CrossFit: Knowing When to Take a Mental Break from CrossFit

hot crossfit chicks at a crossfit competition doing crossfit clean and jerks at crossfit sanitas in boulder, co
CrossFit Clean and Jerk

The more I do CrossFit, the more I realize the mental game is much more important than the physical game. Sure, you have to be in shape, but being in shape is an equalizer — the mental game is what will set you apart from others and allow you to win CrossFit competitions and just win your daily CrossFit WODs.

I woke up on Thursday with a plan to do CrossFit workouts that were simple but involved a barbell and burpees. No part of me wanted to do any of it. I was sore and just not feeling it. So, I didn’t. I just rowed and ran, a modified CrossFit Hero WOD Jerry, if you will. And I felt really good afterwards.

This was both a mental and a physical break. I could have done by planned CrossFit workout, but it would have sucked because my head wasn’t in the game. So why bother?

The Main Advantage to Doing Your Own CrossFit Programming

  • You can adjust your CrossFit programming to suit your needs. I adjust my CrossFit programming on a daily basis it seems. I get up and assess where I’m at. Towards the end of the week, I’m spent, and my CrossFit workouts often change. I believe this is the best part of doing your own CrossFit programming and of working out by yourself. Instead of constantly pushing and tweaking your body and pushing your mental game, you can take breaks. Breaks become especially important as you get older.

If you attend a CrossFit box, know when to take mental breaks from CrossFit. It’s okay to do a different workout than everyone else. It’s okay to let your mind rest, so you can attack the next workout. Doing your CrossFit workouts constantly half-heartedly is not going to benefit you in the long run. Breaks allow you to come back stronger and attack CrossFit workouts when you need to.

CrossFit: Mental Fortitude Day

crossfit girls rowing at crossfit sanitas in boulder, co
Rowing at CrossFit Sanitas, Boulder, CO

Sitting on a rower for 30 minutes is not exactly easy.

After 20 minutes, you’ve had enough.

After 25 minutes, you’re about to scream.

After 28 minutes, you convert minutes to seconds and just keep going.

Then try 10 minutes on the bike right afterwards.

I strained a muscle in my right arm again, so I’ve been doing no heavy weight. Today, I decided to row for 30 minutes and bike for 10 minutes for active recovery and because I felt like doing nothing else at the end of a long (and frustrating) week.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a 30 minute row. And, afterwards, I remember why.

Still, it strengthened my mental fortitude — something I need in CrossFit right now with the CrossFit Open right around the corner.

CrossFit: Bar Muscle-Ups and Heavy Clean and Jerks

Another needed workout. Heavy clean and jerks, which I have little confidence in and bar muscle ups.

My bar muscle up form sucks, and I’ve been struggling with them. I struggled today. But once I got over the hump so to speak, I got them again.

CrossFit Chest to bar Pull Ups

For me, nothing is really easy in CrossFit except body weight exercises and the long game. Everything else is a push to the end.

Overcoming Mental Barriers

In CrossFit, so much of this sport is overcoming mental barriers. You see a workout and you think, “I can’t do that.” And then you do and you wonder what why you thought you couldn’t.

Our bodies will do whatever we tell them to do–if we tell them to do it enough. This is the essence of building strength. With enough practice and repetition, human bodies can do anything–almost anything. We can’t jump to the moon!

How do You Overcome Mental Barriers?

There is no easy way to overcome mental barriers except to push them. Until you do them or push to the edge, your mind will tell you that you can’t do it.

For instance, heavy clean and jerks. I suck at them. They are hard for me. But I keep doing them. They don’t really get any easier. But in my mind I know I can do them; whereas, before I would doubt myself.

Ring muscle ups. I still don’t have them. I took a break from trying to do one because I strained my right arm. It’s finally better, so now it’s time again to take them on again.

No part of me wants to, I’ll be honest. It’s not going to be easy.

But when I finally get one, that moment will be magic.

CrossFit: How the Simplest Moves in the Right Combination are the Hardest

CrossFit: Push ups and a run.

Simple, right?

All body weight movements. Thus, no equipment required.

Until a couple of hours later you think, What the hell? Why am I so sore?

Remember Capoot?  When I added up the numbers, I ran 3.5 miles (longer than a 5k) and did 250 push ups.

CrossFit Push Ups

As I’m working through the Hero WOD’s for CrossFit, I’m noticing this more and more: what seems simple because the reps are broken up is not so simple when it’s all said and done.

Good thing I’m one of those who never adds it up ahead of time. I see a workout and always think: Oh, yeah, no problem. When in reality, it is a problem.

Like I’ve said before, CrossFit is 90% mental, 10% physically capable.

Tell yourself it’s simple, and it will be.

Then suffer the consequences afterwards.

CrossFit: Going My Own Pace

“Five rounds for time of clean and jerks and chest to bar pull ups.”

CrossFit used to be about speed. I’d chalk up and get ready to beat everyone because I wanted to be the best.

CrossFit for me is no longer about time. It’s about overcoming the mental barriers in my brain. “105 lb clean and jerks. That’s heavy.” Yep, it is. But taking them one at a time makes them not so heavy. Going steady or even slow has become my norm. Why?

Because I want to be able to do the moves efficiently and correctly. It’s more important to me to not get overwhelmed with beating others.

CrossFit: Finishing Strong

CrossFit is also about completing the workout.  Finishing the rounds in AMRAP’s.  Completing all the reps in EMOM’s. Doing the work.

CrossFit is finishing. Pushing beyond what you think you’re capable of. Going the extra mile.

CrossFit is strength: physical and mental–both of which take time to build up.

CrossFit is a marathon, not a sprint. It takes time to build muscle and power and fortitude.

CrossFit is like life. You run till you can’t run anymore. You live till you take your last breath. All the while letting your heart and soul shine and soar.

Image result for heart and soul mountains

CrossFit: More Mental Than Physical

Two rounds for time of: 10 bar muscle ups, 20 bar-facing burpees, 30 deadlifts at 155 lbs, and 40 wallballs at 20 lbs.

No problem, I tell myself.

Until I begin.

I haven’t done bar muscle ups since the Granite Games, and they sucked. It took 3 minutes just to finish the 10.

After that, the mental game began as I wondered why.

The second round of bar muscles up I slipped because my hands were so sweaty. My scar tissue is acting up so my finger is swollen, making my grip on the bar sketchy.

I need help, I thought, as I banged my chest once again on the way up, producing lovely bruises later.

I understand the ebbs and flows of CrossFit. However, it doesn’t make it any easier.

The Mental Game of CrossFit


When frustration sets in, it’s easy to

CrossFit Game Face

give in. To not care. To let the workout win. This is what will fortify the brain: pushing through even when you don’t want to and all you want to do is quit.

It’s normal to feel this way when you try so hard and still can’t get it. Or if you get it, it sucks.

Know when to reign it in.

For me, I’ve been pushing hard. Really hard. My mental game broke today, and it took everything I had just to finish–one rep at a time.

But finish I did.

And tomorrow is a new day to try again.

99% of Every Goal is Mental…

Yesterday I did Holleyman.

This entailed a heavy power clean.

The RX weight is 155 pounds.

I had it in my mind that that was my max.

So I thought I’d do 125 pounds.

But during warm ups, that weight was light, so I tried 135 pounds and had no problem.

I’ll just do 135 pounds and then drop the weight if I can’t do it.CrossFit DNR 7

I ended up doing all 30 reps at 135 pounds.

When I finished, I go to log my workout in my app that tracks all of my workouts.  It turns out my MAX power clean ever is 135 pounds!

So is it mental?


I know I have a mental problem with my deadlift weight.  Every time it gets heavy, I tell myself I don’t want to do this, and I don’t.  It’s frustrating.

This is why I never want to know cumulative reps or how long a workout might take.  It hinders me in my mind.

This is life as well.  We tell ourselves we can’t do something, and we don’t.  We all need to have more faith in our abilities and believe we can!

Just imagine what the world would look like if we did…


The True Cost of CrossFit…

I woke up today with my right hamstring locked up.  So tight it felt like a log.

I grab the hot stuff and lather it on.  It burns.  Hot.Me Rowing

My leg loosened.

Why? I say.  Why?

When I think of all the money I spend maintaining my body, all the hours, all the sacrifices…

Is this worth it?

What would happen if I gave it up?

What would I do with all that time and resources?

It’s all mental.  You versus yourself.  It’s the every day drudgery.  It’s the getting out of bed, rolling into the gym and doing a workout when you don’t want to.  It’s doing things no one else does.

But why?

Because at the end of the workout–when all is said and done–the feeling is better than drugs or alcohol or anything else (except maybe the coffee when I get home!).

It’s the accomplishment.  The satisfaction.  The “I can’t believe I just did that” feeling that I’m addicted to.

And that’s why…

The Key to CrossFit: The Mental Game

If you want to dominate your box, get better on all the moves, and crush your opponents, the key is the mental game.

You have to believe in yourself or no one else will.

You have to believe you can do it.

You have to believe you got this.

You have to tell yourself this over and over and over again.

Even when you don’t believe any of it.

And guess what?

The workout will end.  And you will have done it.  And your confidence will soar.

Cause you did it!Related image

You were right.  You knew it all along.

And the next time you do the same workout or the same moves or face something seemingly impossible you’ll be better able to do it.  You’ll do it better.  Faster.  And easier.

All because you had the right mindset.

Your brain is more important than your brawn.

Always remember that.