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Have you ever had the feeling that you weren’t good enough at something?  You know, those negative thoughts creeping into your head, whispering into your mind that you just don’t have what it takes?


Chances are your answer to these questions are yes.  I know for me it is. But I have news for you…you can train your mind to work against that!  


The founder of CrossFit, Greg Glassman once said “The greatest adaptation to CrossFit takes place between the ears.”  Think about that…not one of the greatest, THE greatest. So that 600lb deadlift you saw a couple years ago at the Games?  Watching someone get 100 consecutive pull ups? Those are undoubtedly awesome, but not the greatest adaptation. It’s what happens upstairs.




Former Navy SEAL Commander Mark Divine refers to an undisciplined mind as a “monkey mind” in his book Unbeatable Mind.  This monkey mind is your enemy, wreaking havoc on your plans and aspirations. It can allow negative thoughts to enter.


I’ve been a CrossFit trainer for 5+ years.  I have attended several specialty courses. And yet at times, I have doubted my coaching abilities – more than I’d like to admit.  So imagine how my “monkey mind” was acting up when I got the following text message from gym owner Wes Piatt:


Hey dude.  Next Friday I was supposed to host a professional development day for Gilroy Unified PE Teachers at the gym.  I got scheduled last minute to work an L1 in Oregon. Any chance you can do it?


My immediate thoughts: Holy shit. Can I do this?  


I had concerns that I was not ready for something like this.  Running a class can be stressful at times, depending on the size, number of new people, are there people with injuries that we need to scale, are there any drop ins, etc.  I imagined running a class of brand new athletes, which stressed me more!


After talking with Wes about how the day would go with the teachers, I knew I could do this.  I needed to get more comfortable speaking with a large group and discussing the foundational movements.  I was still nervous, but I knew I could do this.


Later Wes texted me:


Thank you for having a growth mindset and seeing this as an opportunity to get better and not running away from it.


Two words that stood out to me: growth mindset.  




Having a growth mindset means that you are open to learning and self improvement, and you believe your opportunity for success is limitless.  


A fixed mindset is one where you believe your individual qualities are something you are born with.  Kind of the idea that you either have it or you don’t. You feel that your success is limited, and no real change can be made.  


Another way to think of these is by having a growth mindset, you have a passion for learning, whereas a fixed mindset means you have a hunger for approval.


A growth mindset can be attained, but it must be practiced.  It is easy to regress to a fixed mindset. This can be triggered by criticism and failure.  




To transition from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, we need to focus our mind and prevent any negative thoughts from sabotaging our goals.  


In Mark’s book, some of the steps he provides to transitioning your “monkey mind” to a disciplined mind are:


  • Focus your mind and prevent it from going all over the place.  A focused mind is calm, clear and focused.
  • Feed that focused mind with positive and powerful imagery and emotions.  Think of this as your mind’s superfood.
  • Continue to practice and train your focused mind daily.  Think of it as your mind WOD.
  • This one takes a big step.  Surround yourself with other like minded people.  Remove or limit your exposure to negative minded people.


Once you have a disciplined mind, along with a growth mindset, you can apply your new ability towards your relationship with food.  Many times, people will turn to food in stressful situations, or when negative thoughts enter.


Had a bad day?  

I deserve some cake.  


Commute was rough and you got to work late?   

I deserve a drink tonight.  


How about this one…the number on the scale wasn’t what I was expecting.  

I’m no good at this.  I am just going to eat a pizza.  


While having these foods may help release some of the immediate tension, we often find ourselves in another hole than we were earlier.  Guilt. Guilt for eating or drinking what we “deserved” or felt we needed to have.


There are positive ways we cope with negative thoughts or feelings.  These can be various outlets such as lifting weights or a metcon workout, boxing, jujitsu, or even dancing.  These are physical coping tactics. There are also social or emotional tactics we use, such as writing in a journal, seeking support from someone we trust, even meditation.  


If you have any questions regarding this blog post or anything nutrition related, please contact Brett, Brittany or Wes at