Competition Mindset

What should my mindset be like before and after each workout?

This week I have been answering common questions individuals have when preparing for their first fitness competition. More specifically, this is the fifth question that I’m answering to help our athletes at RxFIT prepare for The Festivus Games on Saturday.

Before the Workout

Before completing the workout on competition day, you should have already practiced the workout in training beforehand. If you did this, you will know which parts of the workout are going to be tough and which ones you can speed up on.

Recognize that you will have more adrenaline on the day of competition than you did when practicing this workout. Adrenaline is helpful because it masks physical pain, but beware — when the adrenaline wanes, you will crash. It is so common for athletes to come out sprinting through the first half of the workout just to run out of juice by the end… Don’t let this happen to you.

The best strategy to prevent this is to visualize yourself going through each movement. Follow the strategy that you set for yourself in training. If you watch the other competitors and base your decision off of them, you won’t be happy with the outcome.

For example, last weekend one of the workouts apart of my competition was a 12-minute AMRAP with five movements, one of them being burpee box jumps over a 30-inch box. I knew in training how high my heart rate was during these, so I set a strategy to go unbroken during the wall-ball and toes-to-bar portion so that I could recover on the burpee box jump overs.

When I was watching the guys go before my heat, I recognized that they had the opposite strategy. This was tempting for me to switch up my plan. But instead, I stopped watching and sat in the bleachers with my eyes closed. I visualized myself going through each movement.

I stuck to my plan of going unbroken where I wanted to and was able to successfully recover on the high burpee box jumps. Because of this, I maximized my score. I was happy after the workout that I didn’t make any changes.

After the Workout

Upon completing each workout, you want to be able to tell yourself: “I gave everything I had in that workout — there was nothing I had left.”

If you can say that, you’ll walk away from each workout fulfilled.

If your mindset is anything different, figure out why. If you need to go harder in the next workout in order to have that thought after, do it. The time will pass anyway. You might as well let it pass while you are giving your best effort.


I really wanted to win my competition last weekend, but I ended up taking 5th place. One of my friends asked me how I felt about the weekend. I responded with:

As a competitor, I wish I won. But there was nothing more I could’ve done. I gave every workout my best effort. The other four guys that finished in front of me are just fitter than I am right now.

If you lose, you want to lose this way — to someone who is actually fitter than you. You don’t want to lose to someone less fit than you.

And here’s the recipe to make sure that doesn’t happen:

  • Practice each workout before the competition.
  • Make a strategy for each movement in each workout, recognizing that you are going to want to go faster on Game Day.
  • Give everything you have in each workout so that after, you can tell yourself: “I gave everything I had in that workout — there was nothing I had left.”


Other Articles in This Series:
Game Day Nutrition
Comparing Yourself to the Competition
Recovering Between Workouts
What About My Friends and Family?
The Warm-Up
Avoiding Injury

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