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  • Writer's pictureTom Foxley

Butterflies or nerves about your next functional fitness competition?

Are you one of those athletes who suffers from nerves before a workout? Especially when it matters like in a comp or The Open, but maybe even when you're feeling just a little bit of added pressure.

Nerves are a strange thing: a physical reaction to a mental challenge. The added thing that complicates things is that sometimes, these nerves are actually a good thing.

The dump of hormones preps can get your body in the place it needs to be to fight.

But when these go too far, you end up actually scared. Nauseous. Lost in fear. Anxiety of judgement and failure ruins the experience.

So what do you do in this case?

Well, the first thing you have to do is to STOP doing something.

Stop forcing them away. Stop wishing they weren't there.

The more you consciously push your nerves away, the more your subconscious mind seems to feel threatened.

So pushing them away, trying to stuff them away, trying to force yourself to calm rarely works.

What your subconscious needs to learn is that you can still have world class performances whilst feeling like this.

Mike Tyson, maybe the best boxer ever, said in that he used to cry and feel sick before every fight. Yet he still used to win almost every fight ever.

How could this be? His mindset was one which had the following belief: "I can have the best performances of my life, no matter my mental-emotional state."

It's the same for our athlete, Kelly, who was full of self-doubt and self-sabotage before she trained her mindset.

She even pulled out of comps because of the nerves and fear.

She lacked confidence in herself.

Yet three months later, she had done 3 comps (this was just before lockdown) and they were a completely different experience.

"Don't get me wrong," Kelly said, "I still get pre-WOD butterflies, but I am no longer sabotaging my performance. I have a completely different view on comps and life. I am full of self-belief and confidence."

As Kelly points out, "this doesn't happen overnight, but week by week, with consistency," things change dramatically.

The first step Kelly went through is to Test her mindset. We instructed her to look directly at her nerves, rather than trying to quiet her.

What she learned was profound: the more she accepts her emotion, and the less she resists it, the shorter it lasts, and the more control she has.

That's why you have to test your mindset first.


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