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Ten Ways to Develop Mental Toughness

Good morning and welcome to the Morning Chalk Up. Today’s edition is fueled by FNX.

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“Training hard is filled with risk and injury. But I would rather have a broken ankle than a broken dream.” — Laura Cariello

10 Ways to Develop Mental Toughness


By: Coach John Klessinger

Physical toughness is the ability to keep working when you are tired, dealing with pain, or being challenged. You get physically tougher by working each day to get bigger, faster, and stronger. 

Physical toughness affects mental toughness. When you are physically tired, you will not perform at your highest mental state. Most mistakes in a game or match occur due to physical tiredness. We make physical mistakes in movements we have conquered in training when we are tired. Those simple tasks become mentally challenging.

So how do we improve mental toughness? 

1. We get as physically tough as possible. The more physically prepared we are, the longer we can go in a WOD, game, match, or competition performing what we practiced without the fear of making a mistake. Our teammates have a part in our mental toughness too. When your teammate is taking short-cuts, not working hard or not following directions, it is your responsibility to help them to become physically and mentally tougher. 

2. Regularly challenge our bodies outside our comfort zone. The reality is we make the most growth when we do things that are difficult for us. It could be a tough workout, having that “hard” talk, or making a speech to an unfamiliar audience. But, the more often we do something uncomfortable, the stronger we become.  

3. We feed the positive wolf. The more we train ourselves to think and see things positively, the more things we will see in a positive light. Our fight or flight response is part of our genetic make-up. When we sense danger, our internal alert system is activated. However, that internal alarm system is there for a real threat like a lion trying to eat you, not for a math test or a tough opponent. We change our internal dialogue with consistent positive self-talk. Positive self-talk needs to be done consistently to be effective. If we wait till that stressful or challenging situation to feed the positive wolf, it is too late, and the negative wolf will take over.

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WATCH: Will Edmonds with Max El-Hag
Will Edmonds from CNN visited Training Think Tank to sit down with coach Max El-Hag to pick his brain about the 2019 CrossFit Games. They discuss Noah’s weekend in Madison, why Will Moorad wasn’t 100% after the final cut, and Travis Mayer missing that final cut by .001 seconds.


HEAR: Doing Business With Your Spouse
Adee and Michael Cazayoux run Working Against Gravity together and in this episode, they share the secrets to managing a business while maintaining a healthy relationship. Michael and Adee believe working together is beneficial for both their business and their relationship, but they also recognize the unique set of challenges that can come from going into business with your spouse. 


GET: Two Pounds of Free Ground Beef for Life
New members of ButcherBox will get two pounds of free ground beef for the life of their subscription. ButcherBox only delivers 100% grass-fed, grass-finished ground beef that is raised free from antibiotics and added hormones.


KNOW: Why CBD is Such a Popular Recovery Tool for Athletes
Research shows that CBD oil can benefit athletes by reducing the pain and inflammation sometimes caused by training. CBD oil made from full-spectrum hemp extract can also slow down the breakdown of muscle fibers and help you get the sleep and rest you need on tough training days.


EAT: Copycat Chipotle Burrito Bowl 
Have Chipotle at home with this burrito bowl that is bursting with fiesta flavors, easy, customizable, hearty and delicious. Make it with a pound of ground beef or turkey, or go vegan with your favorite protein source.


Today’s edition of the Morning Chalk Up is

Chalk Up Community

  • STEVE’S CLUB IS HIRING — Steve’s Club, a national non-profit program that uses fitness to serve at-risk and underserved youth is hiring a part-time program assistant. 
  • FUNDRAISER FOR CYSTIC FIBROSIS — Emerald City CrossFit in Seattle, WA is hosting a charity team competition called Muscles for Mucus on September 14 for one of their members, Devin Wakefield, to raise funds and awareness for Cystic Fibrosis Research Inc.
  • CONJUGATE TACTICAL COURSE — Westside Barbell’s inaugural Conjugate Tactical Instructors Course will take place Sept 7 – 8 at Applied Strength & Conditioning in Chesterton, IN. The class is capped at 30 students, covers Con-Tact concepts, and concludes with a test. Successful students will leave with their certificates to present and display in their home gym.

CHALK UP IN 2 MINUTES (a highlight reel around social media of CrossFit pros and average joes)

Happy tenth birthday Elliott Danger Hunter McCall gets his first bar muscle-upTalking Elite Fitness now sells their shirts and decals online • Congratulations to Matthew Joe on his ring muscle-up progress • Cayla Harper cleans 185 pounds for ten • Tickets to Wod on the Waves 2 are on sale now • Brooke Pernice, who is visually impaired, hit a new 5RM deadlift PR at 130 poundsKT Trombetta cleans 215 pounds for three • James Townsend did the one ton challenge in 37 secondsTommy Vinas does a clean complex at 275 pounds.

…and this 10/10 good boy just wants in on the action. 

Kara Saunders is Training Again — Kara Saunders revealed on her YouTube channel that she is back to training with intensity. Earlier this week on Instagram, she also announced that she will be running the Ultimate Hawaiian Trail Run next month.

Alec Smith Shares That He is Gay — Alec Smith took to Instagram yesterday to share that he is gay. 

— “I know this isn’t a fitness related post, but there’s been something on my mind that I’ve been wanting to talk you about for a while now, and I think that I’m finally ready to.

— “So, I’m gay, and I am at the point in my life now where I am okay with that, I’ve accepted it. I’m happy with who I am.

— “Its been a struggle, it really has. My whole life I’ve known that I was different. When I was twelve-years-old I knew that I was attracted to guys and I hated myself for being attracted to guys, which led me to hide who I was…I found myself playing sports to distract myself from who I really was.

— “This is your life. You shouldn’t feel like you have to please anyone else.”

Ten Games Athletes Share Their Favorite WOD — Ten CrossFit Games athletes like Alexander AnasagastiSimon MantylaJamie Greene and James Newbury shared their favorite WOD with Men’s Journal.

Coaching the Complicated Versus Coaching the Complex — Tod Nief, owner of and coach at South Loop Strength and Conditioning recently posted an article on how new and veteran coaches can navigate coaching the complicated and the complex.

— “When a coach is getting started, they must go through the process of learning how to handle ‘simple’ scenarios. Each of these scenarios can be put into a basic flowchart of decision-making.

— “However, everyone who has been coaching for awhile recognizes that this kind of simple decision-making is often inadequate and, in some cases, can be counter-productive. A lot of these scenarios are ‘complicated,’ meaning that there is a right answer somewhere, but it may be difficult to get to and often requires deep knowledge and expertise. And, there’s often more than one way to get to a correct answer.”


“How a Creepy Basement, Street Parking, and Suffering with Friends Became a Thing,” by Jessica Danger, Morning Chalk Up

When CrossFit Aspire closed in October 2018, member Jessica Shulz knew she would need something to help hold her accountable to still working out. Instead of joining a different CrossFit gym, Shulz opted for following Street Parking programming at home. So she reached out to friends, invited them all to workout with her, and started an Instagram account, Suffer With Friends.

“I thought it’d be a way to keep myself accountable while doing Street Parking at home. I figured if I recorded myself, I’d be less likely to stop in the middle of the workout and walk to my phone to turn off the camera. I also thought it’d be a nice way of tracking my new journey with new programming and wanted to really see if I could continue to work out but by myself,” Shulz told the Morning Chalk Up.

Street Parking programs WODs that you can do anywhere, as long as there are dumbbells. Sometimes Shulz works out alone at home, sometimes she gets together for WODs in the park with friends, or on Tuesday nights, dubbed the “get together” nights, old members of CrossFit Aspire come together to workout. Often times, she works out in her best friend’s basement, “which we’ve dubbed the ‘Creepy Basement.’ There are some videos that show that it can be a little creepy. We’ve even done a Fight Club parody down there,” she said. Shulz then shares these videos on the Suffer with Friends account.

But it wasn’t just the Street Parking WODs that Shulz was sharing. She was also sharing her mental health and weight loss journey and she found that people were responding to it. In June, Shulz went through a particularly tough time. Depressed and experiencing passive suicidal idealization, she was open about her experience on the Suffer With Friends account.


8/21: Wodapalooza Individual Qualifier (Online)
8/23 – 8/24: Third Annual 24 in 24 (Cumming, GA)
8/24: Battle For the Badge (Vestal, NY)
8/24: OUTWOD Miami at Move.Lift.Live (Miami, FL)
8/24: OUTWOD Las Vegas at CrossFit Social City (Las Vegas, NV)
8/24: Deadlifts for Kids (Lilburn, GA)
8/24: The Southern Games 2019 (Louisville, KY)
8/24: 2019 Koda First Timer’s Open (Oklahoma City, OK)
8/24: Rumble on the Bay (Green Bay, WI)
8/24: Ragin’ Games (Lafayette, LA)
8/24: The 10th Annual Iron Belle (Austin, TX)
8/24: Battle of the Boxes (Plymouth, MI)
8/24 – 8/25: Oregon CrossFit’s Best of the West Summer Event 2019 (Bend, OR)
8/24: Third Annual Hotshots 19 Memorial WOD (Woodstock, GA)
8/24 – 8/25: Railyard Riot (Lincoln, NE)
8/30 – 8/31: The Southwest Championships (Orem, UT)
8/30 – 8/31: The 3rd Annual Tampa Bay Games (Tampa, FL)
8/31: The Big WODowski Partner Competition (Delafield, WI)
8/31: Girls Gone RX (Charlevoix, MI)
8/31: Roots Ruck Around the Clock (Poulsbo, WA)
8/31: Saved By the Barbell (Waite Park, MN)
8/31: T-Town Throwdown Partner Comp (Tyler, TX)
8/31: Battle of the Beasts (Quebec, Canada)
8/31: Summer Showdown 2019 (Owosso, MI)
9/5 – 9/7: The Iron Games (Cedar City, UT)
9/7: Power Output Challenge 8 (San Antonio, TX)
9/7: Family Fitness Faith Festival (College Station, TX)
9/7: Sirens of September (Smithfield, RI)
9/7: Garden State Open (Berkeley Heights, NJ)
9/7: Hill City Throwdown (Lynchburg VA)
9/7: Midwest Fall Classic (Tulsa, OK)
9/7: OUTWOD Asheville at CrossFit Pisgah (Asheville, NC)
9/7: OUTWOD Brooklyn at Park Slope CrossFit (Brooklyn, NY)
9/7: Double Trouble at Crossfit Unwavering (El Mirage, AZ)
9/7: Girls Gone RX (Virginia Beach, VA)
9/7: WODderfest (Beaufort, SC)
9/7: Primal Parkinson’s Ride (Tampa, FL)
9/7: SE TEX Masters Fall Classic (Cypress, TX)
9/7: The Sugar Skull Showdown (Agawam, MA)
9/7: Power Output Challenge (San Antonio, TX) 
9/7: 5th Annual Iron Maidens Raw Open (Brooklyn, NY)
9/7: Barbells for Boobs 5K and Family Fun Run (Cornelius, NC)
9/7: Rows for Crows (Westborough, MA)
9/8: Wingman (Lincoln, United Kingdom)
9/14: Charm City Throwdown (Sparks, MD)
9/14: Stateline Throwdown (McHenry, IL)
9/14: Stealth Fitness Combine (New Brunswick, NJ)
9/14: Coffland Hero Challenge WOD (Vestal, NY)
9/14: OUTWOD Grand Rapids (Grand Rapids, MI)
9/14: 6th Annual Cancer Smash (St. Augustine, FL)
9/14: Project: Uplift 5.0 (Fort Collins CO)
9/14: Warrior Affiliate League Three Amigos (Rancho Cucamonga, CA)
​9/14: Mucc Town Throwdown (Winnemucca, NV)
9/14: Reps and Rescues Rumble (Olathe, KS)
9/14: Festivus Games at CrossFit Indestri (Collingwood, ON)
9/14: Granite Games at CrossFit Gallant (Bedford, TX)
9/14: The Dane Games (Mine Hill, NJ)
9/14: Granite games at CrossFit Nola 504 (New Orleans, LA)
9/14: Garage Games Master’s Tour 2019 (Chicago, IL)
9/14: WODktoberfest 2019 (Ottawa, ON)
9/14: Granite Games Throwdown Skyline CrossFit (Houston, TX)
9/14: Festivus Games at Crossfit Mountain Movers (Pikeville, KY)
9/14: Festivus Games at CrossFit Connection (Ontario, CAN)
9/14 – 9/15: Gymnastics Seminar with Simon Nieland (Ocala, FL)
9/15: Patriot Throwdown 9/11 Memorial WOD (Simsbury,CT)
9/20 -9/22: Pensacola Beach Brawl (Pensacola Beach, FL)
9/20 – 9/22: The Dakota Games (Fargo, ND)
9/21: Cry Me a River 2019 (Online)
9/21: Killswitch Competition (Hutto,TX)
9/21: 4th Annual Battle on the Border (New York, NY)
9/21: Under Armour Turf Games City Series (Los Angeles, CA)
9/21: Fall Jam 2019 (Columbus, OH)
9/21 – 9/22: The Central Regional (Bettendorf, IA)
9/21 – 9/22: Southie Showdown (Boston, MA)

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