We talk a lot in our gym about technical skills, muscle engagement, and getting stronger because they are so important! However, there is another huge component to progress in the gym, and it’s your self-talk.
Probably from your first day at CrossFit (no…from the night before your first day!) you’ve been battling your mind. Self-talk can either build you up quick, or smash down your skills, confidence, and motivation. Having a group of friends or a coach near to outwardly encourage you is great (and one of CrossFit’s best draws), but if you want to make real gains you’ve got to learn to improve your self-talk.
Research shows that positive self-talk has been shown to enhance performance, and negative self-talk does the opposite. Negative self-talk results in problematic physical responses like muscle tension, loss of focus, and breathing disruptions.
What can we do about negative self-talk?
First, listen to yourself. Have you ever listened to the things you tell yourself before you attempt something difficult?
- “This is going to suck…”
- “That’s a lot of weight…”
- “I won’t be able to complete…”
We can be so mean to ourselves, and so negative!
The words you mutter when the clock starts not only affect you, but they affect the people around you as well! When you give life to the negative thoughts popping up in your head, the people around you will hear and lose confidence in themselves as well.
Next, treat yourself as your own training partner. Rescript those negative words into words you’d speak to another member. While we don’t mind saying “I’m so weak” to ourselves, we’d never turn to a fellow CrossFit St. Charles member and say, “you’re so weak”. Think about what you would say to a friend who is struggling:
- “You can do this!”
- “It’s just working out”
- “Consistency always moves you forward, and I’m glad you’re here!”
Remember one day and one work out doesn’t change who you are. Instead of saying “I’m so weak!” because TODAY’S squats were hard, try saying “Today’s squats felt heavier than last week”. Realize that the problem of squats feeling heavy is much smaller than the emotion that is inflating the problem.
Let’s commit to less negative talk, inside our heads as well as outside.