Visualisation in CrossFit

Does everything happen in our mind first? Is the mind the filter of our actions?

Knowing that we can influence our plans and actions by using our mind, it would, therefore, be possible to impact our performances at the gym as well.

Through CrossFit we have learned how to get out of our comfort zone and push through resilience; we use it for a lot of our daily tasks as well. CrossFit tests our mental resistance when facing difficult emotional states. If we incorporate visualisation as a preparation to performing better, could we also use it in real life? If so, to what extent?


What is visualisation?

Visualisation is the process of foreseeing oneself through imagination in the future, positively accomplishing tasks in order to seek success.

It is not a one-off exercise but a repetitive effort of the mind during which a mental image of ourselves is drawn in an upcoming specific context. Each movement pattern, each thought, and even each sound is seen, heard and felt by individuals visualising their process.



How does it apply to sport?

Morghan King, 2016 Rio Olympian explains how she has learned to practice her “mental reps” numerous times before lifting. The action doesn’t have to take place in the next 24 hours. The longer we work on it, the more details we can gather to create the most positive and successful performance.

When facing difficulty during a lift or a WOD, remembering that we have done this previously usually soothes our nerves and allows us to reset our mental state. The intent is the same when we visualise.


I am not a competitor; can I still use visualisation?

Anyone, even people who are not into fitness employ this method. The process seems to be easier and also more understandable from a sporting point of view. Visualisation is a powerful resource which can be used across many areas: relationships, careers, and of course sports performances.


Like any other beneficial habits, it needs to be practiced. Mindset coach Tom Foxley from the Mindset RX’d suggests: ‘Simple as that, begin practicing. Just like when you began squatting, things will be shaky initially. You will find it hard. Stick at it though and seek virtuosity. Begin in training and dedicate every lift to developing this technique.’


Other types of visualisation

If sitting quietly and visualising brings up uncomfortable emotions such as anxiety, practicing shorter meditation sessions might be helpful at first. Also, taking a pen and paper, and writing down anything that comes to mind might get rid of judgement and prepare our minds to begin imagining the successful actions that will take us into our successful future.