Mental Toughness

The Crossfit Open is coming up THIS WEEK. The Open is a five-week, five-workout, worldwide competition. Anyone can join, do the workouts and post their scores to see where they rank in relation to peers all around the world. I participated in my first Open in 2013. I was a Crossfit noob. I still am a Crossfit noob, so I guess in 2013 I was a super-noob. As intimidating as the Open sounded, I decided to sign up anyway because I was just starting to get into the Crossfit community and understand how awesome it was.

Each year that I participated in The Open, I gained a new skill or was forced to learn something new. I got my first double-unders one year. I got my first handstand push-ups another year. Not that I need to learn how to do handstand push-ups to survive in life, but the whole process and light competition pushes people to try just a little harder or go where you didn’t think you could go before – physically and mentally. This is why I love Open season. It’s fun and there’s something new to look forward to every week. A new workout gets announced every Thursday starting on February 25th. Athletes then have until Monday, I think, to complete the workout, judged, and submit their scores online.

My gym, Crossfit Power Grid, has been preparing its athletes by cramming a ton of skill based workouts into the months prior to The Open and having past Open workouts every Friday night so that we get a feel of a little light competition. About a week ago, my gym hosted an old Open wod, which was also the worst workout I’ve ever done.

[Here are some photos from Open workout 14.5 the first time around…]

I posted this on IG about a week ago but I wanted to share it here as well.


“Tonight was special. I knew the wod was going to be Open Workout 14.5 a day ahead of time and I had come up with about 17 excuses not to make it to the gym today. 14.5 was the most mentally challenging wod I’ve ever done. [21-18-15-12-9-6-3 65# thruster and bar-over burpees] (This means do 21 thrusters – cleaning the bar from the ground, squat below parallel and then press the bar above your head until lock-out. That is one thruster at 65#. Then do a burpee and jump over the barbell and do another burpee 21 times. That’s one set. Then 18 thrusters, 18 burpee over barbell, 15 thrusters, 15 burpee over barbell… you get the point). Not only was I not efficient at either movement but it was tough for me to not quit the first time around. I was going through a lot during that time in 2014 and I remember that day vividly. My brother and close friend, @jsssoi came to watch and support me, just because. It took me almost 38 minutes to complete the whole workout. This time around, after lots of pushing and encouragement from the gym fam, I decided to show up. That was the hardest part. Still thought of 12 reasons to leave before the workout started. Paced the workout and split up the reps. Ended up finishing with a 15 minute improvement from my last time. Couldn’t have done it without everyone pushing me! #6amcrew #5dirty#nightwarriors #crossfitpowergrid [📷 cred: Joe Joyce]”


It might sound silly that I put so much meaning into one silly workout, one silly night. But it was much more than a workout for me. I am always  my own worst enemy. I easily psych myself out before anything even happens. A wise person once told me that it is often the anticipation for something that is often worse than the event/incident/end result. We psyche ourselves out so much through worrying and negative thoughts that we put ourselves through unnecessary fear and stress. When the event/issue/end result won’t even end up being that bad.

I’ve recently had a few people come out of the woodwork and become very significantly encouraging and inspiring mentors to me. With that general motivation that has helped light a fire under me, came a little courage to do a little more and put myself in uncomfortable situations. Another wise person once told me he did not like it when he felt comfortable. That is when you stop learning and pushing yourself. It is when you feel uncomfortable that you are always striving to do better and challenge yourself. I’ve found both these pieces of advice to be very true and helpful to me.

The anticipation for anything for me was always my downfall. I started to just show up. Just do it. Just go for it. And what I feared never ended up being that bad. Then I started to make sure I was uncomfortable in everything that I did. I couldn’t run, because I was too fat. Just showed up, just ran slow anyway. Just finished last and felt uncomfortable finishing last. Eventually, I hated running a little less and ran a LITTLE less slow (just a little). I couldn’t do a pull up because I wasn’t strong enough. Just show up, put in some extra time and effort every other day, GOT FUCKING 5 PULL UPS! I mean, you know, not trying to brag or anything, but I kinda am. #JustSayin I needed to talk to someone at work about something completely out of my comfort zone. Prepared for it. Just showed up and started the conversation. Everything after that was easy and things ended well. I learned a lot in the past few months from these mentors and I’m appreciative for them every day.

Fear less. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable. Use that to push you in the right direction.



I’m a little late for Valentine’s Day but…IMG_4381 bye.


I’ve been extra busy working at home and on weekends and this little-big guy has been as accommodating as can be. He’ll sit with me while I work and take naps behind my butt, taking up pretty much 95% of the chair. Selfish, cute bastard.

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4 thoughts on “Mental Toughness

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I started Crossfit in September 2015 and I’ve entered this year’s Open. I’m nervously excited and it’s good to get the perspective of someone who’s already competed in the Open. Good luck this year.

    • I’m so glad you signed up! You will be happy you did. :) One other thing that I love about the Open time is that I was not the only one who conquered fears or battled through some personal struggles. So many people at the gym go through the same thing at the same time and all come out feeling stronger at the end of it. So it’s a powerful thing to witness and be apart of!

      • I’m looking forward to that. And I love testing myself and seeing where the gaps are. There’s always something to work on. I only recently managed to do 95# thrusters which gave me a confidence boost ahead of the Open. Still trying to nail muscle-ups though. Will you update your blog/instagram with your progress? I’ll check back through the 6 weeks to see how you’re doing and share stories

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