“You hear the signal “3-2-1…go!”The adrenaline starts pumping. You are fully beast-mode. You are doing great until that moment when the pain starts to increase, you can barely breathe, and your muscles don’t respond anymore.
You take a rest and hit it again only to discover that you only come back to the “misery condition” in one or two reps. You take a rest again and hit the wall one more time and so on and so on… Your brain starts to wonder why are you doing this to yourself, and all kind of questions come through your mind: “Do I really want to do this? What happens if I do 10 reps instead of 15? Nobody is going to notice it anyway… What if I cut the WOD so I don’t feel this misery?”
This is perfectly normal. Your mind has to protect yourself as the body sends signals that you are in “danger.” Besides that, your ego is facing a situation that scientists call “Ego Depletion,” where resisting temptation is harder and you are more likely to succumb to these kind of thoughts. You may start to rationalize and excuse yourself by saying something like “Well, I did a pretty good job anyway. I’m not ‘elite’ — why should I care?” So you cut a couple of reps from here and there and you finish happy in one piece. But does this have a consequence in your training? Honestly, it may not have nearly as much impact on the physical realm as on the mental one.
The “What the Hell” Effect
Does this phrase sound familiar to you? “Ok, I just broke my diet so I will go all-in for the rest of the day… Tomorrow I will start again from scratch and this time is going to be for real! What the hell!” and off you go trying to make the most of your non-diet self. This is what Prof. Dan Ariely (Behavioral Scientist) calls the “What the Hell” effect.
If you allow yourself to cheat “just a little bit” on the WOD, you are right – probably nobody will notice. But you know it and that’s the most important thing. Why? Because it has been scientifically proven that once we start to relax our moral standards, we are more likely to abandon further attemps to control our behavior and that means further misbehaving.” Continued…