CFE Committed Club

Want to know a secret? The more you are at CFE the closer you will get to your goals. Since we are all about getting you closer to your goals we recognizing members for their commitment to their health and fitness. As with anything worth having, you do need to work for it. To be inducted into the Committed Club you must attend 18 days per month for 3 consecutive months and enter your score into Wodify. Members of the Committed Club will get an EXCLUSIVE limited edition CFE shirt. We truly believe that consistency is key, and we love to showcase your commitment to fitness!


How will the visits be tracked?
The visits will be tracked by signing in to Wodify and entering your score. Coaches will not be responsible for signing you in or entering your results. Personal Training sessions or membership clubs such as Powerlifting will also count toward your total. If you attend the Saturday WOD and BBC that is still one day of attendance. Open gym will only count if you are doing that day’s WOD.

Will I get a bonus for exceeding 18 visits in a calendar month? Can I use extra visits towards a past or a future month?
No, the focus of the committed club is rewarding you for being consistent each month, so there is no rollover. But you can certainly have pride in going over 18-days!

What if I’m traveling?
If you go to a CrossFit gym while on travel it certainly does count. Just use the late score “class” and add the result and where you were in the comments.

What if I get hurt or I am sick?
We encourage everyone to explain your injury to your coach to see how the workout can be adapted to your needs. We ask athletes who are contagious to stay home–we wouldn’t want this challenge to hurt your health or impact the well-being of others around you. Instead, see if you can make it up later in the week or try again next month.

What if I forget to sign in?
You are responsible for signing and entering your score. We have the late score “class” as a last chance for the day. If you forget to sign-in, your visit will not be counted towards the committed club status, but will still count toward your fitness!

When does this start?
You can start your consecutive month journey anytime!

Karen and value of the dark place – by Coach Ben

“Karen” 150 Wall Balls for Time (20/14) 

The workout Karen has a special place in my heart. It was the first benchmark I ever did in 2013 and it changed everything I thought I knew about exercise. Being the hotshot I thought I was, I did it as prescribed with a 20lb ball. Because it’s only a 20lb ball, how bad could it be…. The answer was bad, very bad. Everyone in the class had finished and I was still doing sets of 3-5 while keeled over my ball during breaks. I swore I would never do it again. That was, of course, a lie. I now do it every few months as a personal check in. There are two sides to the workout, the physical and the mental. I’m going to focus on the mental side since lots of workouts are physically challenging.

A 315 lb snatch is cool, so is a sub 5 minute mile, but the person who can do an unbroken Karen is who you want with you in the zombie apocalypse.  Now most of us mortals will probably not go unbroken and that’s ok.  One of the original sayings in CrossFit is that the greatest adaptation is between the ears. Karen is the epitome of that epithet. It teaches you how to take an intimidating goal and break it down.  You don’t focus on the daunting 150, you just get through the next set (whatever that number is for you).

The unique thing about Karen is that there is no change of scenery, you don’t even get to watch other athletes, it’s just you, the ball, and the wall, and in that way it’s beautifully simple.

It is a test of character, it is an opportunity to go to the dark place. An opportunity to have a nice 5-15 minute chat with the demons in your head.

Just seeing 150 wall balls some people will think about maybe staying at home. Maybe they will go for a jog to justify their absence and make them feel less guilty. Right there was your first check in, the demons won. The good news is if this is you, you have a chance to make a change.  After the warm-up the coach yells “3-2-1 GO!” and the real conversations start.  The demons will tell you to go get a drink because that seems like a valid excuse to pause and walk away.  But somewhere in your head you know the water you consume in that moment will have no effect on hydration.  The demons will say that squat was deep enough, keep going, when you know you didn’t hit the  standard. The demons will tell you to count the rep that was so close to the target but didn’t quite hit. They will tell you it’s ok because your lungs are screaming for air and the burning in your muscles justifies it.  Welcome to the dark place….

This is your chance.  It’s time to make a choice.  Yes you already showed up to do the work and you could settle for that. Just cruise it in with lots of breaks to the end…  Or, you can say “F*** you demons, pick the ball up and embrace the darkness.  Force a gasping smile, stay moving and hold on.  Trust yourself you’re not going to fail a rep.  Convince yourself it’s just discomfort, not pain, and you can deal with a lot of discomfort*.  Stick to your plan, focus on finishing your current set and nothing else.  It will end, and the rubber mats of the gym floor will feel like a soft cloud knowing you gave it everything you had. And after your legs and lungs start working again, you will wipe up your sweat puddle and go about your day wondering what other challenges you are capable of conquering.

Coach Ben holds a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology and Master’s in Physical Education from the Univeristy of Maryland.  He has been a CrossFit coach since getting his Level 1 in 2014 and currently holds a CrossFit Level 3 certification.  He is a full-time physical education teacher for Montgomery County Public Schools and proud father of two beautiful children.

*line paraphrased from Ben Bergeron CFNE

Understanding the Concept2 Force Curve Graph

I want to share some education about rowing technique and power output on the rowers. You know that screen on your rower that has the curvy graph? That is a force curve! For those of us who like nerding out over science, this is the force you are putting on the rower and the power you are generating. CrossFit is all about the POWAH. CrossFit benchmark workouts are designed to measure force and power.

Force = Mass X Acceleration

Power = Work / Time or Power = (Force x Distance) / Time

Power = Force x Distance/Time. 

Force x Distance is equal to work, so power is also equal to work/time

Okay, enough of the nerdy stuff. More or less, the force curve graph is a helpful tool for improving your rowing technique.

The Concept2 Erg Force Curve

The force curve graphically represents how you apply force during the rowing stroke, indicating how your force varies as you use your legs, back and arms during the drive. The smoother the curve, the smoother the application of force. The larger the area under the curve, the greater the amount of force applied. Some of you might notice that your force curve is a little chunky. That’s okay! This is telling you where to look and what to work on. Rowing with the force curve is a great way to work on smoothing out your technique and stroke.

Chunky front end means this:

A huge peak on the front end of the curve that tapers off means you are likely applying too much force too early and should distribute it more through the rest of the stroke.

Chunky middle means this:

A dip in the middle, depending on where it is can mean two things. A peak that dips peaks again and drops off is usually an issue in connection between legs, hips and arms. We would be looking at a disconnection somewhere in the transitionary period in the middle.

Chunky back end means this:

A dip or deviation at the back end of the curve can either be a problem connecting the hips to the arms or a problem with the arms.

Long flatline means this:

There isn’t much power or area under the curve. You are not creating much force or are not able to apply much force to the machine. We should be working on how you connect, on better bracing at the catch, better application of force into the machine, and better positioning.

Going forward, use this screen to check on the efficiency of your row technique and use it to help you improve the timing of the drive, transition and catch of your row. Ideally we want our rowing to be smooth as a knife in butter from the catch, through drive and pull to the catch.

Force Curve + 500m Split Screen

Using the force curve display is one setting that can improve your technique, another is the 500m split time. This is helpful because you can visually and graphically see how efficient your row technique is as well as you can see that through having an efficient technique and application of force throughout the different phases of the row your 500m split time will be faster. Fast is not fast. Smooth is fast.

You can view these at the same time. To navigate to see both the force curve and the 500m split time:

1. Start Rowing On The Machine To Turn On

2. Press Change Units Button On Your Monitor To Display Power Curve Option

3. Press Change Units Button On Your Monitor To 500 Split Time Average

At the end of the day we want consistent, smooth, large areas under the curve. To get that we want to properly sequence the use of the legs, hips, then arms, and return them in sequined fashion in reverse order.

The most ideal and common force curve would have a high peak in the middle with lots of area under the curve. The sequenced style of rowing with a high peak and large amount of area under the curve is the most common style of rowing among rowers.

How to Smooth Out Your Force Curve

Try this exercise:

Set your damper on a 1, row between a 25-30 stroke rate, use the force curve display and try to create consistent smooth curves that all look the same for 10 minutes. Training with the rower on 1 is like training with a PVC pipe to practice the Olympic weightlifting movements with good technique. You will find that you have to be really intentional and use your legs and time your transitions effectively with the damper at 1. Practice makes a habit!

Posture > Positions > Sequencing > then Power!

Rowing Posture

Think tight, strong, midline, pillar, cylinder, or torso. There is a difference between just going through the motions and actively engaging your body, musculature and posture for rowing

Rowing Positions

The Catch

  • Arms are straight; head is neutral; shoulders are level and not hunched.
  • Upper body is leaning forward from the hips with the shoulders
    in front of the hips.
  • Shins are vertical, or as close to vertical as is comfortable for you. Shins should not move beyond perpendicular.
  • Heels may lift as needed.

The Drive

  • Start the drive by pressing with your legs, and then swing the back through the vertical position before finally adding the arm pull.
  • Hands move in a straight line to and from the flywheel.
  • Shoulders remain low and relaxed.

The Finish

  • Upper body is leaning back slightly, using good support from
    the core muscles.
  • Legs are extended and the handle is held lightly below your ribs.
  • Shoulders should be low with wrists and grip relaxed. Wrists should be flat.

The Recovery

  • Extend your arms until they straighten before leaning from the hips towards the flywheel.
  • Once your hands have cleared your knees, allow your knees to bend and gradually slide the seat forward on the monorail.

Rowing Sequencing

Drive OUT with the legs, swing the hips/open the hips/torso leans back slightly, then arms. The row is a PUSH not a pull. If you have deadlifted before, it’s like a deadlift, with a high pull. We drive or push the machine away, drive out with our legs, then transition force into hips (hip extension) then through the torso, and into the arms. Then we reverse it, arms go away, hips close, knees bend and we get the handles back toward the flywheel in a nice compressed catch.

The rower is an awesome machine! Improving your row is a combination of proper posture, good positions, efficient application and transfer of force throughout the row. We might look at a Concept2 row erg and think oh, easy however there are little things we can work on to improve our rowing.

CrossFit Enforce Celebrates 10-years as a Fitness Leader

CrossFit Enforce, a local leader in fitness and nutrition, celebrates its 10th year Anniversary April 2023.  To commemorate this event, CrossFit Enforce announces its new website and tag line, ALWAYS RISING.

The gym was founded to bring coaching excellence to a community who otherwise did not have ready access to local fitness options.  Originally located in the Red Barn Retail Shops of Laytonsville, CFE opened in a tiny space of less than 1000 sq ft, nestled between a frame shop, a bike shop and a bar.   A few years later CFE doubled in size to occupy about 1500 sq ft after Just Riding Along Bikes moved to its current location a few hundred meters away off route 108. Through word-of-mouth, membership blossomed and soon CFE was bursting at the seams.
In 2019, CFE relocated to a 5300 sq ft facility near the Gaithersburg Airpark where it still resides today. Just as the gym settled into a new location the COVID-19 pandemic forced doors to close in 2020 while the world went into hibernation. Like so many other businesses the financial impact on the business was severe and took a toll on the membership and owners. 

By the end of quarantine CFE changed ownership twice. Like so many other businesses the financial impact on the business was severe and took a toll on the membership and owners.  By the end of quarantine CFE changed ownership twice.

Current owners, Flavia Herringa and Maria Lempicki, have been staples at CFE since the gym’s beginning.  “As a service business, and one that provides personalization, accountability and community, we take our relationships very seriously”, says Maria Lempicki.  Building on the solid foundation, CFE is now offering services to take better control of your fitness to include nutrition coaching, personal training, specialty strength training classes and in-house massage therapy. The gym is happy to report a revitalization of membership of over 30%. “CFE will continue to provide outstanding business practices, programming, coaching, and education to our incredible community” says owner Flavia Herringa.  “The term “ALWAYS RISING” embodies our attitude as owners, CrossFit ethos and what we want for our members.” Both owners stated that, “Along this 10-year journey, we have been supported by so many wonderful employees, members, partners, and mentors. Sustaining an incredible community around an inclusive, supportive culture.”

In celebration and with deepest gratitude, CrossFit Enforce invites past and present members and the community at large to enjoy a 10th Anniversary workout followed by breakfast and an award ceremony on April 22nd at 9am.


About CrossFit Enforce

CrossFit Enforce is a small, independently owned and operated business located near the Gaithersburg Airpark at 7851 Beechcraft Avenue. We provide a safe, supportive, and empowered environment where members can embrace their fitness journey, working with expert coaches, in pursuit of becoming their best selves. In addition to group fitness classes, we offer nutrition coaching, personal training, specialty strength training classes and in-house massage therapy. For more information about CrossFit and CrossFit Enforce visit and

The 2023 Open After Action Report…..A staggering amount of fun

The chalk has settled over the 2023 Open and it is time to take a look at what we accomplished in just three short week.

Here are the numbers.

  • We judged 225 Open WODs (23.1- 72; 23.2 – 78, 23.3- 75) plus who knows how many more WODs completed by folks to just get it done and earn some intramural team points. That’s a lot of sweat, reps and weight moved over three weekends.
  • We had 20 judges, both coaches and members, all volunteering their time to take the judges course and judge those 225+ WODs. Without them we could not have survived.  Thank you to Coaches Ben, Ashley, Dimitri, Griffin, Kamil, Dimitri and to members Pat, Lisa, Jenny, Marylanda, Laura, Moses, John, Mark, Max, and Hans, and hubbies Matt and Rich!!!
  • We had 51 members registered for the 2023 Open. That is a staggering percentage of our members, especially compared to the surrounding boxes several of which have double the size of the community (Heretic = 10, Germantown = 4, MoCo=32, TFL=11, Tough Temple=43, Odin=40)
  • We opened our doors to 7 other athletes in the extended CrossFit community to enable them to participate in the Open, paying us with thank yous and complements about our warm and welcoming community.
  • We had many members hit some PRs and multiple firsts such as Sofia’s first pull-up, Rafael’s first T2B (and his 50th) and Mimi’s first wall walk to name a few.
  • We had some serious fun holding our 1st CFE Intramural Open. Our Team Captains, Ashely, Griffin and Dimitri took up the gauntlet and ran with the challenge. The competition was dog-eat-dog at times with some classy looking shirts and headbands, lots of neon and the use of dogs to score extra points. But Team Swolemates was victorious in the end – winning the coveted bragging rights for the next year and Jenny took home the surprise “Spirit of the Games” award.
  • We have multiple athletes from CFE placing in the top 10% of their division earning them and invitation to compete in the CrossFit Quarterfinals. Here are their final worldwide placings and percentages.

Flavia (women, 50-54) 76th; 98%

Maria (women, 55-59) 101st, 97%

Dimitri (men, 18-30) 7281st, 95%

Matt (men, 50-54) 619th, 93%

Amanda M (women, 18-30) 12,020th, 90%

We hope you enjoyed every minute as much as we did!!!  Congratulations to all on an outstanding Open!!


The Three Energy Systems of Exercise

by Richard Lempicki

CrossFit methodology employs cardio and strength exercises that vary in intensity and duration to maximize overall fitness by constantly stimulating the various metabolic energy systems. Understanding how this works requires knowledge of the three major energy systems of exercise. Muscles are motors that use chemical energy to generate force through contractile movement. The primary fuel to power muscle is adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Unfortunately, our bodies cannot store appreciable amounts of ATP and must generate it on demand as needed. Three very different, yet interconnected energies systems have evolved to produce ATP: the phosphagen, glycolysis (anaerobic) and oxidative (aerobic) pathways. Each of these pathways use different fuel precursors to make ATP and are always active during exercise, with our bodies deciding what percentage of each pathway to draw energy from based on the intensity and duration of the exercise. Training targeting each energy system increases the efficiency, duration, and replenishment of each system.

Weekly WODs are designed to train across the various energy pathways for best overall fitness. The given stimulus for each WOD and rest time, when programmed, play a critical role in maximizing conditioning of a given energy pathway. Blowing the stimulus in either direction misses the goal of the workout and may cause under- or over-training of pathways – thereby not meeting the big-picture programming goal.

Phosphagen Pathway
The phosphagen pathway is used most used for max-effort instantaneous, high intensity and explosive exercises. This pathway uses stored creatine, a non-protein amino acid, as the precursor fuel source which is stored in muscle and mostly derived from red meat, poultry, fish, and supplements but also produced by our bodies from other amino acid. Creatine can be rapidly converted to ATP to fuel high intensity excises such as a 100-meter sprint or working up to a 1-3-rep max lift. This energy source only lasts for 10-15 seconds before becoming depleted and partial creatine replenishment occurs within 2-3 minutes with rest or light exercise, and can be used for subsequent burst activity, but for reduced time.

Anaerobic Glycolysis Pathway
The anaerobic glycolysis pathway is predominantly active during moderate-heavy exercise such as a 400-800 meter runs and is significantly activated in exercises lasting in the 30 sec to 4-minute range. This pathway uses glucose (directly or broken down from glycogen) in the absence of oxygen to produce ATP. Production of ATP is of an intermediate rate, but of lower efficiency in that less ATP is generated per glucose molecule. An unfortunate by-product of this pathway is lactic acid and other inhibitory by-products which causes pain and fatigue and inhibits ATP production from the other two pathways.

Aerobic Oxidative Pathway
The oxidative pathway refers to the specific use of oxygen to aid in the use of fat or glucose to produce ATP. This pathway is highly efficient in that a high amount of ATP is produced from each molecule of fat or glucose but proceeds quite slowly. This characteristic makes the pathway most suitable for moderate to long endurance exercises from a mile run to hero WOD Murph. Depletion of usable precursor sources can occur in endurance events if “refueling” is not maintained at an adequate level which leads to a person “hitting the wall” or “bonking”.

Tying the Three Energy Pathways Together and How it Applies CrossFit
Our performance in each WOD is determined by a multitude of factors that include genetics, training, mental fortitude, coaching, injuries, and even our emotional well-being. One additional factor we can regulate is how to approach a given WOD. Each of these pathways work in an overlapping and interactive manner based on intensity and duration. Regular training in one or more of these zones condition the specific pathway to work more efficiently and recover more quickly. An athlete needs gauge the workout requirements and know when to press hard when in a certain zone and back off in others. For example, going out too hard on a 10-minute AMRAP will deplete creatine within 15-30 seconds and greatly stimulate anaerobic glycolysis resulting high levels of lactic acids within 5 minutes thus inhibiting the already slower ATP generating oxidative pathway –> “crash and burn!”. Learning how to appropriately pace and scale a WOD based on your capabilities and strengths, without overtly taxing any one energy pathway, will help achieve your highest level of performance.

Pastino, Jessica. Understanding the Three Energy Systems Used During Exercise, March 23, 2022. article.

Biostrap. How The Phosphagen System Supports Your Strength Training, February 25, 2022. whitepaper.

Webster, Drake. Energy Systems: How They Work and When They are in Use, March 4, 2012. blog.

CFE Intramural Open: Just for the FUN

Some people like to compete. Other people like to play. This year CrossFit Enforce will be combining the two in an Intramural Open: It looks like competition but remains fun and approachable.

The Intramural Open is a way to have a great time in the community during the Open (read our Blog post about the Open). We will divide the gym into 3 teams. Each team has a designated fearless team captain, with the focus and objective of having fun. You do NOT need to be registered for the Open with CrossFit HQ to participate. Athletes of all levels will have a chance to earn points. The team with the most points at the end wins!

The winning team will be announced Friday, March 3rd at the CFE Friday Night Lights Potluck. We will provide the meat; feel free to bring a side dish to share and beverages of your choice! Friends and family are welcome.  

The Open workouts will be done during regular class times on Fridays and Saturdays, and they’re a great chance to see how you stack up against your peers, measure your progress, and identify skills to work on for the rest of the year. Workouts are announced on Thursday afternoons, and scores are due by 8 p.m. the following Monday.

Team Assignments 

Captains are responsible for participating in the team formation, coordinating team name/spirit, and leading their team towards greatness. Your captains are:

Coach Dimitri – Coach Griffin – Coach Ashley

Teams will be made on Feb 15th.  Athletes who are signed up for the CrossFit Open (Link to register) and have chosen CFE as their gym will be assigned a team.  Other members who wish to be part of a team can sign-up at the gym by Feb 14th.  If on Feb 17th you have bad FOMO just let a coach or captain know and we will assign you a team. 

How to Score Points for Your Team

Scoring points for your team is E- A – S – Y!!!!  You can only give your team more points by participating, you can’t lose points for your team.

Completing the WOD = 1 point/athlete/week who completes the Open WOD (even if you repeat it – you still get 1 point)…regardless of if you are registered, and yu don’t have to be judged.  Your team gets a point when you do the WOD on Friday.

CFE Social = 1 point/athlete/week for posting an Open relevant picture/video and tagging @crossfitenforce (must be different pictures/videos per post)

Judge = 1 point for each athlete you judge

CFE Pride = 1 point/athlete for wearing CFE apparel on Friday Feb 17th

Team Spirit = 1 point/athlete. Show your team spirit on Friday February 24th with a uniform, team theme, or any other way you can think of to show your team unity and awesomeness. 

(We reserve the right to create possible other point categories or weights once the Open WODS are released.)  

The winning team will be the one with the highest overall score at the conclusion of the Friday March 3rd heats.  They will win pride, bragging rights and their team’s name forever immortalized at CFE on the Intramural Open Plaque.

The Intramural Open is meant to be FUN and ENCOURAGING and you are ALL invited to participate. 

The Open is the most exciting time of year at CrossFit gyms around the World and at CFE! We are so excited for another year of COMMUNITY and FITNESS!

CrossFit Open is for Everyone

Open season is almost here!!!

The CrossFit Open is our favorite time of year, and it is right around the corner.  Here is the why and the how of the Open.

The Open is the first part of the overall CrossFit competition called The Games where the ultimate purpose is to find and crown the Fittest on Earth. To do that, the Open casts a wide net and attracts many people from around the world to participate on a level playing field at the start of the competition (

The Open ( is a series of workouts spaced across three weeks starting February 16th and closing March 6th. Individuals can do the workouts from anywhere and there are several divisions for each workout, making it easy to find a place where you can be challenged yet not discouraged over the course of the three weeks. You don’t have to be at a particular fitness level to participate. All you need is a willingness to try, and the excitement and camaraderie of the Open will take care of the rest. Link to register

The options are:

  • Rx’d – Do the workouts as written.
  • Scaled – Not quite ready to tackle the workouts as written? No problem. The scaled division offers classic scaling options for many of CrossFit’s common gymnastics movements and includes lighter loading.
  • Foundations – Just started CrossFit or maybe this is your first Open? The foundations workouts are a great place to start.
  • Age Groups – There are nine age group divisions offering Rx’d and scaled versions of the workouts for teenage athletes aged 14-17 as well as masters athletes ages 35+.
  • Adaptive – The adaptive divisions offer equally challenging workouts modified for athletes with a significant, permanent impairment. These divisions include Upper Extremity, Lower Extremity, Seated with Hip Function, Neuromuscular, and more.

Why register for the Open

The Open is a way to check in on your fitness, hold you accountable to moving forward and staying motivated for the upcoming year, accomplish personal goals, and celebrate with the community.  Officially signing up for the competition gives you a goal and paying to play creates an additional layer of commitment. It is akin to running in an organized 5K race.  You pay the fee to participate, run your best to challenge yourself, get your results recorded and have fun doing it.

The adrenaline rush is much different than just a typical class. It is healthy for us to be a little uncomfortable once in a while.  That’s where most of our greatest growth as individuals happens. You should compete because it’s a commitment, during which time you will train harder, you will eat better, and you will connect with your coaches and community in ways you may not even realize exist.  You should compete because you can, and it is also JUST PLAIN FUN!

The Open schedule at CFE

Wednesday before the WOD is released sign-up for your heat time which follows the typical class schedule.  This helps you from having to wait around and helps us plan to have sufficient judges.

Thursday the Open WOD is released by CrossFit HQ.  Most Thursday evenings a coach and a few daring members will give the WOD a go during Open Gym.

Friday we start running heats that follow the typical class schedule.  A coach will guide your through a warm-up and help you strategize for the WOD. If you are undecided, your coach will help you decide between Rx’d, Scaled or Foundations. Note: you don’t have to do all three weeks as Rx’d, Scaled or Foundations – you can mix it up each week!

Friday evening (aka Friday Night Lights) many members who went earlier in the day come back to cheer those who have yet to go.  It’s loud, very high energy, incredibly supportive and lots of laughs!

Saturday BBC is cancelled, and we run 1-3 heats.

Monday there are no official heats but you are welcome to (re)do the WOD during Open Gym but you must arrange for a judge.  By 8pm est you MUST enter your score into the games site.

You are at the gym doing the workout anyway so why not submit your score online and see how you stack up to others in your age group/division around the globe.

Get out of your comfort zone and register NOW (link).

Want to help Judge?  Please take the judge’s course. Link

Want an official CrossFit Open shirt?  Buy a t-shirt or tank here.  CFE gets $5 for each shirt sold.

Want to look at the competition rules? CF Games 2023 Rule Book

Want to do more reading about why you should do the Open? Article: CrossFit: A Sport for Life

How Your Mindset Affects Performance

How Your Mindset Affects Performance

There is a lot going on when you step on to that lifting platform or competition floor. Some days you feel strong and focused. Others you can’t quite seem able to connect the dots. You feel slow and foggy or the weight feels heavy.

The mind and body are in constant fluctuation. Our thoughts can instantly change our physiology. Just think of a time when your were made or scared. Your muscles tensed, heart rate quickened, and pupils dilated ready to react.

And the converse is just as true. Our body influences our mental state and thoughts. Think about how chill and carefree you feel after a long walk in nature or how amped you get when exercising or dancing to your favorite song.

Controlling the stressors and other stimuli in your environment is essential when it comes to controlling your mind and body for performance. Stress can have significant impact on performance and can seriously get in the way of your competitive goals if you don’t have a strategy to manage it.

Let’s take a look at why stress is so damaging to performance and some key strategies to combat it…

The Cortisol/Testosterone Relationship

A study of 109 male olympic weightlifters was set up to determine the effects of cortisol as a moderator of the relationship between testosterone and performance in olympic lifting. The study measured pre and post levels of serum cortisol and testosterone to see if there was any effect on performance. It turns out that pre-competition levels of cortisol or testosterone had a significant effect on olympic weightlifting performance. The inverse relationship between testosterone and cortisol shows that the level of stress an athlete experiences before training or competition can significantly impact their testosterone levels and subsequent performance.

Whoop Dee Doo. But what does it all mean Basil?!

Getting stressed about before a competition or intense training session is a surefire way to negatively impact performance. There are several techniques you can utilize to prepare your mind making it an asset rather than a liability. Top athletes all develop their mental game through practices involving goal setting, visualization, and routines.

“The Ultimate Measure Of A Man Is Not Where He Stands In Moments Of Comfort And Convenience, But Where He Stands At Times Of Challenge And Controversy.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Goal Setting

Goal setting is essential to achieving any specific outcome you want in life. When you focus on a specific outcome your mind will constantly be searching for ways to bring the object of focus into being. That can be for the good or the bad. Say you are a weightlifter competing in your first meet. You should set a goal involving the successful completion of a lift at a weight you feel optimistic you can hit. When you set this metric for success you will be determined to achieve the outcome and take confident action towards achieving it. Odds are you will outperform your goal and be able to raise the bar for your next meet.


Visualization is the formation of a mental image. As an athlete you want to visualize a successful outcome you desire. Picture yourself achieving your goals with as much detail as possible. From the clothes you are wearing to the sound of the crowd. The way you move, powerful and strong. The sweat on your brow and the heartbeat in your chest. When you get to gameday it will feel like you’ve been there before. Visualization of success also lends itself to positive self talk that will reinforce your mindset and confidence when it comes to competition.


Routines are extremely useful when it comes to athletes and performance. They help reduce decision fatigue and providing fewer distractions and less to think about on game day. Decide ahead of time your warmup, clothing, equipment, music, and anything else you would use in competition. Practice with it and make it comfortable and familiar. One important consideration with routines is not to get too superstitious or hung up on these items being responsible for your success. You and only you are responsible for your success. Not your lucky sneakers…

If you want to accomplish your goals working with a professional coach is one of the best ways to develop a strategy and system for results. If you want to work with someone to help you create a game plan for your fitness goals get in touch with one of our qualified coaches for a free consult and discussion on how we can help you!