“With Crossfit, physical proficiency comes quickly. A year into the program, an athlete who was overweight, weak, and deconditioned can expect to be lean, strong, and resilient.
Hesitancy and doubt are replaced by confidence and competency, and novel challenges become opportunities rather than obstacles. Somewhere along that path, the athlete realizes that progress is not limited by bodily capability–it is limited by mental capacity.
Becoming a top-tier athlete requires one to balance on the precarious edge between self-preservation and self-annihilation. The intelligent athlete leans toward preservation, as this ensures progress rather than injury. The problem comes when that athlete shies too far from the edge, forgetting that the body is a very hard thing to break.
This leads to the dreaded “sandbagging”–performing below maximum capacity in the name of self-preservation. I’m often faced with experienced athletes who give ninety percent rather than one-hundred percent. This is not a conscious act, but rather a syndrome that comes from two sources: the brain telling the body to stop and the athlete’s inability to override that signal.
Your brain is responsible for keeping you alive, and tends to overreact to external and internal stimuli. It sends pain signals to your conscious mind long before your body reaches mortal danger, and it does so for a very good reason: it doesn’t want you anywhere near death. The larger the margin (and the sooner you quit), the less likely it is that you’ll approach this point.
To reach the upper echelons of athletic performance, you must ignore this signal. Most athletes are nowhere near their breaking point, and can afford to do this.” Continued…