I heard about “flow & flow state” while listening to a CompTrain podcast a few years ago…
The message I recall from that was, “What you are thinking mid-way through any workout is the mental state that you’ll begin your next workout with”.
That prompted me to bring attention to any athlete that was shaking their head “no” or seemed to be struggling to stay positive in their minds. I was shouting “YOU GOT THIS” and “KEEP MOVING”!
“Flow state” has been defined as the experience of being so absorbed by an engaging task that your attention is completely held by it. You generally lose sense of time, self-consciousness, and anything that doesn’t have to do with the task at hand.
So many great things in our world have been a result of focus and this “flow state”.
That led to a deeper dive into what goes on in any athlete’s mind during a WOD. How do we push our athlete’s to INTENSITY? Specifically, how do our athletes deal with DISTRACTIONS and what is their MINDSET in class?
Let’s talk about that.
SCENARIO: You’re in the middle of a five round workout and you’re starting to question your life choices. You clearly started too quickly and you’re already gassed out. Everything seems to hurt and you’re about to start the next round. UH-OH.
TWO WAYS THAT YOU CAN APPROACH THIS
- F.M.L. approach. Keep drawing your attention to the pain and the two rounds that you haven’t started yet. Look over to your gym buddy and make a comment about how much this sucks. Recall the workout where you didn’t struggle and beat yourself up for not being more consistent. Look across the room and take notice that Athlete X, who you constantly compare yourself to, is ahead of you. Think about reducing reps and range of motion and just focus on getting this over with.
- FLOW STATE approach. Focus on what’s in front of you and nothing else. Draw your attention to the rep that you’re on and pay no mind to the next round or anyone else in the class. Do you feel pain? OH YEAH, but don’t draw too much attention to that, just do the rep in front of you. Pause to keep track of your score or round. Trust that your coach will have your back and cue you along the way
Let’s end the suspense and understand that option 1 happens to us all.
BUT, next time you are caught in the FML approach, and you start to go really negative in your mind, consider this:
If the voice in my head was the voice of my coach, how would that make me feel? Would you accept that treatment? Is that what you expect from a coach/gym?
Let’s dive deeper into DISTRACTIONS. Distractions stop progress.
Having TRACTION means that you have the support that is needed to make progress. Like the grip of a tire on a road or a wheel on a rail.
DIS-TRACTION means that you don’t have that support.
FIRST OF ALL, our 5 senses distract us. Whether we like it or not, that loud noise (or maybe bad music – sorry about that), that smell of cookies or hot garbage, heat from the blazing sun that bakes our skin and the bad lunch choice rising up your throat during that run, will always be a distraction.
We can’t control these unexpected external factors. While these may or may not put a dead stop to our progress, they CAN definitely alter our mindset.
Contrary to our belief, the FML approach IS A CHOICE. Does the workout hurt, uh..YEP! Do we have to be the world’s shittiest coach to ourselves during this moment of discomfort? I would like to say NO, we don’t HAVE to be.
Keep in mind that human beings are PLEASURE SEEKING and PAIN AVOIDING creatures. Your mind does not like you doing uncomfortable things and will do what it can to make you stop.
It wants to be in FULL DISTRACTION mode during that tough workout.
HERE’S A PLAN OF ATTACK…
Let’s take a moment before and especially during a wod to try to draw all of your attention to what’s in front of you at that moment. Remember that distractions will come, but just be aware that they are present, take a breath and bring your attention back. There is SO MUCH power to AWARENESS.
In your mind, tell yourself the things that you want to hear the coaches say. As a coach, I can tell you that we work hard on making sure that we keep you and the community at Warehouse a safe, positive and supportive environment.
We KNOW you will be outside of your comfort zone and that’s EXACTLY where we want you. We KNOW that your mind may want to complain, whine, make excuses and almost beg to not be challenged. We KNOW that you may go into some part of FLIGHT, FREEZE or FLIGHT when you experience work at a higher intensity than what you are accustomed to.
With MURPH around the corner, let’s all CRUSH that workout by being mindful of the tricks that our brains play on us to keep us distracted.
THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU THINK and know the difference between the two approaches above….AND, be mindful that others are going through that same experience so PLEASE do your best to allow them to focus on their work. SUPPORT YOUR FELLOW ATHLETE’S and…