead? Habits and consistent efforts take TIME! Knowing your training and what physical expectations will be demanded from you for the week make committing to the process so much easier. Does this look like finding a coach or subscribing to a Master’s program instead of doing it yourself? Probably. Even coaches need coaches, so if you are an athlete/coach that programs for others, let someone do that for you so you can have an outside source challenging the things you may not even realize you need to work on. At times, athletes tend to “self-modify” and go to comfort zones versus doing what they really should be doing. Ex: for my short athletes “I know it says 20 lb wall ball to 10 ft target, but I’ll just do more reps to the 9 ft target….” You might laugh, but it might be you I personally have to check myself in scenarios like this where my mind wants to change what my body needs to do in order to grow. If I am only doing skills in workouts and going heavier when I need to focus on a technical load, I am missing what this current season is about. Growth, learning, and cleaning up movement patterns so that you then can execute them in a workout efficiently, finally increasing volume and load. It’s like building the roof of a house first, before creating the foundation. Create a physical plan, with 1-2 MAJOR weaknesses at the forefront to start and sit there until you see growth. Don’t get antsy, don’t look left and right at what other athletes are doing. OWN the space you are in and stay consistent!
Who are you becoming during the process?
You can have all the muscle-ups in the world, but if you’re a shitty person, no one cares. What are these skills doing to your human development? Do you complete your training begrudgingly or do you realize it's a luxury and gift to your body to complete and play at new things? When you leave the gym walls, no one cares if you have double under’s or not…. Except you! Use your journey on learning new things and advancing as an athlete while simultaneously growing yourself as a human being. How often do you journal? What kind of person are you? What do you stand for? These are questions that need to be answered so that in your most vulnerable moments (in a workout when things aren’t going your way or you are dying), you know where your compass will take you.
Start with four questions:
1. Who am I?
What is my purpose in this world?
What are my values?
What legacy do I want to leave with how I live my life?
Kind of loaded questions, right? As much as we obsess over getting that clean PR, we need to be equally as obsessed with these thoughts and create a concrete statement for each one of them. If we don’t, we lack the mental depth to consistently perform when things are going great just as much as when things aren’t going so great. The ability to see situations from 3,000 feet above comes from the awareness of knowing what’s inside first.
We work our bodies daily, but how often do we work out our minds. What I mean by this is how often do I challenge myself mentally to “go there”? How often do I “work in” as much as I workout out? If we expect ourselves to be able to pull out the dark side and the fight mentality during a quarterfinal workout when it counts, what am I doing in my training to grow this capacity? Doing one workout every week that you are scared of and that the “mental performance to push” is the goal, versus the time, reps, or rounds. What does that look like? Let’s say in the last 4 minutes of an AMRAP you tend to fade and mentally give up, you create a workout specifically based to start in the last four minutes so you know that is the time to give yourself something mentally to hold on to whether it be, just keep moving, or something that you have created as one of your values (ex: being a hard worker), you can then say, “I value hard work and the last four minutes is where hard work starts.” Something along those lines where the goal is to mentally “go there,” have those thoughts, feel the pain, and keep going. Sitting in the suck both physically and mentally is the only way we can start to develop a relationship and overcome the mental blocks that go hand in hand with the physical.
How you do anything is how you do EVERYTHING!
There are many ways to feel like the next best thing or program is out there in regard to tracks to follow. I hate to say it, but it may not be the programming.. it may be YOU! What does this mean? Well, before we start looking around at all the coaching pipelines to get better and which programming or coach to jump to, check your application and intention of what is being asked of you first. Application and intention over everything. How are you applying yourself to your daily tasks? Do you warm up and go through the motions or do you warm up with the intention to fully prepare yourself? Do you attack strength with the mindset of hanging on for dear life or do you understand that you are getting better with every rep? Do you feel like you have more successful training sessions or is every session one in which you feel like you are coming up short? Are you scaling for yourself properly (ex: choosing to do a workout with 30 muscle-ups when your max set is 2 vs. modifying the reps to 15).
Developing a “world's greatest mentality” is crucial in how you approach the mundane of day-to-day training based on whatever is given to you! “World's greatest mentality” means that you approach everything as if it is your best effort and attempt. Not every day will feel 100%. Most days it will be hard, and there will be roadblocks and setbacks, but what the “world's greatest mentality” means is that even if you have only 70% for the day, you give ALL of that 70% to the task at hand.
Do YOU have the “world's greatest mentality"?
By Coach and Athlete, Colette Casey
To learn more about Underdogs Athletics or Coach Colette, please visit us on Instagram at @underdogsathletics