Occasionally I feature posts from other individuals who have helpful input about the mental side of fitness, training or life. All of the other posts on this site are my thoughts, so I like to share different perspectives (especially so that you don’t get too tired of my ramblings).
Enjoy this post by Bruce Young, an incredible individual, CrossFit Masters Athlete (2015 CF Games Competitor) and someone who I’ve had the pleasure of coaching over the past couple of years.
How To Get To The Games As A Masters Athlete
Have Support At Home
* Being in good relationships with at least one person who really wants you to succeed as an athlete is an incredible help. Your support could come from family members, significant others, friends or even roommates.
- I was very fortunate, and still am, to have a partner who is looking for me to really grow as an athlete. There were many times when I knew my wife, Cecile, would have rather I stay home but she knew how important this was to me. One way we managed this was to sit down every week and review what family events and couple time were coming up so that I could schedule around these valuable events. Putting this system in place will helped Cecile realize that she is just as important. When you are together, stop talking about CrossFit. Be present in your family’s lives.
Hire a coach to do your programming
* This prevents you from working on what you want to do instead of what you NEED to do
* Make sure that person is willing to spend the time getting to know you as an athlete, avoid a cookie cutter approach
- A good coach will sit down with you, understand your strengths and weaknesses and will develop programming around that with your ultimate goal in mind.
- I sat down with Jamie Nugent, of CompWOD, and discussed what my goals were and what my concerns were. He agreed to work with me under one condition. I needed to be all in! Committed to the program as a whole with no cherry picking! That conversation was one of the two turning points in my CrossFit Journey and I am so glad I had a coach who spoke the brutal truth about what my weaknesses were.
Build Mental Strength
* Focus on your “why”.
* Be prepared for highs & lows – “Don’t get too high, don’t get too low” is a quote that I come back to often.
* Focus on what you can control.
* Learn to embrace “the suck” during those final moments of a wod…that’s where the winning happens
- A significant addition to my team was when I decided I needed help building my Mental Strength. Just to give you an example of how much I needed to work on this. During the 2013 Open I was in the middle of a wod and someone changed the music. I actually stopped during the wod and told them to change the music back. Yes, that’s right, during the middle of an Open wod I actually stopped to tell someone to change the music.
- Working with Dawn Fletcher, of MENTALITY WOD completely changed how I approach every workout, how I approach achieving balance in my life AND I no longer even pay attention to the music. I assume that this is something that I can not control. By the way, at The Games, when you are out there on the field, there is no music!
- Mental Strength, in my opinion, is what separates the winners at this level. Prior to getting into a nasty Open Wod I have a very set process that I go through which includes a prewod routine reminding me of how grateful I am to have a healthy family and the fact that I am able to compete in a sport that I love while surrounded by amazing people. This includes squatting down and focusing on these key ingredients, as you can see from the picture below.
Improve Tissue Mechanics
* Work on mobility daily
* Seek and hire practitioners who understand your goal, competitive athletics and the type of training you’re doing
- At Masters age, quite often, this becomes a war of attrition. Staying injury free and healthy is so key. I have been blessed to remain relatively injury free, possibly because I work on my mobility on a daily basis and I use the following on a regular basis: Chiropractor, Registered Massage Therapist & Physiotherapist – All three of these people understand what it means to be a competitive athlete.
Dial In Your Nutrition
* Find out what works for you and don’t change that as you get close to a competition or The Open
- In the beginning of my CrossFit journey I started with paleo.I found that this did not work for me. During 1.5 hour training sessions or long mountain bike rides I would start to get dizzy and feel fatigued. Once I started to introduce the right carbs, at the right time, my energy levels went up along with my performance.
- I found that using “My Fitness Pal” to track my caloric, carbs and fat intake helped ensure that I was getting the right amount of each component to sustain growth and energy.
Surround Yourself With Better Athletes
* If you are the big fish in a small pond you will stop growing as an athlete..it is that simple.
*Find a box that has athletes who will kick your ass
Set Goals and Be Prepared To Adapt
* Write that shit down and look at it every day
- Without a clear goal you are just going to flounder. It is that simple. When I am just going to the box for the sake of going to the box I tend to wander. Once my goals were clear-cut, written down I became very focused. I have conducted many Goal Setting Sessions at various boxes throughout the Greater Toronto Area, so this part came very natural to me.
- As you can see in the pic above, my goal was clear. “I will be an athlete participating in the 2013 CrossFit Games in California” It is short, simple, clear cut with a time line. Now, I had to adjust that goal two more times before I reached the goal.
- Participating on the field at The Games, with other elite, world-class, athletes was an adventure I am so proud of accomplishing. I would not change a thing. This was a long three-year journey. Because of the people in my life, I was able to achieve this goal.
Work Your Ass Off
Now, go back up and review the list, pick one item to work on and commit to this month..and start your journey! See ya in Carson!
To discuss how personalized Goal Setting Sessions can help you, contact Bruce at: