Have you accepted the fact that you might not be as mentally tough as you thought or want to be yet?
Do you day dream of being a mental badass that can take on challenges and push your limits and accomplish them?
Or have you allowed the fear monkey to whisper doubt and stir up anxiety with just the slightest thought of doing a workout?
Getting your mind right is a long long process. Your mind is built to protect you and also built to allow you to thrive and prosper.
So which side do we listen to? When is it safe to push the boundaries and when do I call it a day and throttle back?
All these questions are figured out ONLY through experience. The first humans didn’t know fire was hot till they burned themselves.
The first cars didn’t have seat-belts until there became a need to save lives. And you won’t know what your are physically capable of until
you push your body. Period!
Luckily, at Elite Progression and through CrossFit HQ we hold yearly competitions and tests to find out. Remember the whole observable, measurable and repeatable thing about your training? Testing allows you to see if your training is creating change in the body and the MIND.
Nothing can highlight these changes more than the CrossFit Open!
Now, let’s say half of you signed up for the open and the other half did not. We are all doing the workouts. But for those that are signed up, there is something different when you start the WOD. There is this little thing on the line that you can’t shake. Competition naturally brings out that primal side
of us that says, “you either FIGHT or you FAIL”, and No one likes failing! What seems as simple as just another workout has now turned into not only a test of our training from the year, but a test of our mental will to survive. We don’t get this test any where else in life. What a Great opportunity!
Ok, let’s take it a step further. Let us look at how we are mentally preparing for these “tests”.
Modern anxious brain is worried, scared they can’t do something, afraid to look silly, scared they can’t finish or might even fail. They talk about what they can’t do, how it’s going to suck, and blah blah blah all the other weakness they feel.
Ancient primal brain doesn’t think. It acts. It falls back on its training and instincts and executes. Regardless if there was a chance of failure.
They generally don’t speak, they keep quiet not of fear but of focus. Ready to go. They talk about how fun it will be and make war cries the moment the bell goes off. They tend to stare blankly only concerned with what they are about to do and not what is ahead of them in the future.
We fall into one of these two categories. And here is a little secret, we ALL have the ancient primal brain somewhere inside of us.
Learning and practicing to turn OFF that modern fearful brain and go into the more primal action brain can elicit better results in performance not to mention less overall stress. Less overall stress equates to less cortisol in the body and we all know why that’s beneficial.
Wrapping it up. Getting your MIND RIGHT before you do the next CF Open WOD or before you do an Elite Progression Skill Level Test is paramount to performance and overall health. More so than what you ate the night before or how sore your muscle feel.
Take a different approach on the next one… Calm the mind by focusing on what you can do. Not what you think you can’t do.
Stay away from people that talk about being scared and full of doubt, it only triggers our own doubts.
Talk about positive actions and how good it’s going to be to test. Mass amounts of research has been done on positive self talk, the stuff works!
And be ready to surprise the shit-out-of yourself. Change and growth will quickly follow.
Through our experiences we develop mental toughness. The voice inside of us that refuses to accept failure is what will create
the mind of a warrior. Remove difficulty and hardship from our lives and we lack the stimulus needed to build resilience, grit, and mental
Last week we discussed what mental toughness looked like on a day to day basis. We also came to the realization that in order for us
to start the process of becoming a little more mentally tough we would need to accept our current state if we were going to take control
and apply new practices towards change.
Now here we are. Ready to make the first adjustment to becoming a mindful badass!
Shall we start with reading, yoga, breathing techniques, meditation?
Start with an experience that can change the body.
Our military hands down has the best Special Operations community in the world. Each branch (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force) has their own Special Ops team that go through rigorous training in order to become Elite status. In order to even be a candidate for this type of training you must prove yourself physically first. Then after passing the required fitness tests, you’re then tested physically again to see if you can with stand the demands of their assessment phases of the training course. Navy seals call this BUDS, Green Berets call this SFAS. What they don’t tell you is, what seems like ridiculous physical events, are actually also mental events. At the end of their training these men are absolute warriors in every sense.
See we can have the perfect book, the best yoga instructor, or the coolest meditation app. But if we don’t give the mind something to experience
THROUGH THE BODY. Very rarely will this create the mental toughness that we are capable of achieving.
We would only create knowledge. Which is great and very necessary.
When we add experiences through the body, the mind changes. It finds new ways to connect with the body. It forces it to focus. To endure. To adapt.
These are the traits of some of our militaries best.
Now we might not be looking to join the service, but training our mind in the same fashion as Special Forces will prepare us to be mentally tough
to handle a tough day at the office. Guaranteed.
Find a means to push your body to unchartered territories. Get involved with high intensity functional training. Join a community that doesn’t mind
pushing their limits and supports each other in the process.
Through these experiences will you find the next step into becoming mentally tough!
Mental Toughness, warrior mindset, mindfulness, mentally strong. You are starting to see more and more people talking
and discussing how to use our minds more effectively to achieve our goals.
Well, wait a second… How are we not using them currently. What is our brain doing up there?
I’ll paint two pictures:
First, let’s look at our current mental state. Majority of us are walking around anxious. In a fear driven state worried about a hundred different
daily stressors. Stressors that can’t go away since they are a part of life. Ok. So how do we cope? Occupy our brains with information. Lots of information! Social media, the ever fast paced news and television series, more busy work (busy doesn’t mean productive), and people that share the same anxiety as us which fuels our fears. Great. Sounds like we are fighting an up hill battle.
Now multiply that against years of this way of thinking, poor nutrition, lack of sleep and inadequate exercise. We. Are. Mentally. Weak.
Humans have evolved to this. We weren’t always mental beaten down. Think of our ancestors, your blood line that traces back hundreds and thousands of years ago. Think of the stressors in their day to day… Things like; where will they eat next, how to not die from the cold in the winter, what happens if they get sick or injured, or eaten by a wild animal in the process of getting food. Not as much entertainment as we have now,
but they were mentally TOUGH!
Second picture looks like the modern day mental warrior. Has a daily morning routine that sets them up for a clear and calm mind going into work.
Allows only positive people to be involved with their mental energy. Eats whole foods that contribute to brain function and steady state of energy to prevent grogginess or irritability. Regularly gets in some high intensity training to push past their “comfort zone”, giving them boosts of good hormones and endorphins. Practices meditation or “mindfulness” in order to quiet the noise and let thoughts just be without them effecting their decision making.
Practices breathing techniques in order to reset the body and boost immune function. Most importantly, they are not afraid to try new and hard tasks.
Does that second picture immediately look unattainable?
If you answered yes, then you are in the first picture.
How do we transform into that mental warrior?
It’s not easy. In all honesty it’s probably the hardest thing you’ve ever done.
You will be going up against, your own mind. And it’s a crafty little bastard!
The mind is very capable of changing from the weak to the tough. Despite how engrained these weak traits and habits may be.
And just like anything else it will take practice, time and persistence.
So, where do we start?
Go out and sign up for yoga, buy books on breathing, clean out the pantry, and download that new meditation app?
Nah. Slow it down.
First thing that MUST happen when you are taking on the MENTAL TOUGHNESS battle is to stop and face your mind.
DO NOT try to throw tools and programs at it just yet.
Face yourself and accept where you are currently.
If that’s anxious. Then accept it.
If you are always afraid and run on fear. Accept it.
If you are a scatter brain and can’t focus. Accept it.
If you can accept your current situation, you can take all the responsibility and take all the power to make the change!
With the power of change in your hands and with your mind on board, things will start to come easier.
Choosing the next tool to help you achieve mental toughness might be confusing, so reach out to your nearest Coach for guidance.
*For more information on developing mental toughness from your resident former green beret, contact us.
We are excited to announce a new partnership with PALEOETHICS!
If the name looks familiar it may be because Paleoethics was recognized as the official nutritional sponsor of the CrossFit Games. They are a newer company that offers supplements made of 100% natural ingredients & free of space-wasting fillers & heavily processed substances. We are happy to be able to offer another option of supplements to our diverse community.
Dana has been an avid user of their protein powder for the last 9 months. So we decided to do some research on the rest of their products & see if this was something we would like to offer at the gym. We tested out a few of the products for the last few weeks.
Check out our opinions & reviews below:
Keith: I usually workout late afternoon, and taking a pre-workout at that time usually keeps me up at night from all the caffeine in most pre-workout’s formulas. Since Surge contains no caffeine I was really excited to give it a try. The ingredients that give you the energy are maca root, beet powder, bilberry extract, & bee pollen. The feeling that I get about 15 minutes after drinking, is a subtle surge of energy, pun intended. There is no spike & it keeps me going through my workout whether it’s a heavy lift or metcon. I feel great taking this product on a day to day basis since the ingredients are all natural. If your looking for a crazy spike in energy & the tingles, this product is not for you.
Dana: I agree with Keith… I am pretty sensitive to caffeine. 1 cup of coffee is good for the day for me. So a “pre-workout” was never something on my radar because most brands contain caffeine. I would be bouncing off the walls for days.. No one wants to see that. So I was intrigued by the Surge. It definitely gives me that extra boost of energy I need whether I am WODing in the AM or PM. The taste is different. I enjoy it, but if you crave that sugary sweet taste, it’s lacking in that department, but that is because it contains no artificial ingredients.
K: Rebuild Recover naturally replenishes your depleted electrolyte levels and leaves you feeling hydrated & restored after a tough WOD. It is packed with essential ingredients like glucose, amino acids, electrolytes & a little bit of protein to help you recover & get the most out of your workout. This one tastes like a firecracker ice pop!
D: I really loved the way this tasted! It definitely tastes like an ice pop (Keith stole that from me). I am looking forward to using this more often. Especially when the warmer weather sneaks up on us. That is usually when I feel dehydrated & looking for something like this to rehydrate myself, instead of guzzling down plain water.
K: I have been looking forward to this one every night before bed. It smells and tastes great. Sleep is probably the most overlooked way to recover your body from the previous session and make the best of your next session. The Recovery Matrix provides a small amount of protein (vegan uses pea protein, and non-vegan uses beef protein), chamomile, magnesium, zinc, and other extracts that will help you get a better sleep. It comes in a nice tea formula that you mix with warm water & sip 45-60 minutes before bed.
D: This tea is awesome! It tastes so yummy & only a few sips in and you are feeling nice and relaxed and ready to cozy up for some ZzZz’s.
Super Serum Protein
D: A little over a year ago I realized my body cannot handle “whey protein.” I actually stopped taking a protein supplement all together, until we went to the CF Games Regionals & I tried a sample. Since then I have been taking it post WOD (Chocolate mixed with almond milk) & most recently I started adding in an extra shake a day (Vanilla with some frozen fruit) I was excited to find an alternative protein powder that wasn’t plant based & was made from grass-fed beef. If you have a sensitive tummy like me, this is the best option out there. Both the Vanilla & Chocolate taste delicious!
We have a few of the products available at the gym this week so you guys can test them out. We are also taking pre-orders for our next order. Let us know if you have any questions.
Ok Athletes, we are over a week into 2018 & finished with our “Skill Level Testing”… what have you learned?
- “I suck at Fran”
- “I am ONLY Level 1”
- “I will NEVER get DUBs”
- “I can’t do any of the workouts bc I don’t have Pull-Ups”
- “All the weights were way to heavy for someone like me”
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
What you learned was your weaknesses.. which is GOOD THING!
It’s actually a great thing.
Let’s refer to a quote from Ben Bergeron (Coach of the 2015 & 2016 Fittest Woman on Earth- Katrin Davidsdottir)
“When Katrin and I find a weakness, we high five. I’ve never seen anybody react better to being beat in a workout than her. Because she knows that once we find a weakness, we can work on it.”
That’s what is so awesome about CrossFit… you constantly have something to work on, something to strive for & improve upon but you won’t improve without the effort, & without that passion. Which brings me to my main point…
I challenge you this year to come to the gym with a purpose… set a goal each time you walk into the gym.
We are all guilty of coming to the gym to just check off that box, myself included. Then we wonder why we haven’t mastered the Double-Under yet or why our chin just can’t quite get over that bar!
Start with small goals…
- I will not die today
- I will not take “breaks” mid workout
- I will not put the bar down
- I will not tell myself “I can’t” during the WOD
& then bump it up to those bigger goals…
- I will do DUBs the whole time in the WOD
- I will do RX weight
- I will fuel myself properly for today’s WOD
- I will do Pull-Ups today
- I will go unbroken for all reps
But wait… we skipped a step…
HOW are we going to get to those goals…
This is where coming to the gym with a purpose comes in.
There is PLENTY of times I have walked into the box, been like ehh at the WOD and just went thru the motions. I got a sweat on, I was breathing heavily.. but I wasn’t giving it much heart.
This is NOT where the change will happen.
This is not what will help me get a muscle up, or that body weight C&J.
There has also been plenty of times I have asked myself, why can’t I go unbroken on the WOD?, why is my time not sub 5?, why is my snatch only XX#s?
For me it is the mental aspect of CF, for you I am sure it is something different, but for both of us, something needs to change.
So when you find out what you need to work on, make yourself a plan. A well thought out, detailed plan.
Don’t just wing it!
Come in on Sunday’s & get in some DUBs practice or work on your Pull-Ups, do some extra mobility at home, start Meal Prepping, don’t let that excuse & more importantly our brains get ahold of what you can achieve.
So again, I challenge everyone this year, each time they walk into the box have a goal in mind. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, have a specific goal, focus on it, practice it & make it happen.
I will leave you with another one of my favorite quotes from Greg Glassman- oh maybe you know him? the founder of CrossFit?
“No, it doesn’t ever get easier. You wouldn’t want it to either”
It will never “get easier” because if it did.. where’s the fun in that?!
You want change? Make 2018 the year you challenge yourself!
HAPPY 1 YEAR ANNIVERSARY CFP!
I’m going to go with the ‘ol cliché here….I can’t believe it’s been a year since the official opening of CrossFit Pawling!
It feels like yesterday the coaches & myself were painting and helping put the gym together. We can’t forget the night Eli and I spent 3 hours roaming Home Depot while our wives & friends moved the rig about 5 times trying to find the best spot for it, but that’s a story for another day.
What makes a CrossFit gym isn’t the rubber floors, walls, or even the equipment. It is the people you find within those walls. The reason I love CFP so much is for the same reason I love CF in general. Sure we work out, sweat, curse & roll around in pain after a tough wod, high-five and smile afterwards, but it’s a lot more than that. It’s about the community we have become. Some people on the outside may call us a cult, but it feels a lot more like a family to me.
When a new member joins the gym, you guys always continue to amaze me by immediately making them feel like one of us. It makes me proud when I see the entire class (& next class coming in) cheering for one another to get that last rep or finish the WOD… and even more proud when someone who has finished the WOD hops back in to the workout so “no one finishes alone.”
Within 1 year there has been so many firsts for our community, I can’t even count. First days, first double-unders, first pull-ups, first nanos/metcons, first holiday party, bowling night, & there has been many more PRs, friendships made, fundraisers, team hikes, and laughs.
I feel extremely fortunate that on a day-to-day basis I get to see people achieve their goals, and things they never thought possible. I’ve seen people change their lives and that is exactly the reason we chose to open CFP.
I want to thank all of you, our members, our coaches, our family.. for making CFP what it is today!
Here’s to many more years together!
August Athlete Spotlight: Michelle
Michelle is a mother to a cute little guy named Noah. She joined CFP early Spring & has been nothing but an honor to have in our community. She has been busting her @$$ this Summer.. coming to class almost everyday and attending Sunday’s Open Gym to work on her Snatch. She has been consistently putting in the work & it shows. She always walks into the gym with a positive attitude and you can find her cheering on every last one of her classmates during the WOD.
Usual Class Time: 9:00am in the summer & 4:30 during schoolWhat brought you to CrossFit in the first place? I wanted to get back into shape after having my son, and also having just moved out this way I wanted to have the opportunity to meet new people. (and what better way to meet people than to fall on your butt in front of them while trying to do a squat clean…)What was your first impression? How has that changed? After my baseline workout I was humbled/terrified, I didn’t realize how out of shape I had become, and was definitely worried about starting over. But I’m not afraid of the WODs anymore (even the running ones) and the coaches and other members have been so helpful and supportive. I really do love it here!What was your first awesome moment? The first time I hit a lift at my pre-baby 1RM, squat snatch, I really began to think I was going to be able to do thisWhat are you working on now? Pull upsWhat’s your favorite Elite Progression memory? WODing for SuperTy, everyone really came together for a great cause (and I’m pretty sure Keith almost had to do 300 burpees alone)What are your words to live by? Life is all about finding your balance; don’t focus so much on one aspect that you forget the othersWhat is your favorite & least favorite movement? Favorite movement is the Snatch, my least favorite is Thrusters (ick!)What would you tell someone who was interested in joining CF? Don’t be scared, everything is scalable and whether you’re working with 200lbs or 20lbs everyone is going to cheer you on and support you. It’ll be fun, I promise 😉 I’ve been to a lot of places, and CrossFit EP is at the top of the list for so many reasons.
June Athlete Spotlight: Paula
Paula is a Mahopac Middle School Reading teacher and a full time hockey/baseball Mom to her son Christopher. A majority of the time you can find her running around getting her son to practices, tournaments, playoff games etc. (that she loves to watch him at) but recently she has found some time for herself!
Paula started out with Coach Keith doing PT in order to ramp up for WBBC. During that time she struggled with running. Now you can find her running the 400m loop after every CF class! She is one of the hardest working Athletes at our gym. She is also the friendliest, nicest & most selfless person we have ever met! She always has a smile on her face, she always has a calming aura around her and she always puts a smile on all of her coaches’ faces when she enters the box.
Name: Paula Frey
Usual Class Time: 4:30PM, 5:30PM and currently living the teacher’s dream- 9AM/10AM in Pawling
What brought you to CrossFit in the first place?
My sister-in-law, Lindsay, had such positive things to say & I thought I would give it a try. I first eased into it slowly with private sessions with Keith. Then began Boot Camp and went right into CrossFit.
What was your first impression? How has that changed?
My first impression of CrossFit reminded me of some type of word puzzle with all the boards up and lingo that I had no idea what it was, i.e. WOD, AMRAP, 3×3? Now I actually know what it means!
What was your first awesome moment?
An awesome moment was when my son came to a class and ran with me and encouraged me to step it up! Another awesome day was at the Operation Elite Progression competition when I PR’d my front squat!! And of course the WODing for SuperTY!
What are you working on now?
I am currently trying to run, run, run. I really struggle with my running. I am working on my breathing and trying to lengthen my stride.
What’s your favorite Elite Progression memory?
I would have to say that Boot Camp would be one of my favorite memories. We truly all came together to help and support each other. It has carried over into our crossfit classes…but I truly enjoy seeing my brother and sister in law in the classes that I take!
What are your word’s to live by?
“Slow and Steady”
What is your favorite & least favorite movement?
If I had to pick a favorite it would be squats. My least favorite movement are burpees of course.
What would you tell someone who was interested in joining CF?
They have nothing to lose, try it a couple of times you will love it!
Photo Credit: Everyday Lifters
A Big “FAT” Lie!
Some of you might have seen some articles going around the Internet/Social Media. The basis of the article states that the “American Heart Association” is claiming that coconut oil, fat from meat, and butter is “bad” for you and we should replace these with “healthy” fats from vegetable oil & corn oil.
We are going to break down why this absolutely baffles us and why we smell corruption in the food industry yet again.
First, let’s discuss why these so called healthy vegetable oils and corn oils are actually poison to your body.
Vegetable oil and corn oil are highly processed. Here’s exactly how that’s done (in simple terms)
- Heat the seeds (yeah seeds, not even vegetables) to an extreme temperature making the oil rancid & harmful
- Process with petroleum solvent to extract oils
- Heat again to remove wax build up
- Add some more chemicals to eliminate odors
In contrary to the latest articles and “research”, our bodies need saturated fat, not polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA’s). Think about this, you can not consume vegetable oils raw, which should give you the first idea that they aren’t healthy. We need to heat them which immediately oxidizes them and renders them rancid which causes inflammation and mutation of cells. Saturated fats, butter, coconut oil, & animal fats are stronger fats that don’t break down at high temperatures.
Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio: PUFA’s are high in Omega 6, which are inflammatory and lead to cardiovascular disease. In the US, we have the highest PUFA/Omega 6 diet in the World. We also have the most deaths caused by cardiovascular disease.
Let’s look at our ancestors for a further answer. When they ate meat do you think they cut away the fat saying that’s going to give me heart disease? No, they ate EVERYTHING. There is NO evidence of heart disease 20,000 years ago. The way we digest and use nutrients has not changed, so why should we change the food we eat? Why should we start eating processed man-made fats? It just doesn’t make sense, does it?
Finally, many studies performed in the nutrition industry are funded by the big food companies and organizations. These oil companies are losing money the more people become educated, so they start what is basically a rumor. We also find it interesting that there was no citation of the research.
*This Link supports the facts in our post.
Each Memorial Day, Team Elite Progression (along with many other CrossFit boxes across the country & Military/LEO personnel) complete a workout called Murph. It is named after Lt. Michael P. Murphy a Navy Seal who lost his life in the line of duty. It is our way to honor those heroes who have lost their lives protecting our freedom.
This workout is not only physically tough, it is mentally challenging. When your body doesn’t want to go anymore, the reason behind it keeps you going.
1 mile Run
100 Pull Ups
200 Push Ups
1 mile Run
To all of our athletes…
Many of you were nervous going into this, not thinking you could complete something so difficult. You did your coaches proud!
We watched the determination & persistence in each of your eyes as you chipped away at this workout. You gave it your all. When you set your mind to it, there is nothing you cannot accomplish.