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Mindset

Find the Joy in What you Do

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When was the last time you did something just for the fun of it?  Not for time, not to win, not to get promoted, not because it’s what your “supposed to do”, not for pride, not for betterment of yourself.  You did it simply because it makes you feel happy and joyful. If you can’t remember a time lately that you have done this then I encourage you to rediscover your joy.  It can be anything from reading a book, going to the movies, visiting with old friends, throwing a Frisbee, climbing a tree, and beyond.  The sky is the limit; as long as it brings you joy.

 

Now hear me, I’m not saying you can’t have fun at work or in sport, quiet the contrary, you can certainly find joy in one or both of those… If you look for it J.  As one of several quotes on the topic – this one by Arthur Ash – reads, “Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome”. So while you are “doing”, learn to enjoy some part or all of it. Don’t just run a marathon so you can say you did it; run a marathon for the joy of running and learning how to push your physical and mental limits. Don’t just take on a new client or assignment at work for a paycheck; find the joy in testing your professional limits and learning how to be better at your business.  If you find that hard or nearly impossible to accomplish in your professional life find SOMETHING that brings you joy, do it, and do it often. At the end of the day, you should be able to look back on your journey, whatever it was, and say, “wow, that was awesome and I am a happier and more fulfilled person because of it.  Find your joy.

Mindset & Meditation: No Perfect Routine

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In all of my years of training and coaching I have found that and athlete’s quest for fitness, weight loss, weight gain, and/or performance can be hindered not only by poor nutrition, lack of recovery, etc., but also by simply thinking that what they are doing is not sufficient enough.  All too often athletes chase perfection in training and when they don’t hit a workout goal it can send them into a tailspin of negative self-talk that can 100% affect performance and goals, or they see other athletes doing different workouts and think that’s what THEY have to do too in order to succeed. Our desire to do the perfect workout in the perfect amount of time has consumed us and we often forget the real purpose of what we are training for.

 

If you have ever said, “I’m slow”, “I suck”, “I’m not fast/strong enough” STOP. Stop chasing perfection in your routine and focus on each movement, each rep, and each set being the best you can make it.  If you’re physically or mentally tired, note that, but give 100% of you best effort in that moment.  If you can’t “finish a workout” maybe you need to rest more. If you set out on a training session and you thought it was going to take 60 minutes but it only took 52 minutes don’t think that you MUST keep going for 8 more minutes.  If you put in 100% effort for those 52 minutes then you have done exactly what you needed.

 

Hear me, I am not saying that you should not set goals in your training, I am saying that more often than not we don’t give ourselves enough credit for the work that we DO put in and that is what is creating negative self talk that can prove detrimental in competition and even in life.  Stop searching for the perfect training session or the perfect routine to get to your goals.  Focus instead on the journey you are on to reach your goals and strive to learn from every session every day.

Life’s Detours are not Dead Ends

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Life’s Detours are not Dead Ends

 

Have you ever been driving and hit a road detour? Sure you have, we all have. Sometimes we encounter the detour just a few blocks or miles from our destination.  Sometimes you can even see where you need to get to, but instead of driving straight there you now have to take a turn, weave through some neighborhood streets, take another turn or two, until you are eventually guided back to your original path and onward to your destination.  No one likes hitting a detour. It cuts into our time, our plan, our ——. But you know what? You still get to your destination.

 

We get hit with detours throughout our fitness journey and our life journey. We get injured, we don’t hit the goal for a race, we get fired from our job, we lose motivation personally and professionally, and the list goes on.  In each of these instances in sport and/or life, and more often than not when this happens our mind turns negative. We think things like “why is this happening to me”, “I’m not good enough”, etc.  We think our “road” has come to an end, but it hasn’t, we have just hit a detour.

 

In the documentary 180 Degrees South Yvon Chouinard , founder of Patagonia Clothing  makes a profound statement when the main character in the film has to call off his almost 12 month long journey a mere 200 meters from his goal of summiting a mountain in Patagonia that he has dreamed about since he was a child. Yvon says, “If you get to the edge of cliff and can’t take another step further or you’ll fall off the edge what do you do? You don’t go backwards. You turn 180 degrees and take a forward step towards a new path, a new direction”.

 

If or when you get injured in training, lose your job, or whatever your “detour” may be, don’t lose hope. Don’t allow your mind to go to that negative space. Instead, reroute your journey to a new direction. If you are injured in sport, this is a great time to focus and learn about foods and supplements to heal quickly, or it can be time to focus on other areas of your fitness that may have been lacking.  This would be a great time to focus on mindset and meditation. The same goes for your professional and personal life. If something happens at work, instead of blaming someone else, look within yourself and see what you could have done better/different and learn for the next time. The aforementioned have all happened to me, more than once, and each time I have had to redirect my path. It has made me wiser, more patient, and given me the ability to not lose hope, rather, I see these detours as a chance to take a few right turns and weave through a neighborhood or two.  Each time this happens I learn something new, and each time I still reach my destination, even if it took a little longer to get there.

Find Your Community Find Your Tribe

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The Power of the Tribe

 

“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb

 

As an endurance athlete I have spent years training alone.  Bike, run, swim, weights workouts all designed with specific metrics of power, pace, heart rate, etc. to hit made these training sessions a “party of one” activity.  To be honest I didn’t mind it, I got to be by myself, focused only on me, and my goals for the training session.  Outside of a few weekly group master’s swim workouts, I would say about 95% of my training for an 8 year span was done alone, and I will admit that even though I actually enjoyed 6 hour solo bike sessions, it was much more fun and motivating when I had a training partner, or partners, with like minded goals and abilities with me.  That’s where the tribe comes in.

 

Some call it a community, some call it a tribe, you can call it whatever you like, the point that I am trying to make is on the importance of linking up with like minded individuals, with like minded goals, that “get” what you are trying to accomplish and are there to support, encourage, and constructively critique you when needed.  The power of the “tribe” as one of my good friend’s says is that “the is the collective work of everyone for the good/growth of the community. At any given point the weakest member can become the leader and visa versa, but the tribe always works together to make sure everyone involved is successful”.  After years of training alone I found myself unmotivated and honestly a bit lonely, which was a rare feeling for me. I began to search for groups, Cross-Fit gyms, anyone that I could connect with on both a physical and mental level that would be able to push, encourage, and critique me. I NEEDED community, I needed a tribe, and so do you.  Here’s why.

 

  1. Support & Accountability:

You know those days when you’re tired, sore, etc. and just don’t want to go workout? Those are the days your tribe gives you strength.  You walk through the door and learn that many others may feel the same way, but they showed up and so did you. That may be the day you learn a new trick to overcome the soreness and/or mental and physical fatigue. If you know you have a tendency to slack off on your own, knowing that others are depending on you to show up holds you accountable for being there, even if it is just to offer moral support.  Just showing up and encouraging your tribe mates could have a huge positive impact on their performance that day, and this is a good example of when you are feeling weak, you show up to for moral support, and you end up becoming the “leader” by emotionally encouraging your friend(s).

 

  1. Motivation:

I can’t tell you the number of times, if left to my own decision, I would have skipped a training session because I was too tired, too sore, or just didn’t want to do the workout, but because I had training partners counting on me to show up – there’s that accountability piece again – I showed up and got after it. Often times, to my surprise, I would end up having a really great training session because we would challenge each other, tell jokes, and make the “hard work” fun.

 

  1. Community:

Surrounding yourself with like-minded people that share your same interests and goals is paramount to you becoming the best version of yourself possible.  This, or any of the aforementioned points don’t have to be sport related. It could be any type of group, club, or community – it doesn’t matter -find YOUR tribe. A lot of people like to give Cross-Fitters a hard time saying they are a cult, and “look at them, they all eat Paleo and talk about WOD times, etc. etc.”.  Here’s the deal. Cross-Fit athletes could give a shit about your opinion and/or what you think of them.  THEY are excited about what they are doing and THEY are excited about life and about motivating the members of their tribe to be the best they can be. The same can be said for triathletes, OCR athletes, speed walkers, or people who REALLY dig a good book club. As long as it’s feeding your soul and helping you become better and returning the favor, keep doing it.  No one else needs to understand and you surely don’t have to defend or justify yourself or your goals to anyone that doesn’t understand.

 

In closing I will tell you this: in all my years as an athlete I have never ran, biked, or swam faster, nor have I lifted more weight, done a few more reps, and therefore pushed beyond my perceived “limits” than I have than when I have been surrounded by my tribe on that day.  As such I have become stronger. I have been able to lift up and encourage my friends to do the same. We have all grown stronger mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially, and THAT my friends is the power and the importance of the tribe.

 

If you live in the Dallas/Ft Worth area and need a tribe to train, and do life with, check out www.linkendurance.comand join us for one or more of our group sessions.

 

Mindset & Meditation: Create Your Power Phrase

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What’s Your Power Phrase

 

At the time of this post I am listening to the e-book “Unbeatable Mind” by Navy SEAL Commander Mark Divine for the 3rdtime. I like to revisit this every year to refresh my memory on the lessons it teaches.  A few weeks ago I was talking to a good friend and he was telling me that a buddy told him DO NOT collapse at the finish line after your race no matter how hard you ran or how bad it hurts. Doing so can signal to your brain/muscles/etc. that you just gave 100% and couldn’t possibly go any harder and that isn’t true, you’ve got more to give.  Commander Divine calls this your 20X factor, or the 40% rule, meaning that you are capable of 20 times more than you think you are, or when you think you’ve reached your limit, you’re really only 40% maxed out.  Your “central governor” aka your brain is telling your muscles to shut down, but you have the power to override that “need”/desire to shut down and keep pushing, or in this case standing.  Therein lies your Power Phrase.

 

Every Monday I run 800-meter speed intervals at a local track.  If you have ever ran 800’s you know how bad they suck. This last Monday I was physically & mentally tired from a hard training week and still sore from a brutal workout the Friday before. My body hurt, my legs felt heavy, and I had accepted the fact that this session probably wasn’t going to be “stellar”. After a 1 mile warm-up run followed by the first 2 of 4×800’s I was coming back to life. I don’t listen to music when I run these sessions because I want to be 100% connected with my body, mind, and breath.  If I take myself out of the present moment with music and don’t learn to deal with the pain and discomfort in training, how the hell do I expect myself to push my hardest during a race? So I am right in the middle of my 3rd800m interval when it hit me.  I had my mental anchor set, I was focused on my breath, I looked down at my watch to see my pace and my mantra “power phrase” immediately became “I’ve got more, I’ve got more”.   I continue to repeat this phrase as I run and I see my pace get faster.. 6:04 pace – 6:00 pace – 5:55 pace – 5:50 pace. Then immediately after crossing the 800m line, instead of stopping and putting my hands on my knees/head, or dropping to the ground, I turn around, pull my shoulders back, lift my chin, and start declaring out loud “I’ve got more! I’ve got more” as I walk back to the start line with confidence.  I still have one more interval to run.

 

Two weeks prior to this session my fastest 800m interval was at a 6:17 pace.  I had just beaten that by 27 seconds with a 5:50 average and now, armed with my new power phrase I am determined to go harder.  Time to go!! I try not to look at my watch pace too early during an interval because I want to learn to “feel” my pace.  So with 300m left to go in my last set I look down at my watch… 5:55 pace – 5:50 pace – 5:45 pace – 5:40 pace.. I crossed the line, my lungs were on fire, my legs were jell-o, and I immediately turned around, lifted my chin, pulled back my shoulders and began to declare out loud again “I’ve got more, I’ve got more”.  Last 800m pace was 5:47.  I had just beat my time from two weeks prior by 30 seconds! However my session wasn’t over, I still had a 1-mile tempo run to go.  The last session my mile pace was 6:57, so armed once again with my mental anchor and my power phrase I take off, every 100m repeating to myself “I’ve got more, I’ve got more”.  Time to beat 6:57… My time for this mile, 6:37, a 20 second improvement!  Side note: I don’t know what the hell is up with all the 7’s in my times J, kinda cool though…

 

 

The lesson in my story is that you do, in fact, always have more to give.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t hard, or the pain goes away, you simply shift your mindset to being powerful and strong with your own unique power phrase. It can be anything that speaks to you. It can be one word, or it can be 10+ words.  You can apply your power phrase to any physical activity. You can apply the same, similar, or different power phrase to any stressful/hard/challenging situation in life, work, or relationships.  Regardless of the scenario create a mantra or “power phrase” that will give you the confidence and mental resilience to not collapse at your own physical or personal finish line, rather you will stand tall and lift your chin, because just like me YOU’ve got more…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mindset & Meditation: Pre-Workout Meditation

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To get the most out of your body you MUST prepare your mind.  Taking just a few minutes prior to your training session to focus on your breath and get your head in the right space, can make a huge difference in your performance, strength, & endurance for that session.  Practicing a pre-workout meditation prior to every training session no matter how challenging or how easy it may be will take you to the next level of self-awareness and performance.

Give this pre-workout meditation a try before your next session.

Mindset & Meditation: What Will I do Today, What Did I do Today

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What Will I do Today/What Did I do Today…

“Daily disciplines build on one another. You can’t complete change in one day, but when you work towards implementing a daily routine, that routine can create real noticeable prolific change”

All to often we wake up in a rush, turn on the news, or hop on social media, see something negative, and in our over-tired state of mind let that negativity create our attitude going into the day.  In our recent Health Episode Podcast Alix and I discussed taking ownership of your day, which is exactly what you have the ability to do when you flip you daily script from allowing outside forces dictate your attitude, reactions, & emotions. Instead wake up and say to yourself “Today I WILL XYZ” and take ownership of your day.

 

So here is what we recommend you do:

 

  1. At the beginning of each morning spend 1-5 minutes box breathing with a slight smile on your face. As you are breathing and smiling begin to create your day.  “Today I will ________”, not I “want to” or I “hope to”, be definitive in your thoughts and declaration.
  2. At the end of each day, take a minute or five and write down in a journal “What I did today” that was positive, that improved your quality of life, your health/fitness, your relationships personally and professionally, your mindset, etc.
    1. The next morning you can even review your “wins” from the previous day as a reflection and motivation to accomplish goals for the day ahead

 

Start with small goals each day. As you write them down you are building a catalog of accomplishments, wins, etc.  Go back at the end of each month and review all of your wins and take a moment to appreciate your progress.  Small goals/wins amount to huge victories and success in the long run.

Mindset & Meditation: Your Mental Race Plan

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Mental Race Plan…

 

You have spent months preparing your body for race day.  You train when you feel good, you train when you’re tired and feel bad. You eat well and supplement to ensure you’re recovering between workouts and now race day is here and your body is ready to perform.  But what about your mind? Regardless of your physical readiness and your stellar nutrition plan, if you have not created a solid mental race plan, you could be selling your performance and ability short, or worse, setting yourself up for an all systems failure.

 

The latter actually happened to a good friend of mine at our last race.  He had trained for months, every day, getting stronger and faster and on paper should have dominated this race. He rarely, if ever, missed a training day and his nutrition couldn’t have been cleaner. Yet as we were toeing the line to start the race the one critical piece of his training puzzle that was missing bit him in right the ass like that dog that finally got loose on the mailman. His race was literally over before it even started. He forgot about his mental race plan.

 

To create your own mental race plan follow these steps, and feel free to edit any step or add another step if it helps you but do not skip any of the steps below.

 

  1. Day before the race nutrition
    1. Have this planned ahead of time so you know on race morning your tank is full with exactly what you need to perform your best
    2. Although this isn’t necessarily mental, practicing with this fueling strategy in training will give you the piece of mind that it works
  2. A few weeks prior to your race, or as far ahead as you can, begin to visualize race day
    1. What time will you wake up
      1. What will you do if you oversleep
    2. What will you eat
      1. Mentally rehearse chewing slowly and intently to properly digest your pre-race fuel
    3. Driving to the race
      1. See yourself sitting up straight in your vehicle, holding the wheel at 10 & 2 and practicing focused/confident box breathing
    4. Warm-up
      1. Visualize exactly how you will execute your warm-up
    5. See the start line and your competition (this is a big one)
      1. Visualize walking to the start, box breathing, and create a mantra that gives you confidence and power
      2. Mantra example: “I’ve trained for this, I am ready, I am strong, I am confident”
    6. If you are racing an OCR and have the ability to view the obstacles ahead of time, or know what they are from a previous race, mentally rehearse exactly how you will complete each one
    7. If competing in a triathlon or other event, visualize exactly how you will begin your race- if a multi-sport race, visualize the start of each discipline along with transitions between
    8. Mentally plan for roadblocks during the race i.e. failing an obstacle, a flat tire, a cramp, extreme fatigue, legs that feel like lead, etc. Create a mental plan to overcome each/any of these that could apply to you on race day
    9. Create a mental anchor and mantra that when the going gets REALLY tough during the race, you visualize this anchor and repeat this mantra to give you confidence and strength
    10. Meditate while box breathing going over each of the steps above at least 3 times per week.If you can do it daily, or even pieces of it daily that is even better

 

Again, feel free to add any step that could help you perform better on your big day. Put as much practice into your mind as you do your physical training and you will set yourself up for an incredible day!  If you need help creating your personal mental race plan email mo@linkendurance.comfor a consult.

Mindset & Meditation: See Your Movement

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See Your Movement…

 

“Action begins with a thought; and it is in this thought that we open our mind, create a plan, and achieve the impossible.” – Coach Mo

 

In my studies of Sports Psychology I have found that many great athletes, Olympians, world champions, etc., have one thing in common that they relate to their success.  They each visualize their performance hundreds of times, over and over, so that on the day of competition their brain has rehearsed every movement so many times that their bodies know exactly how to react, respond, perform when it matter the most.  It is as if their body is running on autopilot, there is no thought to movement, their body just responds as it is supposed to. But what if you are not a world champion or an Olympian? Does the same visualization apply to your and your needs/goals? Absolutely it does!

 

Whether you are training for a race, training for fitness, or preparing for a big meeting, presentation, etc., seeing your movement can play a critical role in the outcome of your need/goal.  If training for a race you must visualize every step of the race in your mind, create a plan for any obstacles along the way, and repeat this daily until your body naturally responds to any situation thrown at you on race day. This works the same in life/business. If you are preparing for an important meeting or presentation mentally rehearse and see your movement.  How will you sit/stand, how will you respond to difficult questions/objections, what if you lose your train of thought, etc. Create a plan and see your movement.

 

I have a client that is a very talented musician. He can play two keyboards simultaneously, control two separate foot pedals, and sing all at the same time. However, when I give him a new physical movement in a workout he tells me “I’m just not that coordinated”.  That was until I taught him how to see his movement. Just as he learned to play the keyboards, it first took hours and hours of mental and physical practice until now he does it automatically. We broke down the “challenging” new physical movements and had him watch me demonstrate, see it in his mind, then execute. The first several times his movements were not smooth, fluid, or coordinated, but the more he visualized the easier it became.  What he once said was impossible to achieve because “he’s just not that coordinated” is now a part of his workout, and it all started with seeing himself move. This takes practice and patients, but again, it is the key to your success in sport, in business, and in life.  See your movement, believe in your ability to learn, and achieve the impossible.

 

Mindset & Meditation: The Power of Laughter and Smiling

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Laughing increases serotonin and endorphins in your brain, and smiling releases dopamine that increases feelings of happiness and content.  The power of laughing or simply cracking a smile as you go through your morning and day can have profound positive effects on your mood, stress, and health. Take a look at this incredibly detailed article from Helpguide.org on all the health benefits of daily smiling and laughing and learn how you can incorporate a little more joy into your day :-).