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Mind over Matter

By admin | In Psychology | on September 13, 2011

Happy Belated Birthday, Paul!!

First thing’s first: A very happy belated birthday to our very own Paul M., an Intrepid who is much loved by the gym. I distinctly remember most people’s first reaction when they met Paul. Everyone walked up to me and said, “I really like that guy!” Paul never failed to earnestly cheer others on during a workout, even as he was catching his breath. He was also the first to volunteer to give you a spot or help clean up weights.

It’s been a joy to watch Paul’s massive gains here, including his first handstand, and quickly followed by his first handstand push up. We hope you had a very happy birthday yesterday, Paul, and hope to see you for a belated birthday WOD in the gym!

Tommy Suggs, well known weightlifting coach and national champion weightlifter (former strength & conditioning coach of the NFL Houston Oilers), wrote an article for Starting Strength about the importance of training the mind as well as the body. Everyone has heard the story of the mother who lifted a car to save her child, or some variation thereof, but most people attribute it to a large surge of adrenaline brought on by dire circumstances.  While this is true, these observations still prove that the mind is a powerful tool in what it allows your body to do.

In our Thursday gymnastics class, I often see people pausing for a moment before a complex movement (i.e. handstand or muscle up) and I can see them visualizing themselves performing it in their minds first.  This visualization is key to prepping your body for a difficult task and seeing it through mentally before you perform it physically.

Coach Suggs talks about utilizing meditation and visualization as part of your training:

Focus is what meditation and visualization is all about. Focus is the ability of the mind to focus on an object without interference from other thoughts − the static that is always present in our minds. Meditation places the attention of the mind on a certain object. The object can be a thought or a feeling. Visualization places the attention of the mind upon a visual act or movement.

He divides the mental training into two parts: Morning and Night

1. Morning: Spend some time (Suggs suggests 30 minutes) focusing on your breathing and relaxing every single body part from the toes up through your head. Clear your mind of all thoughts except relaxation. Then:

See yourself go thorough your routine exercise by exercise. Mentally feel the weight of the bar and how the movement will feel as you perform the exercise, heavy but performed in good form and with strength in reserve. Know that the weights will be heavy but also know that you will have the strength to handle it correctly for the designated number of repetitions. Feel the weights in your hands or on your back. Don’t make the mistake of thinking the weight will feel light. Being unrealistic about how the weights will feel and the ease with which you will handle them will only lead to disappointment and a negative attitude when you find the weight you thought would feel like a feather instead feels heavy, like a training weight should feel.

2. Night: Repeat the process, but for those of you with an upcoming competition (be it a CrossFit competition, a half Marathon, an weightlifting meet, or a fight), visualize yourself competing, moving as you would under ideal circumstances, and performing to the best of your ability.  Feel yourself work to cut those seconds or minutes off your time; pull that extra 20 pounds off the floor; but again, be realistic about the effort it will take to achieve it.

Check out the article in its entirety here. Coach Suggs goes on to describe how he visualized his lifts and how training his mind was paramount in his success as a lifter.

WOD 09.13.11

Press 3×5 or Wendler

3 rounds:
AMRAP 4 minutes, Rest 2 minutes
Buy in: 300m Row
3 Muscle Ups
5 Power Snatches

18 Comments to "Mind over Matter"

  • Mark Miller (M^2) says:

    September 13, 2011 at 6:51 AM -

    Paul – happy belated birthday!

    PS Nice shoes.

  • Tom says:

    September 13, 2011 at 8:22 AM -

    Happy Birthday Paul. I, too remember watching Paul do a few handstand pushups and I consider it one of the coolest things I’ve witnessed at CFI. I look forward to coming to crossfit, especially when Paul is working out with us.

  • Scott says:

    September 13, 2011 at 9:02 AM -

    Happy Birthday Paul!! I remember a while back when Michelle commented to me… “Have you seen Paul? He looks great! He looks ten years younger!” Keep up the good work….and share your secret to getting younger!! :)

  • Amanda says:

    September 13, 2011 at 9:03 AM -

    Happy birthday Paul… sweat with you later this afternoon. Maybe Ruth will throw in some handstand push-ups so you can show off.

  • Jake says:

    September 13, 2011 at 9:45 AM -

    Happy Bday! Been a great pleasure getting to know you. Keep up the great work!

  • the Pooj says:

    September 13, 2011 at 9:53 AM -

    happy belated birthday pablo!

  • Alia says:

    September 13, 2011 at 9:54 AM -

    Happy Belated Paul =)

  • A.J. says:

    September 13, 2011 at 10:03 AM -

    Happy Bday Paul, always impressed with your determination and commitment in each workout.

  • Aaron says:

    September 13, 2011 at 10:09 AM -

    Happy Birthday Paul! We all appreciate you cheeering everyone on during our WOD’s.

  • paul says:

    September 13, 2011 at 11:51 AM -

    Thanks to all for the birthday wishes. In Chicago for a week-long tradeshow…Hotel gym is open 24 hours a day…Planning on two-a-days!

  • Michelle says:

    September 13, 2011 at 3:08 PM -

    Happy belated birthday Paul! You are such a great addition to the CFI family! Also, I am jealous you of your handstand pushups…

  • Sean says:

    September 13, 2011 at 3:21 PM -

    Hope you have a great birthday in Chicago, Paul. So proud of your progress since being part of Intrepid. Keep it up, and safe travels.

    1. Marcus says:

      September 13, 2011 at 3:46 PM -

      Happy belated Paul!

  • Amy says:

    September 13, 2011 at 5:15 PM -

    Happy Birthday Paul!!!

  • Brian says:

    September 13, 2011 at 7:02 PM -

    Happy birthday Paul! Your work ethic is second to none, I hope I have that kind of motor when I’m your age! Enjoy your trip!

  • Troy says:

    September 13, 2011 at 8:17 PM -

    Happy birthday Paul!

  • laura says:

    September 13, 2011 at 10:00 PM -

    Happy birthday!

  • Matt W says:

    September 13, 2011 at 10:22 PM -

    Happy Birthday Paul! Your intensity is contagious.

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