Mindful CrossFit, Carmen Pallares

I have been observing you guys doing exercise for 4 months now. Seeing how you are improving day by day and achieving movements and weights that you didn't think you could do. I have seen in your eyes the “I can’t do it” look and my challenge has been to give you the confidence to make you believe you can. I love to ENABLE you to do it. To facilitate your progress. To motivate you to believe in yourselves. I have been there too! I’m still in that path too, my thrusters and snatches are terrible so loads of work to be done there. One thing I need you to be conscious about is EXERCISE AWARENESS. From the moment you start the stretches till the end of the WOD. I would like to ask you to learn to be mindful with all the movements that you perform. When we warm up and I ask you to do 20 lunges, don't just go and do them. Think about why I wanted you to do lunges and try to focus and visualise how your hip is opening. Feel the muscles stretching and embrace that pulling feeling. Breath out and increase the tension, the pull. Concentrate your mind in the muscle pulling. When we do air squats think of where your body is at every moment and remind yourself the pointers of good performance: hips back, weigh in the mid to back foot, back straight, shoulders back, low hips and then dig your heels on the floor. Feel the force of the gluteus (buttock muscle) and hamstrings lifting you off the squat position. Keep your chest up. Talk to yourself repeating it at every squat. It is very important that you focus on each of this movements and its little parts and keep visualising your muscles working underneath your skin. Being mindful and focused whilst you are exercising, especially stretching is something that is surprisingly going to improve your performance especially when you start to find that you have the capacity in most of the movements but you plateau in your achievements. And if you are new to crossfit and you learn to focus your mind and visualise your muscles working from the beginning you are up to the best start with the best habits. Don't just throw weights on your body and expect it to lift them! Training means to teach your brain how to coordinate all your muscles to do a beautiful choreography whilst lifting heavy weights or doing a pull up. 

Do you remember how focused you were when you learned to drive a car or a motorcycle, swim, dance? You thought about each step. How to press the clutch, engage first gear, check mirrors, etc… Do you remember that? You were being mindful about driving because you were a novice. Now you drive without even thinking. Same with new movements and weightlifting. Repeat all the steps to yourself in every repetition. Keep checking your muscle position. Talk to your ass and hamstrings at the start of a deadlift. Tell them to contract. Tell your heels to dig onto the floor. Feel how they sink on the Arena floor. One day you won’t even realise and you will be performing deadlift at the peak of your performance. Your brain would have established secure pathways so that it becomes an automatic movement. Then you have to keep adding weight so your muscles become stronger. That is another part of the training. So! To wrap it up: Be conscious about the movement you are doing. Do it slowly, mindfully! Talk to your muscles and repeat what to do at every step. When stretching, breath out and increase the stretch. It hurts. Feel the stretch. And try to relax and sink in the stretch for a longer period than you do now. Increase the stretch by 5-10 seconds, breath out again and see it as an amazing positive elongation on your muscle. Refuse to see it as pain but as a positive improvement of your muscle flexibility. Remember to take care of your body. Its the only consistent thing that is going to accompany you until you die. Do you want to do Crossfit for one year or for 20? Then take care of the machine that is your body! And believe in yourself and on me when I tell you: You CAN do it! 

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