Coach’s Corner: 3, 2, 1, Gotta Pee …
CrossFit workouts are notorious for eliciting fear in the hearts of adult men and women. If a workout doesn’t make you nervous then you probably aren’t working hard enough. A sense of apprehension is perfectly normal because the mind and body know the pain that is shortly to commence. However, there needs to be a delicate balance.
This balance is between anxiety, intensity, and focus. As a coach, I see daily the way that clients deal with levels of anxiety, intensity, and focus before, during, and after workouts. Any one of these areas can overpower the other and affect the safety and performance of a workout.
Anxiety can be a good thing in concerns to exercise. The body responds to stress in various ways. One of which, is the “fight or flight” mechanism. This prepares the body to react by boosting adrenaline, blood sugar, and other chemical messengers that in turn increase heart and lung function, dilate blood vessels to muscle, and relax bladder function. Pumped up and ready to pee. However, too much anxiety or stress will greatly decrease your ability to perform as you lose the ability to control your breathing and heart rate. Your blood pressure increases and you may get dizzy, lightheaded, or become generally unfocused. Think about times that you may have let anxiety levels get the best of you and how it affected safety and performance. Furthermore, this lack of focus will tend to manifest itself by speeding up inefficient movement that in the long run decreases performance. These same factors not only affect performance of a metcon (traditional WOD) but come into play during strength work as well. So what do we do?
I recently read where a coach said to, “give it some context.” This is fantastic. In all likelihood, you are not going to die from the workout. No promises, but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Aaron says he is reminded by the phrase, “you will pass out before you die.” Woohoo! As well, most workouts are over in fifteen minutes or less. Less than fifteen minutes. If you can’t endure less than fifteen minutes of discomfort out of your twenty four hours in a day, you got a problem. We will fix it! The pain is but for a little while.
The pain you feel feeds the motor of performance. You will get better. Everyday you will become more fit. Everyday you will become more tolerant of the lactic acid and the burning of cool air in constricted lungs. Everyday you will continue to pick that bar up; again, again, again, and again. Everyday as you doubt yourself and everyday as you look at the equipment in front of you in confusion and fear, you will be getting better than yesterday. Everyday you will distance yourself from the person you once were. Emerging successful. Strong. Courageous. Victorious!
“Our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths.” -Charles Spurgeon