Mental Strength

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“Mentally, CrossFit is hard. Physically too, of course, but I think that part of the reason so many people don’t do CrossFit is because of the mental toughness it takes to complete a workout. Most guys in college would cheat through the workouts, skipping sets and reps here and there. Then they would bitch and moan about how their strength wasn’t improving. Well, I quickly found out that if you cheat the system, you cheat yourself. Mentally, they weren’t tough enough to make it that intensely in a workout. The same goes with CrossFit. If you cheat yourself, you suffer.”


“How does this mental toughness relate to life? Everything in CrossFit is about functionality. Perhaps it’s been covered, but I believe that the mental toughness that comes out of CrossFit is also functional. Mentally, you become more fit. And, as Mark Rippetoe says in Strong Enough?, “Strong people are harder to kill.” Mentally strong people are harder to kill too. It has become very clear to me that we are training for the mental toughness to survive as well as the physical toughness to survive. The will to do that last push-up, that last pull-up, that last squat before time runs out is the same will that drives us to run one step farther if we’re being chased, to pull up and jump over one more fence, or to hit that attacker just one more time to get him away from us. In fact, is there anything in life that doesn’t benefit from this mental and physical strength?

Eventually, the workouts started to look less hard. I knew they were just as hard as ever, but I no longer looked at it and asked whether I would be able to finish. The question now was just how long it would take. I knew without a doubt that I would finish a workout, no matter which one came up.”

Mike Houghton played high school, college, and professional (Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills, and Carolina Panthers) football for a total of 11 years. He is the co-owner, with Sean Murray, of CrossFit951 in Menifee, California.

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