Written by Hannah Dykstra

Before you continue to read this article, I want to challenge you as a reader to think back to your first CrossFit “on-ramp” or “fundamentals” intro and remember the reason why you stepped into the gym to start with. Maybe it was to be a better parent, lose weight, get stronger, live a healthier lifestyle, or to join a community. Regardless of what your reason was, it became your motivation to invest in yourself. The concept of health and fitness is beautiful, but the pursuit of health and fitness is even more beautiful because it allows you to challenge yourself everyday to invest in the one entity you will keep with you for your entire life – your body.


Now that you’ve reflected on your original reason for joining CrossFit, I want you to think of your mental habits both inside and outside of the gym. I am going to lay out a few common thoughts and actions I’ve come across as a trainer:


Do you…


  • Stare at your phone until 8pm just to look at the workout for the next day in order to strategize?
  • Skip a workout day because of a certain movement programmed?
  • Walk into the gym and walk straight to the board to see who scored what time or lifted how much weight?
  • Count another persons reps to make sure they aren’t cheating?
  • Sacrifice movement in order to beat a friend?


If you have said yes to any of these, take a second to reflect. How much do these thoughts or actions consume your every day life? How much of these can you actually control? Most of these you cannot actually control – you can’t control the programming, you can’t control what someone else does or their fitness level that day, how hard they will push or their skill and fitness levels in general. You can’t control  a person’s rep count or their range or motion. 


So what can you control to make sure you’re the fittest, healthiest version of yourself is this:


  • Nutrition: This is what you put in your body, not only to fuel it properly, but with the mindfulness to respect it and give it the credit it deserves for being so capable of. Including hydration!
  • Sleep and recovery: Are you getting the sleep your brain and body deserve? Do you prioritize mobility and recovery?
  • Mental capacity: How hard are you willing to work?
  • Affirmations: How positive are you to yourself? What do you consciously tell yourself before, during and after your workouts? Are you proud of what you are accomplishing and do you allow yourself that celebration?
  • Regulations: How often are you down-regulating from a long hard day? How do you reduce the stressors in your life so that you can mentally and physically recover?
  • Ego: Have you let go of what you think that you “should” be or what others think you should be?


Yes, it sounds cliché to focus on what you can control, not what you cannot. But for as simple of a concept as this is, so many fail to embody it in their lives. To consume yourself with the things you can’t control, it’s just adding more stress to your already stressful lives, it’s like adding a whole other round to Murph. CrossFit was developed for the purpose of health and fitness, competition comes after movement. If you are focused on the things you can’t control more than what you can control, how can you expect to self progress? Begin to track your intentions at the gym and catch yourself in the midst of the competitive chaos. Be selfish – your fitness is your own! 


“ The more you try to control something, the more it controls you. Free yourself and let things take their own natural course “ – Unknown