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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 03-17-2008, 02:08 PM   #11
Rohan Sookdeo
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Re: Mental Fitness

I absolutely agree jake "the body is nothing without the mind and the mind is worthless without the body".

Completing the WOD can make you stronger mentally. But Having the will power to work through the pain and completing the WOD will make you stronger physically.

IMO You can replace WOD with anything that is mentally challenging and demanding, such as making a deadline at work or putting together a top notch surround sound system that you never thought would work... etc . When you have the power to work through anything that is mentally demanding and stressful enough to put your brain into overdrive It prepares you for bigger and better challenges. The WOD adds a differential because it is not only mental challenge but a physical one as well which I believe puts your mind through a whole different obstacle course.
I dont know about anyone else but when I finish my WOD at 6 am the rest of the challenges I encounter that day do not seem like challenges at all.
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Old 03-17-2008, 02:13 PM   #12
Darren Zega
 
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Re: Mental Fitness

Marc,

I have a 15 year martial arts background with a significant amount of exposure to various meditation aspects you describe. My experience has been that a singularly concentrated effort: meditation, performing a kata (sequence of karate movements), or a max effort lift all require and develop the same sort of mental focus. I would argue that mental fitness is, as a result, encompassed by the "coordination, agility, balance and accuracy" components of CFs fitness.

Like all other things, your mental fitness should be tested across as many different time and modal domains as possible - hence the pervasive "what are you reading" thread in the stuff and nonsense board.

I'm not saying it isn't important, just that it's already there.
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Old 03-17-2008, 02:23 PM   #13
Tim Luby
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Re: Mental Fitness

Mental toughness is most effectively cultivated through experiences--namely by dealing with adversity. In our case, we deal with adversity in the form of pain/discomfort almost on a daily basis. Guess that makes us a tough bunch!
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Old 03-17-2008, 03:06 PM   #14
Brandon Oto
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Re: Mental Fitness

The most clear, non hand-waving example I know of this in CF is a clear understanding of your capacity. A significant amount of the improvement you see between a rank novice and a veteran CFer is basically just understanding that you're supposed to be feeling like this and can in fact push harder. Beginners tone down their intensity much earlier because they simply aren't as aware of their true limitations.

It's not a binary judgement -- you do need to stop at some point, so you don't, well, die. It's just learning experimentally where that point should be.
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Old 03-17-2008, 03:30 PM   #15
Alex J. Perez
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Re: Mental Fitness

Remember the article in the CF Journal back in 2005 "Tabata My Job"?

http://www.crossfit.com/journal/libr...ata_My_Job.pdf (safe for work/home)

He took his top 8 priorities for work, applied a ten minutes on/5 off technique. Excellent idea . It really goes to show how everything is relative and it all trickles down. Everything from, the body always using multiple if not all muscles at once, to your mind working with your body, to your training principles helping your work ethic.
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Old 03-17-2008, 05:37 PM   #16
Marc Doucette
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Re: Mental Fitness

I love the "Tabata My Job" line of thinking..

This is working towards moving a learned type of mental focus into an aspect of life beyond physical exertion.

I'm also interested in the benefits here of training your mind not just to work hard and focus, but to maintain a broader perspective. My parents frequently ask me health questions, and recently have been improving their diet and exercise... but a huge detrimental factor for both of them is the amount of stress they deal with daily at work. I think it is easier for me to see then for them to see themselves, but I know it is a contributing factor in a slowly declining overall health. And while a few minutes of quiet breathing or relaxation can of course help this built up tension, it is more of a patch over the damage rather than an assualt at the source of the problem.

It is easier to realize you are stressed out and then make an effort to relax, than it is to train your mind to take a perspective where it seldom becomes stressed or frustrated, and rather takes in each instant moment by moment, not getting caught up in mental distractions.. and in those times it when you do start getting overly stressed or frustrated, to be mindful of this and only express it in your own head, while keeping your cool on the outside till you've sorted it out up top.

This is also I believe an extremely important aspect of overall health, it is mental fitness that is not directly connected to learning to mentally push physical effort. It is a mental fitness in that it is cutting out much of the 'fat' that clouds your mind in all aspects of your life. I have known plenty of atheletes very good at pushing themselves hard, but then having very little mental strength when it comes to dealing with issues off the field.

eg. I had a trackstar friend, great diet, great body, with family problems back home. Eventually his inability to sort these out started having an significant impact on his overall health, although he was doing all the right things. (eating / sleeping / exercising blah blah.) This is an extreme example, but I feel we all have the same problem to a lesser extent.
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Old 03-17-2008, 07:47 PM   #17
Alex J. Perez
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Re: Mental Fitness

Look at people who go to the gym for years and "exercise". They don't lose or gain weight. They drop thousands of dollars on personal training sessions and they dont see anything. Maybe they are content maybe not. Maybe they go just because its the status quo these days and is frowned upon if you don't belong to a public gym or dont elipt-a-cise yourself. But really all it would have taken to see results or to feel/be healthier and more fit was some hard work and dedication. A little knowledge wouldnt hurt either.
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Old 03-18-2008, 02:35 AM   #18
Brandon Oto
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Re: Mental Fitness

The flip side, Marc, would be individuals with extremely fixed and sedentary lives who generally don't do much and don't see any challenge or stress greater than stubbing their toe in their daily lives. For them, a CF workout introduces an important and valuable stressor.
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Old 03-18-2008, 12:11 PM   #19
Alex DuMars
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Re: Mental Fitness

I am finding this thread to be especially interesting and applicable to my current life. I've just recently come back to college after spending almost 3 months at an ashram in Colorado, it was kind of like a monastery, and a lot of emphasis was put on the mind/mediation.

Without going down the road Marc warned about with religious or spiritual implications, I'd like to talk about the place meditation had in my life at the time and how I've been affected w/out it since.

Every day we would have a morning meditation of about an hour, followed with other activities for another 30-45 min that didn't require thought (or rather, didn't require that we do anything but focus on the moment). We would also have an hour's meditation in the afternoon. A big emphasis here was on keeping the mind blank, or having it focused on one thing or another (the third eye, a mantra/prayer, an intention/request) during meditation and having a focus of our 'higher selves' or an intention on being totally present throughout the day. Every time the mind would wander from the intention or from the present moment, our job was to guide it back and ignore the passing thoughts "as the sky ignores the passing clouds."

I've recently been trying to get back into my daily meditative practice as I'm finding that my daily focus is waning in all aspects of my life. Like Marc said about it being easier to relax once stressed but more difficult to get to a place that doesn't have stress, I'm finding that I've drifted away from my "learn from adversity, but be not moved by it" stance back to normal life where my lack of presence allows stresses/worries/concerns/keggers to clog the way my body/mind stays healthy and burden free.

My workouts have been affected as well. At the ashram I would allow my mind to go blank - or at least try not to focus on random thoughts - and found that my workouts were more concise and the concentration aided me in all aspects of physical activity. Gotta get your chi on, as my buddy Joe would say.

So anyway, I think I've strayed from where I was going with this, but I would like to acknowledge Marc for his insight into an aspect that seems deeper than strong mind/strong body (or vice versa) and goes deeper into an idea of almost strong mind = unattached mind = stronger body.

I hope that's where you were going with it, I've gotten a bit carried away
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Old 03-18-2008, 03:17 PM   #20
Bill Sullivan
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Re: Mental Fitness

Going back to one of the initial conceps in this thread of "Diversifying Study," I'll put a plug in for Arts & Letters Daily: http://www.aldaily.com/ (wfs)

It's a great source of generally intelligent articles on a variety of topic you probably never thought about. I check it every few days to see what's new.
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