Steel yourself and pick up that bloody bar!

Sean and I spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to encourage you guys and get you into the right ‘mental’ state. We crank the tunes, yell and carry on trying to gee you up. We try and emphasize a positive, can-do attitude before and during a workout. Yeah, you know that general pep talk we give before “3-2-1-GO!”

On numerous occasions I’ve told you guys and girls to “man-up” and/or “steel yourself…” for what you about to do. “Get you head in the game…” we say but I only recently realised that tyou may not actually understand where we’re coming from… So if you’re not really sure what Sean and I have been talking about and you’ve been like “just keep smiling and nod…” than read on…

Steel oneself: meaning
To separate mind and body or concentrate in preparation for a rigorous or possibly painful task (e.g. a boxer steeling himself for a match)
— via

When I’m mentally preparing for a workout and/or max effort lift I break it down into four key points, check it out…

1. Be confident

Back yourself. You’ve done this all before. You’ve had opportunities in your lifetime where you’ve got beat down and then come out on top. Self belief is one of the most essential keys for achieving the very best that life has to offer.

Our bodies are so very, very capable but it’s usually your mind that’s are telling you to “slow down… you can’t lift that… what are other people gonna think?”. You need to understand that the human body; your human body, is an incredibly complex and remarkably capable machine and that you need to start believing in it’s ability to get you across the line. I mean we sure do. Sean, Rebecca and I can see that you have so much potential because we’ve seen the improvements over the time you’ve trained with us. We’ve seen the weight loss. We’ve seen the increases in strength. We’ve seen increased mobility and multiple improvements in technical movements. We’ve seen so much yet there are some days we’re left scratching our heads when we see people falling far short of their potential because they “didn’t think they could do it…” (even though they’ve done it before…?)

Start believing in yourself – next time you pick up that bar really commit to having a go. Don’t pick it up and go “oh you know this is really quite heavy…” (in a posh pommy accent) – Pick up that bloody bar and go “Yeah this bar is heavy…But I’m gonna back myself and I’m gonna have an almighty crack and leave nothing on the table…“ Obviously paraphrase in your own words (they’re mine) But get serious, mean it and do it!

2. Be present in the moment.

If you’re thinking about all your impending social engagements this coming weekend and/or what your kids are up to and not focusing on what you’re doing the chance for a failed rep, a shitty performance or even an injury is increased ten fold.

The movements and exercises we do, without proper focus have the potential to become dangerous. You have the ability to drop bars on your head, fall off boxes, fall off bars, pull muscles, break bones and bleed. Ask anyone who’s managed any of the above and ask them what they were thinking about when they actually busted something and I can just about guarantee they’ll tell you that they certainly weren’t focusing on what they were doing.

I don’t care if you’re about to go after a 1RM or you’re right smack bang in the middle of ‘Cindy’, but I can tell you if you’re not present in the moment, if your mind is not 100% focused on what you’re about to do or doing then you can go and kiss your PB goodbye. As Becca says to me when I get home sometimes after a busy day “If you’re going to be here – BE HERE…”

3. Deal with the suck.

It’s gonna hurt. It’s gonna make you feel uncomfortable. You’re going to sweat. You’re probably even going to stink. You might feel nausea. You’re might go red in the face. You’ll might get calluses or at the very least tear one.

Leon: power clean

Know without any shadow of a doubt that what you’re about to do or what you’re actually doing (mid WOD) is gonna suck. Know it and deal with it. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable because it’s this type of mindset that gives perspective to life.

The amount of people walking around in sick, tired and depressed states because regular, daily tasks like walking up stairs or loading groceries into the car seem almost impossible (yes, some people actually get around like that?!) is amazing. It’s amazing and terribly sad because these people have no perspective.

They don’t actually know what real ‘SUCK’ is. They don’t know what a thrusters is and they certainly don’t know what the numbers 21-15-9 could possibly mean (KENO?). Lucky for you though, you do have perspective. You know what the last 300 metres of a 2k for time feels like. You know how nervous you get before a WOD but you know that you’re gonna get through it and that when you do you’ll come out the other side a better person for enduring it. You know that whole “growth through adversity….” concept.

4. Failure is OK. Failure to try is not.

Yes, there are going to be days when you’re not firing on all cylinders and you’re going to fail.
Honestly if you’re never failing in life than the chances are you’re not trying hard enough. Failure is OK but failure to try is not and unfortunately I recently realised that I was avoiding failure by not even trying.

After dislocating my shoulder (well over three months ago now) I haven’t been training OH squats at all and I’ve been making all the excuses under the sun (well at least two) like “my shoulders screwed… and I’ve got to go see the physio…” for not doing so. Well Sean who’s heard me whinge about it a more than one occasion hit me up “well go see one then…”

How far I’ve fallen for a guy who made it to the Australian Regional qualifiers back in May when I was able to OH squat 60kg. It’s pretty frustrating knowing that I now have trouble squatting an unloaded bar. I hate to admit having to start from scratch again but I’ve finally pulled out my finger, gone to the physio and started to get under the bar again and I know full well that if I don’t get back on the horse and start doing them again, there’s pretty much no chance of making it back to the Regionals next year…

It’s what you do when you fail that defines your character. Do you just throw in the towel or do you get back on the bar and get under it again? Do you carry on, wobble about and throw your hands in the air when the going gets tough or do you step back up, reset yourself and go again?

I’d encourage you to check yourself and your mindset next time you’re battling through a WOD or indeed, a shitty time in life. What will you choose to do? Will you make excuses or will you step back up and get the work done? Ultimately your decision will define you.

You must have by now, heard a tonne of different inspirational quotes on failure but just in case you haven’t I thought I’d add a couple to look to when the chips are down – check em out…

  • Fall seven times, stand up eight. — Japanese proverb
  • Forget past mistakes. Forget failures. Forget about everything except what you're going to do now – and do it. — William Durrant
  • Character consists of what you do on the third and fourth tries. — James A. Michener
  • There is no failure except in no longer trying. — Elbert Hubbard

So hopefully now you understand what we’re actually talking about when we say yo you “Get your head in the game…” – Ben

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Coach B

Husband of @rebeccafwarren. Dad of Madz & Isabelle. Coach & Owner of @adaptcrossfit. One Passionate Dude.