Written by Sarah Loogman

How you respond to your workout is much like how we respond to life. If you miss a lift, do you throw a fit? Do you hunch over with hands on your knees or walk away from the barbell as you try to catch your breath? Do you cringe when you’re uncomfortable, do you quit? When the workout is over, do you lay out and writhe around on the floor?

When circumstances of our environment bring us down, we often feel the “right” to react a certain way. If someone mistreats us, we feel justified in our anger. When we have car trouble, we reason that we have permission to be short with our family, friends or spouse because of the stress we’ve come under. We feel the right to wallow in our grief when we lose something valuable to us. But the underlying fallacy to all of this emotional entitlement is that we are controlled by our environment. You are in control.

The way you carry yourself when you face challenge and hardship, whether it’s in life or CrossFit, has a direct impact on your perception of the situation. Your posture matters. It’s impossible to feel strong when you’re cowered down. When your head is down or your eyes are closed, you can’t evaluate the situation around you. When you run away from your uncomfortable circumstances, it requires much more fight to come back. Don’t quit on your own life.

On the other hand, when we keep our stand despite our adversities, it in turn gives us confidence. These fundamentals are simple, but they won’t be easy:

Respect your failures. You will not always PR and you will not always make every lift or crush every workout. Sometimes, things just don’t go the way we want them to. When we react in anger to our own shortcomings, we miss valuable lessons. Experience the experience, void of your own judgements.

Keep your shins at the bar. Walking away from the barbell doesn’t change the fact that you still have work to do. Separating yourself from your challenges, responsibilities, and the task at hand will never remove the situation itself. Eventually, you will have to go back and you will have wasted your energy in your wandering.

Stand up. When you hunch over with your head between your knees mid workout, you look weak and therefore you will feel weaker. Never allow defeat to overtake you, as hard as it may be to remain tall. In the face of adversity, pull your shoulders back and keep your head high. Create your confidence.

Stay off the floor. How you carry yourself after challenge is just as important as how you carry yourself through the experience itself. Life moves on. You don’t need to lie down to prove to everyone how hard you worked and if you could stand through your final rep, you can stand to do absolutely nothing. The best way to recover from hardship is to keep moving forward.

Relax your face. If you fake frown for long enough, you’re eventually going to feel grumpy. When you wrinkle your face in pain, you only feel more pain. Again, you don’t need to prove to anyone how hard you’re working by appearing to suffer more. Keep peace in your countenance.