Embracing the Suck

Embracing the Suck

We all know the symptoms – as fatigue begins to take hold in a brutal Embracing the Suckworkout.  Maybe it was during your last CrossFit workout like Fran, or Murph or just you and your buddies out running hill sprints after a deck of cards workout.  Maybe it was some new workout that you have never seen before and you were determined not to fail.

Your movements slow down as power begins to leak from your body.  In competition you may be going full tilt and experience tunnel vision with the soft gooey edges.  You know the one where even the voices sound mutated and slowed down?  It’s real and you become lost in your own sweat and agony.

So what do you do to stay in the game and finish the drill?  You’ve been working on your visual and mental affirmations and that got you to this point.  You chant inside your mind “I am a winner – I will overcome” but your body continues the spiral downward.  Now what?

Here is a small mental note I will toss out for you to try on your next hellfire workout.  It will help you to effectively “turn the corner” and ride out the rough patches till you can get your footing and ride the downhill stretch to get to the finish line – with a tail wind and sunshine on your shoulder.

In your mind your experiencing harsh pain throughout your body.  Burning air passage, fiery lungs, muscle fatigue and heat stress – how do you find a way out?  It is easy to succumb and melt back into the pain.

So try this.  Smile.  Yep… that’s it.  Put a big *ss grin on your face and enjoy the hell out of the workout.  Tell yourself you love this workout and that your very grateful for the gift this workout is giving you.  You will learn from this workout but you want to thoroughly enjoy every minute of it before it is done.  Immerse yourself in the beauty of the workout and pick out details of what movements you like and how much you love them.  You emphatically tell yourself – you will leave the grinder (or gym) a better athlete than when you stepped in this morning.   You will improve.

See the paradigm mind shift?  You go from out of control – to in control by shifting your emotions in the workout.  You go from victim barely hanging in by a fingernail – to warrior that is looking down from the mountain top and deciding how things are going to be.

Embracing the SuckAt SEALFit Kokoro – we call it the “Kokoro Smile”.  The grin of a warrior all covered in sand and sweat and has just gotten the crap knocked out of them. But instead of standing there with your chest caved in and a frown on your face — you see a guy with a huge cheese eating grin.  They found a way to love the situation and make the best of it.

“Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness, not through insensibility but through greatness of mind.”   Aristotle

Yes; it is hard to do.  It is called “embracing the suck” – as it is called in the CrossFit world. It is part art and part skill.  Mental conditioning is a skill – the Spartans were masters at daily drilling their young recruits to mentally forge them into warrior machines.  The Spartans were not born that way — they were slowly conditioned to handle the mental stress.

Mental toughness and conditioning is being taught at SEALFit in Encinitas, Ca.  It is being taught at wrestling camps and soccer fields and you name it – insert sport or classroom here – around the world.  You just need to find the right coach to help you to acquire this elusive skill.  Some top rugby, cricket, soccer, and football teams in the world have hired on full time “mental conditioning” coaches to help their teams achieve their top potential.

Embracing the suck has been done by many an athlete and you can use it to to help you turn that corner in your next nightmare tough workout.  Drop me a line or post a comment down below on how your turned a corner in your last workout and survived and thrived to finish the drill.

Check out this article – 10 Tips to Break Through a Training Plateau

Questions from our athletes and readers.

Question: “Coach, is Embracing the Suck a term that you heard in BUDS?”. Actually I don’t remember ever hearing it that way. We heard “Gut it Out” or something to that effect.

Question: What is the “Navy SEAL suck?”. Kinda like the question above with embracing the suck.

Check out this article – SEALFIT Kokoro tips

About the Author:
bradBrad McLeod knows first hand about mental toughness after being kicked out of a top tier Spec Ops training unit. He failed out of BUD/S the first time after failing a math test (made it through Hell Week and Dive Pool Comp). He came back a year later and graduated and served as an operator on the Navy SEAL Teams with a total of 6 years of military service.

Today he is one of the most sought after mental conditioning coaches in the world having recently returned from Ireland, Southern California, Pennsylvania and parts unknown in north Florida. SEALgrinderPT audios and Ebooks have been downloaded in 20 different countries around the globe. Contact Brad brad@sealgrinderpt.com

Check out SEALgrinderPT Coaching to help you step up and take hold of your dreams and realize your goals.

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10 Tips to breaking through plateaus
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10 Tips to Breaking through Plateaus
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Embracing the Suck

Comments

  1. John Righeimer says

    The “Kokoro smile”, I love it! Great tip on “taking control” during a tough workout. One of the things I tell myself is that as the workout gets longer, I get stronger…the longer it goes the better I get. In other words, the second half is mine, better than the first, and 4th quarter is when I dominate, etc. During a workout I become the “pain” it is me and I am “it.” It’ s not that it’s “not painful” I just don’t care that it is, thus I move forward.

    Great article, keep up the great work, I’m really enjoying being part of SEAL Grinder PT. Thanks for your coaching!

  2. Jose C arrillo says

    Great article, last year I completed a two week LEO class at another agency that pretty much took the wind out of my sails, until I realized that I wasn’t dead, just make it to the end of the day, and the completion of the course is near. Hang in and don’t quit, because they can’t mentally kill me, just make me hurt a bunch…Thanks

  3. Atif Faridi says

    This is the best workout advice! The power of a sincere smile in stressful times should never be underestimated. I often deal with the pain of fatigue by calculating what I have remaining (e.g. 5 more rounds of hills, sprints & Cindys) and then telling myself, “How fortunate I am that that’s all I have to do.” This silly mind-trick always helps me smile, embrace the pain, push to the end and feel great. The only side-effect is that the smile lingers long after the workout.

  4. duckinthebox says

    Great article! It’s crazy how I have told others throughout most of my life that sometimes you got to look at bad luck and hard times and give them both a big smile! However I’ve never applied my smile towards workouts…it will be now!

  5. patrickbarry says

    I remember the Kokoro smile. Not that I had it….at least certainly not enough…but many of my amazing teammates of Class 19 did. We also laughed out loud at times of excruciating pain to embrace the suck. I recall my team leader doing this during one of our many brutal surf torture evolutions. We were all in pain, freezing, exhausted, and out of nowhere amidst the din of the waves rolling onto us was this loud belly laugh. It was infectious and we all chimed in with our own. Laughing is also a great mental “turn the corner” technique when you perceive that you are staring at the abyss.

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