Mental Training

  • Life is a Curveball

    I grew up in a baseball home as my father was a very talented left-handed pitcher who was known for his ability to throw a wicked curveball.

    This post is not intended to focus on the sports of baseball or softball however, I will be using the ever so sought after curveball pitch as a metaphor throughout this entire blog.

    So let’s dive into what makes up the curveball pitch.

    First, did you know that the curveball, in the mid-1800s, was actually considered to be deceptive and dishonest? (make a note of this)

    Second, a curveball is a breaking pitch that has more movement than just about any other pitch. It is thrown slower and with more overall break than a slider, and it is used to keep hitters off-balance (again make note of this).

    When executed correctly, a batter expecting a fastball will swing too early and over the top of the curveball.

    Third, when throwing a curveball, the main goal is to trick someone with something unexpected. (you guessed it, write this down too)

    Now, you may not be a baseball or softball player. You may have never watched a ball game in your life. You also might be someone who does not even know what it feels like to hold a baseball or softball in the palm of your hand, but I bet you know what it feels like to have a curveball thrown into your life.

    If I have learned anything thus far, it’s that you always have to be prepared for the unexpected, for those wicked fast curveballs to show up on both the “perfect” and “not so perfect” days. You have to be willing to make the choice to change your perspective on the curveball, to better understand it, so when you step up to the plate, your percentage of knocking it out of the park is much higher.

    Here is what I have also learned:

    There are way too many of us walking around making the choice to have a very negative and broken relationship with the curveball.

    We choose to view curveballs in our life as things that will always throw us off-balance, that will only be deceptive, and that will bring forth dishonesty into our lives.

    The reality is until you transform your mindset, you are going to find yourself fearing, despising, and possibly refusing to take action and control of your life simply because of the curveball.

    So let’s step into the role of a baseball or softball player who continually steps up to the plate and gets struck out due to the curveball.

    How do they improve their percentages at-bat?

    What do they do outside of the game to become better prepared?

    Again, this post is not about baseball or softball, so I will not get sport-specific about how to actually perfect one’s ability to increase their percentage of hitting a curveball at-bat.

    What I am going to do is supply you with a list of how you can better and more confidently step up to-bat on a daily basis and encourage life to throw curveballs your way.

    • Set aside your excuses and grow!
      • When curveballs arise, practice decreasing the amount of blame you place on others. I get it, curveballs have this vibe that all they are going to do is ruin your day, week, or even year, but curveballs do more than that. Begin to look within and ask yourself, “What opportunity is potentially here that I can grab a hold of and learn from?”
      • The only people who truly never overcome the curveball, are the people who do not make an effort to begin with. Do not be one of these people.
      • Rather than giving in, tossing your bat, and pouting as you walk into the dugout, embrace the pain and work to move past it. Yes, this will be challenging at first, but you can and will find a way to succeed.
    • Re-Evaluate and Shift Your Perspective!
      • Curveballs actually can be blessings in disguise, even if it is hard for us to see that during times of uncertainty and change. When something out of the ordinary disturbs our comfortable, daily routines, we are forced to think about what exactly we are doing. Does it make us happy? Could we change things up to be more effective? Do we feel fulfilled?
      • Ask yourself these questions more often and see what answers rise to the surface!
      • Many times the reason curveballs bring forth so much discomfort is because we are not in-tune with ourselves.
    • Seek out new solutions!
      • If your current training regime is not helping you improve, then it is time to switch things up!
      • Begin to think outside of the box, dig deep, brainstorm often.
      • If the same or similar curveballs are coming into your life, it is time for you to ask yourself why and to change things up. Here are some ideas:
        • Hire a coach! 1-to-1 work is highly effective!
        • Join a group/community for additional support and accountability
        • Invest in alone time with yourself! (ie: journaling, meditation, visualization, breathing exercises)
        • Focus on what you can control.
        • Invest in your health and wellness! (Exercise, nutrition, mindset, recovery, sleep)

    Before you go, just know that I know how difficult it is to have curveballs thrown at you. I have had more than a few thrown at me over my lifetime.

    Take my word for it and do not fear them. Instead, embrace them.

    Pick up that baseball or softball and get comfortable with how the curveball feels. Then when you are ready, grab that bat and smack the ball out of the park!

    Remember, not all the curveballs that have and will show up in your life are going to do harm. If I am being honest, I truly believe that more times than not, curveballs bring forth opportunity and an abundance of personal growth, self-exploration, and clarity.

    So ask yourself, “Is it worth not even stepping up to the plate to bat because of the fear of the curveball?”  Walk up to that plate with a fierce passion in your soul as you are grabbing ahold of the opportunity to swing that bat and trust your hard work and efforts that you have put into yourself so you can embrace the curveball.

    Like I said before, you don’t have to face the curveball alone. That’s why myself and the rest of the Brute Strength team are here.

    If you’d like the accountability and support of working with a coach, we’ve got several options to strengthen your mindset and overcome your fears and challenges.

    Click here to check out our Mental Performance programming options and knock that curveball right out of the park.

  • How to Fall in Love With Fear

    Has someone ever sat you down and explained to you that you need to embrace fear and fall in love with it?

    I know I have had that conversation in the past and immediately I laughed it off and told myself that all I needed to do was simply figure out a way to run away from fear or buck up and overcome it because fear was not real and the best people in sport, business, and life feel no fear.

    If only I knew back then that there is actually no way to outrun fear. I was a prime example of what happens when you refuse to see the beauty in fear and make the choice to ignore how to fall in love with it.

    You might currently be feeling exactly how I lived my life before loving fear. You could continue to feel as though reaching the levels of yourself that you truly desire to reach is absolutely impossible.

    You also might be finding yourself wishing, hoping, praying, and dreaming but are not able to produce results.

    If you are someone who lives in fear or feels an immense amount of fear when you begin to challenge yourself, continue to read.

    Many of you right now might be wondering why I said, “There is actually no way to outrun fear”. Let me help you understand why I made that statement:

    Fear is ingrained in our brains; it is apart of our genetic makeup. Our mind uses fear to protect us. When there is a bear approaching your campsite, for example, your brain takes over and recognizes that you need to be afraid and act accordingly in order for you to get out alive.

    Similarly,  when you are in the process of chasing after your dreams in sport, life, or business, and you are beginning to invite new challenges in your life, your brain sees that as a world of unknown.

    Your brain believes that this unknown could lead to possible death, just as the encounter with the bear could.  Therefore, your brain all on its’ own begins to fill your mind with doubts which will more than likely lead to negative self-talk and continue to amplify your fear.

    You physically will feel a pit in your stomach, tightness in your chest, or even become lightheaded.

    If anything, recognize that fear is powerful. But what is even more powerful is understanding that this fear, this response, is just your brain doing its’ job, attempting to protect you.

    The reason that understanding this is so powerful is that now you know that you cannot outrun fear but that you can use fear to your advantage.

    The truth is, learning how to take advantage of and fall in love with fear could be one of the most impactful things you as an individual can do.

    Let me ask you a couple of questions about fear:

    1. How many times per day do you find yourself not doing something because of fear?
    2. Do you catch yourself being afraid of the unknown, because you are unable to pinpoint exactly what is going to happen?
    3. Do you become paralyzed by the fear of what other people are going to think about you?
    4. Do you fear failure and therefore you continue to find yourself not making moves towards your dreams?

    The point of the questions above is to get you more in-tune and aware of how much you might be allowing fear to control our life, rather than making the choice to learn how to fall in love with it and use fear as a powerful tool to push us forward and progress us in life.

    Here is what I continue to witness on a daily basis: Too many of us are not living the life we desire. A big component of this is that we have a negative relationship with fear. We are brought up in a world where we are not taught that fear can be our friend.

    Society has not helped with this but at the end of the day, it is our choice to view fear as this terrifying feeling rather than using it has beneficial fuel.

    So ask yourself what could happen if you made the choice right now to have a more positive relationship with fear? How could and would that change your life?

    You deserve to live a life that is not drowning in fear. You deserve to live a life where you foundationally understand and know how to use fear to your benefit when you begin to walk into unknown waters.

    How do you go about falling in love with fear? Well for each person this process is going to be different as we are all unique beings, but below is a great exercise that you can practice on a DAILY basis.

    Remember, the more time, effort, and energy you spend fully committing yourself to loving your fear and practicing shifting your relationship with it, the more successful you will become which will enhance every single area of your life.


    Next time you begin to feel fear taking you over, do the following steps. Repeat these steps as many times as needed!

    1. Own your fear and take responsibility for it.
      1. Whether you believe that the fear you are feeling is yours or is someone else’s that you adopted, it is in your best interest to own it as your own and take responsibility for it. Accept yourself, exactly as you are and give yourself grace. No one is perfect and we all experience fear.
      2. Writing your fear out in a journal so you physically can see it, is also a great addition to helping you own and take responsibility for it.
    2. Physically pause.
      1. Come to a complete stop. Put your life on pause for a brief moment so you can listen, feel, and better understand the fear.
    3. Take a deep breath.
      1. Taking a deep breath can reduce stress, improve clarity and focus, remove toxins, provide energy, and much more. This breath allows you to become fully present in the moment.
      2. When you exhale, focus on exhaling the fear out of your body.
    4. Physically pull your fear out of your brain and give it a seat next to you.
      1. Before you knock this step, try it. Take your hand and act as though you are physically pulling the fear out of your head.
      2. Now your fear is no longer in your mind and instead it is sitting right next to you!
    5. Acknowledge it.
      1. Go ahead and acknowledge your fear. Have a conversation with it. Let it know that you know it is present in your life but that you have chosen to use it to HELP you reach your goals rather than harm you and hold you back.
    6. Continue on with your life.
      1. With your fear no longer inside of your mind and now sitting next to you, go ahead and continue on with your life and the task you are wanting to do!

    Remember, fear will always show up in your life. You get to make the choice on how you choose to use fear in your life. Choose wisely.

  • Are Your Dreams Still Dreams?

    Remember in my last blog post how I said your dreams do not just have to be dreams? Well, here I am checking in on you. Have you made progress? Did you go full send for 48 hours promising yourself that nothing and no one would get in your way but now you are back to where you started? Did you make a commitment to yourself that you would try the 4 steps provided but got sidetracked and never actually got around to it?

    Right now is a better time than ever to sit down with paper and pen, and go through the 4 steps I spoke about in the previous post:

    1. WRITE YOUR DREAMS OUT (pen and paper)
      1. Until you write out what you want in your life, it is just going to sit in your brain and not get the attention it deserves, just like all of those pictures on that throwaway camera or your phone that you promised yourself you would get developed by now.
      1. Know that it is okay to create a plan to get you started. It does not have to be the exact plan that is going to get you to the finish line. The point here is to get you to take action.
      1. Know that it is okay to create a plan to get you started. It does not have to be the exact plan that is going to get you to the finish line. The point here is to get you to take action.
      1. Look at your dream every single day, especially on the bad days. (hence why I said write it out on a physical piece of paper). Stay in tune with WHY you want this dream and do not let those bad days funnel you down the road. Stand firm in who you desire to be and be relentless.

    Hi again! I hope that was a great refresher for you, but I have more to say.  Here I am again giving you some tough love,  screaming from the top of my lungs reminding you to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR LIFE!

    And when I say take responsibility for your life, what I actually want you to do is to own up to all of the choices you have made in your past, your present, and make the choice to control the trajectory of your future because you are in control of your own life!

    Quick hint:  Do not sit very long on your past and allow yourself to feel bad, ashamed, or bummed out. Your past is simply just DATA! It allows you to grow and continually improve. So, if you are finding yourself caught up in the “past” trap, reframe and alter your mindset towards your past. Look at your past, simply as data, and nothing more.

    This topic of making your dreams a reality is one that I am incredibly passionate about and let me tell you why:

    I know what it feels like to crave a life that is completely different from the one you are living. I know what it feels like to stare at other people in the gym, in the office, in life, and think to yourself, “If only I could be as talented, smart, and well-known as them.” I know what it feels like to wish that the bad days would come to an end, only to discover that when you wake up, nothing about your reality has changed.

    And if you remember the last blog post, you then know that who you show up as on those “not so great days” and how you decide to make the most out of those days, is ultimately a very telling sign of how much you are willing or not willing to put forth the necessary amount of effort to make your dreams your reality.

    So let me give you an insider secret about those “people” I referred to a few paragraphs ago… YOU CAN BE THOSE PEOPLE. Want to know how I know this? Because at one point in their life, they were not who they are now, and they were possibly in similar shoes that you are in right now at this moment. Go ahead and ask your parents, your boss, your coach, and your mentor. They will share some stories with you that will probably shock you and open your eyes to the actual beauty that lies within the “not so great days” as well as the benefits that come from fighting like hell to make your dreams your reality.

    If I don’t have you already getting out a piece of paper, writing down your dream life, then keep reading…

    You owe it to yourself to see what you are capable of, to see who you actually can become. You owe it to yourself to learn how to develop the skill of inviting challenges and change into your life.

    But here is the problem that I continue to see suffocating many of us from fighting through the uncomfortableness that comes with the bad days … We continue to live in fear of challenge. It is so easy for us to give in to the thoughts in our minds that make us doubt ourselves and ultimately make us believe that there is more value in comfort than there is in change.

    This fear possibly is a direct result of always being presented with ribbons and awards even if we did not do anything to really deserve them. You know what I mean right? I can remember vividly getting a trophy when I was younger at basketball camp that I worked so hard for and yet Sally slept in, missed every shot, and she too got an award. Not cool and not helpful in our future.

    So how do you dig deep and fight through those bad days to make your dreams come true?

    Well for starters, do the 4 steps above. If you tried the 4 steps already, try them again and DO NOT GIVE IN. I want you to WANT to feel yourself fighting like hell, and digging deep into your soul to make your dreams come true. This does not come easy, so do not expect it to be easy. Getting a new PR on your snatch is NOT easy. It takes hundreds and even thousands of repetitions focusing on a multitude of technical errors that you might have, just to get 1 more pound on the bar.

    So hear me out: If you are not willing to fight on the bad days, then it is possible that the “dream” you are seeking, is not one that you actually truly desire. This is not WRONG or BAD so do not beat yourself up. Instead just sit down with yourself and get real. Ask yourself what you really want and who you really desire to be.

    When you ask yourself this question, I want you to consider one aspect of yourself that most of us FORGET to plug into the equation: WHAT ARE YOU WILLING TO SACRIFICE?

    Okay, so you want to lose 25 pounds. Are you willing to sacrifice going out to dinner five times a week and cooking at home more often? Are you willing to invest in a nutrition coach? Are you willing to give up your Netflix binge-watching and instead spend that time walking around the neighborhood?

    This is a must. You have to wrap your head around the sacrifices that you are going to have to make. You may not be able to recognize all of them but recognizing one is better than recognizing none.

    So to wrap this up, YOUR DREAMS DO NOT JUST HAVE TO BE DREAMS. They can be your reality. Stop settling and getting comfortable. Remember you owe it to yourself to see what you are capable of. Challenge yourself to change.

    Do the 4 steps and follow it up with the cherry on top …. Be willing to acknowledge and recognize the sacrifices that may or may not need to be made so you can set yourself up for success.

    You are in control of your life so what choice are you going to make?

    Are you ready to feed your inner athlete the mental nutrients you need to discover your true potential and become the best version of yourself?

    Join me and a group of like-minded individuals who want to grow and gain a competitive edge through mental performance training.

    Over the course of 4 weeks, we’ll dive into and dissect the contents of my ALL NEW Ebook, “Feed the Athlete” together, so that you’ll know exactly how to face your fears, silence the negative self-talk and continue to grow when the going gets tough.

  • I think we all have experienced at one time or another what we would call the perfect day. You know the day where all of the stars are aligned and the weather is gorgeous. You slept through the entire night. You wake up and coffee does not get spilled on your shirt. You open your email to see that it is jam-packed with only the best news. You go to the gym and get a PR. You eat your favorite meal for dinner and even have some dessert.

    These are the days where you more than likely are tapping into that creative side of your brain, relentlessly thinking about your dreams, and filling up sheets of paper,  promising yourself that no one and nothing will get in your way from reaching them. Not even a pay cut, a geographical change, or a challenging conversation will get in your way.

    So what happens to those dreams when that perfect day ends and the “not so perfect” days begin to fill up your week? Do you stop chasing your dreams? Do you find yourself settling? Do you begin to scroll through Instagram, gawking over everyone else’s life and go down the jealousy road? Do you quit talking to your coach, loved ones, co-workers, etc. and try to do life on your own?

    Seriously…who do you show up as on the bad days?

    I want to know who you are on the days where sleep was less than mediocre. Where you had to change your entire outfit because coffee went everywhere. On the days where your email is flooded with challenging conversations and you go to the gym only to find that you can barely lift over seventy percent and you just so happen to be on the bottom of the leaderboard? On the days where you forget to go to the grocery store and are basically hosting an in house version of Food Networks “Chopped”?

    How you show up on the bad days will define how you chase after your dreams. 

    I vividly remember one of the very first weeks I began working with Co-Founder of Brute Strength, Matt Bruce, as my Olympic Weightlifting Coach.  And one of the very first things he told me from the get-go was this, “Lauren the bad days make you appreciate when the good ones do roll around. Put your head down and grind. You will not have PR’s every single day. And if you make the choice to skip reps, not punch your head through, and lose sight of the finer details, who do you think you will show up as on meet day?”

    What I did not realize at that moment is that Bruce was speaking from the heart and from experience. And if you are not aware of what this man has done over the course of his lifetime, I encourage you to take a moment and do your research. But for now, let me just leave you with some numbers of Bruce’s athletic career:

    During his career, his best snatch was 152kg (334 lbs) and the best clean and jerk was 192kg (422) at a bodyweight of 85 kg (187 lbs).

    The point of all of this is of course not to brag and boast about Matt Bruce, but to showcase that you do not get to that level without sacrifice, adversity, bad days ( a lot of them), grit, and perseverance.

    So if you take away anything from this blog, leave knowing that on the days when you have to train alone, fail reps, miss a PR, end up on the bottom of the leaderboard, or feel as though you want to give in a quit, know that choosing how to respond vs. react on these days are going to set you apart for the better. If for better, they will astronomically highlight just how determined, dedicated, disciplined, and hungry you actually are to reach your dreams.

    Remember, your dreams do not just have to be dreams. So choose courage and change over comfort. Give yourself a fighting chance to be the exact version of yourself that you desire to be and do not let the bad days stop you. Instead, use those days as leverage to prove to yourself that there is no amount of adversity that can stop you, even if it may slow you down.

    Let me give you a few steps that will help you stay on track to crush your dreams since we all know that the good days do not come around as often as we would all like for them too…

      • No, this does not mean on your phone or computer. I want you to grab a pen and piece of paper and physically feel yourself WRITING out your dreams on something you can carry around with you.
      • Until you write out what you want in your life, it is just going to sit in your brain and probably not get the attention that it deserves just like all of those pictures on that throwaway camera or your phone that you promised yourself you would get developed by now.
      • This does not have to be a sixty-page single-spaced perfect plan. So do not over complicate this step and fear it.
      • Know that it is okay to create a plan to get you started. It does not have to be the exact plan that is going to get you to the finish line.
      • The point here is to get you to take action.
      • The worst thing you can do is be unrealistic and chase after something that you truly know you are not willing to do in the long run.
      • Identify and acknowledge the fact that no one is going to make this dream miraculously happen for you. You have to do this for yourself. You have to take one tiny step towards reaching that dream every single day.
      • Dreams take work and effort. If you do not believe me, call up your mentor, coach, or someone that you aspire to be.
      • This is the most important step.
      • Look at your dream every single day, especially on the bad days. (hence why I said write it out on a physical piece of paper).
      • Stay in tune with WHY you want this dream and do not let those bad days funnel you down the road. Stand firm in who you desire to be and be relentless.

    Remember, you control your life. Who you show up as on those “not so great days” and how you decide to make the most out of those days is ultimately a very telling sign of how much you are willing or not willing to put forth the necessary amount of effort to make your dreams your reality.

    If you find yourself dreading the “not so great days” and having very self-defeating conversations with yourself (inner talk) work towards shifting that mindset. Challenge yourself to be better each and every day no matter what is thrown at you.

    Through Adversity Is Treasure and you ultimately are the treasure so fight for yourself and fight like hell to reach your dreams.

  • Let’s not beat around the bush because no one transforms and becomes more mentally strong by doing that.

    It’s pretty straight forward, you will not become an expert in anything that you desire by simply reading a book, listening to a podcast or watching a show on television.

    Now these things may help you learn, adopt new philosophies, create motivation and possibly even allow for you to better identify where you need to begin to become an expert but you have to be the one to take action.

    Take CrossFit athletes for example. They do not become competitors solely by reading about their sport. They do not reach the podium by watching other athletes in the gym take action.

    They do not get stronger, faster and become equipped with the ability to be ready for the unknown by sitting back and letting life pass them by. What they do is take action and practice.

    They accumulate thousands of reps, of doing things that they know they need to do vs. what they want to do.

    Most importantly, and something I really want you to remember and not forget, is that the repetitions they are doing come in a variety of forms; it is not just limited to doing repetitions that are tangible such as back squatting, rope climbing, running, olympic lifting and so on.

    These athletes of course do those tangible things but then they also do more. They practice what it means to be more resilient in and out of the gym.

    They practice living and breathing with more confidence. They focus on putting forth the necessary amount of effort and energy into their non-negotiables that allow for them to become an expert. These non-negotiables can be things such as but not limited too:




    Mental Health Strategies

    Decreasing / Managing Stress          

    Back to being straight forward and not beating around the bush, the purpose of the paragraphs above are to allow for you to begin to ask yourself questions such as:

    1. What can I do today, even if it is just one more rep than yesterday, that will help me reach my goals?
    2. Where in my life do I NEED (not want) more repetitions in order to be 1% better today than I was yesterday?

    The reason I even began typing out this blog was because of two occurrences that took place on Tuesday January 21, 2020. Illinois’ Alan Griffin was ejected after stepping on a Purdue player’s chest and then there was a bench clearing brawl at the end of the Kansas vs. Kansas State game.

    As a former collegiate basketball player, I found myself watching with my own two eyes, athletes and complete organizations absolutely insulting the beautiful game that is; ten people on the court, strategically showcasing through practice how to gain leverage and play together as a unit in order to score 1,2,3 or 4 points.

    I found myself becoming very sad, angry and completely at a loss for words as I watched one young man stomp on an opponent’s chest and then two teams go to battle on the court in front of thousands in the stands and then thousands more tuning in via television.

    I began thinking, “How many repetitions of anger, lack of confidence, guilt, resentment, jealousy, cockiness, hopelessness and so on have these individuals taken in their lives to get them to this point, where they are not only representing their school and themselves poorly but they are hurting the game and ultimately harming the trajectory of their life because of the action they chose to take due to one reaction?”

    The point of all of this is, we are first our individual self and then we are the athlete we are choosing to become. We have to focus on the internal reps, the reps that create mental strength, the reps that create confidence, the reps that allow for us to respond rather than react.

    These are the reps that need to be sought after before we take action and rep out our bench press, clean and jerk, free throw, 5k time and so on.

    Never in any sport should someone get stomped on or have a chair thrown at their face with an entire team headed your way to do even more harm. This is not welcome anywhere, especially in sports.

    So what can you do? What reps can you be doing in order to assure that you better respond to adversity instead of reacting to your emotions?

    For starters, hiring a coach that focuses on mental performance is a great way to take action.

    Not every athletic coach and even organization has the time, energy, or experience to focus on each individual athlete’s mental health.

    Bringing someone into your organization whose sole focus is mental performance can allow for you, your athletes and your organization as whole to flourish and transform in more ways than one.

    Second, there are many techniques that can be practiced in order for someone to be able to essentially “walk it off” instead of stomping or throwing.

    Now I could sit here and talk about a variety of techniques for hours but I will keep the list short. Point is, just know there are many more ways than what is below.

    1. Take Deep Breaths
      • Here is a fact: frustration, anger, jealousy, resentment, holding grudges and so on can cause physical reactions within the body. Your heart rate will speed up, you might begin to sweat… a lot, your breathing will escalate, the amount of thoughts in your mind will increase and circulate making it hard to focus on what is actually taking vs. what you believe in taking place. When you take slow deep breaths this will help you relax your muscles and decrease your physiological response which will help decrease your emotional reactivity.
    1. Distract Yourself
      • Of course I am not here telling you to completely forget about what is going on however, if you are in a situation when you are incredibly overly emotional, distracting yourself could be very helpful. Go to the gym, go for a walk, read a book, listen to a podcast, cook up an amazing meal and so on. These actions more times than not will give you space to calm down and get your mind off of what is bothering you so you can begin to think more rationally.
      • In the scenarios above, distracting yourself could have looked like immediately walking to the other end of the court or heading over to a teammate or coach to talk about how you are feeling.
    1. Excuse yourself from the situation
      • This one is typically very challenging for people but keep in mind that the more emotional you feel, the less rational you will think. When you begin to feel anger rising and you begin sweating, shaking, crying for example, simply remove yourself from the current situation before you act on emotion. Walk away or communicate that you simply do not want to talk about right now.
      • It is pretty obvious that the two scenarios I spoke about, would not allow for the athletes in discussion to excuse themselves from the situation. However, if you are someone who recognizes that you typically get angry very quickly and react, practice removing yourself from a situation so you are better able to do so and “walk it off” when you need to most. Practice makes progress!
    1. Write
      • I always say that a pen and piece of paper is your best friend. This one is pretty straight forward. If you are beginning to feel overwhelmed with emotion, take it as an opportunity to get it all out of your system and get it out on paper so it is no longer taking up space and energy in your body!
    1. Recognize Your Choices
      • Most importantly, remind yourself daily that you have a choice in every single thing that you do, think and feel. Write this out on a piece of paper and keep it at your home, in your office and even in your car. Put it in your locker, in your gym bag and so forth and remember that you are in control and you always have a choice!

    Remember, it doesn’t matter if it is in your relationship, at the gym, on the olympic weightlifting platform, at work or on the basketball court, reps are king and the more reps you put into becoming more mentally strong, the better you will be able to respond calmly rather than reacting on emotion.

    If you are interested in putting in reps on your mindset email Mental Performance Coach Lauren Tait directly at

  • Stay in Your Own Lane

    In an instant, I went from being in the warm-up area to being escorted out onto the competition floor with my teammates with one minute until game time. Then I heard over the big speakers, 3,2,1…GO!

    Holy cow, it was officially GO TIME on the competition floor at Wodapalooza.

    Similar to Wodapalooza, in an instant, we as a society, went from our habitual living and gathering by the masses, to hearing over the big speaker (news, media, government, etc.) that we have to be isolated, quarantined and remain in the comfort of our own home unless we are in need of  essential items or have an emergency.

    As a newbie to the sanctioned competition floor II realized very quickly that the beauty of the competition floor was actually very simple, which was very refreshing to me because just like the good ole’ college basketball days, nothing actually mattered out on that floor as much as my belief in myself and my ability to continue to be lasered focused on staying in my own lane.

    Again, similar to Wodapalooza and those college balls days, what the COVID-19 Pandemic has shown me and hopefully you as well is that the “noise” we are constantly hearing, the fear we are consistently adopting from others and the vast amount of unknowns actually do not matter as much as the belief in yourself and your ability to being focused on staying in your own lane.

    Here is where athletes and people, in general, get lost. We make a choice to focus on others too damn much.  Read that again, we make a choice to focus on others too damn much.

    We worry. We want to fix everyone. We want to gossip. We focus on the things we have zero control over. We dwell too often. We live in jealousy and envy. We adopt others’ fears. We choose to not fact check ourselves and the limiting beliefs that are stirring up in our minds. We let our egos get in the way.

    Let me go back to the Wodapalooza for a brief moment. It is important to recognize that before any event, there is an ample amount of time for athletes, prior to the morning of game day, prior to warmups and definitely prior to that buzzer sounding, to hold hands and become best friends with doubts, fears, and anxiety. It is in these moments where you, as the athlete, can set yourself apart. Ask yourself this question, “Are you going to choose to hang out with things that will not propel you forward or are you going to acknowledge that they are there and then simply move on and focus on what is actually happening and in your control?”

    Because if I am being honest, in all reality, when that buzzer goes off, you should feel and think nothing other than “I am staying in my own lane!”

    The truth is, in the sport of CrossFit and in this COVID-19 Pandemic time span, that yes, you need to be aware of the news and where your competition is so you can either pull back the reins or just “full send” to gain some much-needed leverage for example. But what is even more important is to believe and know the true significance behind the phrase “stay in your own lane.”

    Now, do not get me wrong there are sports of course where legitimately staying in your own lane is actually vital and necessary, such as swimming.

    If you are a CrossFit athlete doing the benchmark workout Fran in a competition or even at your box, staying in your own lane is in the actual rule book to ensure that your barbell is not a hindrance to one’s performance and safety. It also ensures that you are not taking someone’s position on the rig for pullups.

    Let’s forgo the physical lane of sport for the time being, and dive deep into the lane that I refer to as life.

    You see, this thing we call life, it is so chaotic. We are currently living in a time where everything seems very chaotic.

    So much shit is going on every single day. The news changes by the hour. You have parties, meetings, obligations, chores, competitions, errands to run, mouths to feed, workouts to be completed, laundry to be folded and that is not even scratching the surface.

    Many times, we as individuals and collectively, a society, get so overwhelmed by life that we lose ourselves.

    One morning we could start out by being assigned to lane 15 and the next thing we know, we are in lane 5 trying to solve someone else’s problems or fully consumed in the drama that is so far out of our control, it is a complete waste of energy.

    But what would take place in your life for example, if you awoke and ended your day in lane 15?

    How powerful would it be for you to remain focused on the goals that you set for yourself and were able to cross off all of your boxes on your to-do list because you simply just stood in your own lane?

    Whether you are preparing for a sanctioned event like that of Wodapalooza or you are someone who is just trying to make it through this COVID-19 Pandemic, remember the value and importance of staying in your own lane.

    Focus on yourself.

    Pay attention to what you can control and identify what you can’t control. Seriously make a list of both!

    Choose to spend your energy on living with intention. Set aside the doubts, fears, anxieties and self-limiting beliefs.

    Remember no one is perfect but you CAN make the choice daily to stay in your own lane or you can hop from lane to lane and lose sight of what is truly important to you as a unique individual.

    Regardless of the current news, whether you have the perfect soundtrack playing in the background, you’re wearing the most comfortable outfit, or you’re able to point out your loved ones and/or coach in the stands when the buzzer goes off, it’s GO TIME!

    Crush your life and let nothing stop you!

    Stay focused.

    Stay in your own lane.

    Don’t worry, here I am not going to leave you without providing you with some ideas on how to practice staying gin your own lane.

    • Decrease / Eliminate Distractions
      • TV, Social Media, Phone, Gaming, Gossip, etc.
      • Get yourself organized the night before so those distractions are already out of your “to-do” list and working space for the next day!
    • Write Down Your goals
      • Jot down what you want to accomplish that day, week, month, yea,
      • Explore both your own short and long term goals
      • Make these goals measurable (how will you track it, is it realistic, etc.)
    • Feed Your Brain / Be A Student Of Life
      • Study your craft
      • Read, Listen to audiobooks, Listen to Podcasts
      • Communicate with coaches, mentors, etc.
    • Meditate, Stretch, Visualize
      • Give yourself some time and space to quiet your mind and let creativity come naturally to you.
      • Focus on your breathing and become more in tune with your body so you can get through the mental marathons required to produce great work
      • Do not overwhelm yourself here, just spend 5-10 minutes
    • PLAY!
      • If you are a weightlifter, do not spend every day lifting with a serious face on.
      • If you are a CrossFit athlete, do not spend everyday training without a laugh or a smile
      • Do the silly things that help you and your brain remember that all things in life are meant to be fun and worthwhile!
  • If I were to ask you to picture in your mind the most confident version of yourself as a CrossFit athlete, Olympic weightlifter, motivational speaker or parent, how would you describe yourself? Many of you reading this are probably thinking, “I don’t think I’ve ever sat down and thought about this before” and it’s likely that some of you might be imagining yourself with your shoulders back feeling strong, confident and unfazed by the competition.

    While these descriptions are accurate, a characteristic that goes unnoticed and unstated is belief. Belief is defined as a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing.

    So let me ask you a couple of questions.

    1. Do you legitimately have belief in yourself?
    2. Do you possess the characteristic of being self-confident?

    The one thing you can always be doing more of is strengthening the relationship you have with yourself. When I ask my personal athletes if they are feeling confident before they step foot in the gym or on the competition floor and if they truly believe in themselves, most of the time they will respond quickly and say “YES, OF COURSE COACH, I DO!

    But hear me out…

    Contrary to what most people think, people who display a level of self-confidence often still doubt themselves or their abilities.

    For example, elite athletes do occasionally report feelings of apprehension and pressure prior to competition but are still able to perform well.

    Why is that?

    Being confident doesn’t all of a sudden mean that there is going to be an absence of negative thoughts or feelings. Instead, self-confident athletes believe in their ability to perform well despite feelings such as apprehension and doubt.

    Do you want to be more self-confident? Is this an area of your life that is oftentimes neglected?

    You will find a handful of “bullet points” below showcasing the value and impact that comes from taking the time to focus and put in more reps when it comes to building true BELIEF in yourself every single day.

    Always remember that confidence breeds confidence.  The more you have, the better you will perform. The better you perform, the more confidence you will have. Whether it’s in life, work, or sport, a confident person always attracts positive energy and new opportunities.

    In order to be successful, I have put together a list of five rules that you should follow in order to bring your confidence to a whole new level!

    It shouldn’t take much, but let me convince you that working to develop, strengthen and manage your self-confidence is important via describing some amazing characteristics that are associated with high confidence.

    1. Work hard and chip away at your goals and vision little by little EVERY SINGLE DAY
    2. Focus on what you can control vs. what you cannot control
    3. Embrace challenge and discomfort, opportunity and growth lie within
    4. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you, most decisions dictated by pure emotion almost never result in your favor
    5. Do not fear failure or success
    • If you want to be more confident, you need to understand that failure and success are going to come and go, but what stays consistent is your attitude, work ethic, and the choices that you make on a daily basis to improve yourself.
    • A confident athlete always understands that whatever you play is only a game and your next opportunity is right around the corner. There’s no reason to be afraid of being successful because no matter how big it seems to you, once your opportunity for that day is over, everyone moves on to the next thing.
    • All of the athletes that walk around with the most swagger are confident because they have a sense of self-pride that they built for themselves. It’s not because they had the best coaches, or spent the most amount of money possible on specialized training. It’s because they applied themselves every single day and taught themselves how to get better.  This takes a ton of grit, and in turn, breeds confidence.

    Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill, do the work to prepare for your chance, and be confident in trying to achieve the task.  If you’re successful, great – build off of it.  If you’re not, who cares – pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get ready to try it again.

    When you’re teaching yourself, remember this one golden rule:  No matter how much adversity you face, you cannot become your worst enemy.

    Trying to develop quickness, become stronger, or work on the flaws of your game is hard enough with a coach right next to you. It’s even harder when you try to teach yourself.  Don’t dwell on your mistakes or your failures and learn how to let them go.

    Dwelling on your mistakes will only fill you with self-doubt, which is what you’re trying to get away from to develop confidence. Instead, challenge yourself to never be satisfied.  Being hungry and being negative are two completely different things.

    Of course, it’s easier said than done right? Confidence isn’t something that you can just turn on with the flip of a switch. It’s something that takes time to develop. Be RUTHLESS in your practice of those 5 rules I stated above.

    Episodes 116 and 88 of the Brute Strength Podcast are a couple of fantastic episodes on the subject of confidence that you should listen to the next time you’re browsing through your library. If you’ve listened to them before, cue them up again. It’s never a bad idea to revisit old content because chances are, you’ll pick up something that you may have overlooked the first time around.

    Give them a listen and remember, every little bit of effort you make each day to become stronger both physically and mentally will add up.

    Before you know it, what you thought was unattainable in the past will seem like a walk in the park while you’re busy moving mountains.

  • McGregor and Mindset

    As a mental performance coach, I work with individuals from all walks of life, sport interests, skill levels, you get the picture. I aim to help people not only crush their goals on and off the playing field but also possess the ability to better understand themselves as a whole and truly begin to believe in themselves and appreciate what sets them apart from everyone else. 

    It is possible that you came across this blog because Conor McGregor’s name was in the title and let me assure you, below this paragraph you will have the opportunity to read about him and why his mindset and outlook on life can impact your own, but before you do, let me remind you of something:

    Even the athletes at the pinnacle of their sport who win the medals, get on the podium, appear to be unstoppable, and make it look so easy that you think they are immune to pain and free of conflict in their lives, have their own fair share of doubts, fears, anxiety, pain, and stress.

    They all have most likely experienced failures, made just as many mistakes and have faced just as much adversity as any other person. 

    So maybe you are reading this and are wondering, “How do I become one of those athletes? How do I rise from the ashes and win in under sixty seconds? How do I get to the CrossFit Games, let alone get on the podium?” Let me stop you right there and share some bold words:

    You will not become one of those athletes because you are authentically you. However, you can be inspired, motivated and learn from those individuals in order for you to be able to push yourself towards reaching your true potential both in and out of sport.

    Now, if you know of or are familiar with the mixed martial artist and boxer, Conor McGregor, you might have somewhat of a sour taste in your mouth from the amount of negativity that has swarmed his existence both in life and sports from the media.

    However, before you exit out of this blog post, take a few minutes and read on because Conor McGregor is much more than people give him credit for and his performance on Saturday, January 18, 2020, can really teach you about the power of your mindset.

    Many are not aware, but at the time of McGregor’s rise in mixed martial arts, when he first made a name for himself, not one single person had a history of success as a mixed martial artist from Ireland. 

    Boxing was the main focus in Ireland and yet defeating all odds, McGregor focused on his internal conversations and upon defeating Eddie Alvarez for the UFC Lightweight Championship at UFC 205, McGregor became the first fighter in UFC history to hold titles in two separate weight divisions simultaneously.

    So what can McGregor’s performance on Saturday, January 18, 2020, teach you about sport and life? 

    His performance can teach you that your past does not predetermine your future and by focusing on your mindset and internal dialogue, you can rise above and conquer. 

    If you followed his fight on Saturday, you know that he won with a knockout in under 60 seconds in the first round, (40 seconds to be exact.) You may also know that his dear friend and mentor Tony Robbins was courtside and moments after the fight went on to say, “What a turnaround he’s created within himself in the last year. He’s had a WORK ETHIC like no other — not only strengthening his body to be even more FIT than he’s been, but also and perhaps, MORE IMPORTANTLY strengthening his MIND, HEART, and SOUL.” 

    In a follow-up interview, McGregor gave an abundant amount of praise for the work he has done with Robbins over the past year and communicated that Robbins had provided him with all of the necessary tools to help him create a new frame of mind in order to accomplish his goals and beyond.  But of course, Robbins simply provided the tools, friendship, and accountability. McGregor is still the one that not only had to put in the work but had to truly invest and believe in the power of his mind.

    It is not a surprise that McGregor is incredibly mentally tough but what does that really mean anyway? What more can McGregor teach you about yourself and the power of your mindset? 

    Let me begin with Roger Staubachs’ words. “All of us get knocked down, but it is the resiliency that really matters.”  Resiliency is important when you think about being mentally tough because as you may have noticed or have heard, McGregor was different this time around before, during, and after his fight on Saturday. His demeanor, attitude, communication, body language and so on did not resemble the McGregor everyone knew or perhaps thought they knew.

    McGregor thinks about himself daily as an Irish Animal and as a man who has clawed his way to the top and has fought for every single ounce of his being. Once a man who was laughed at and not believed in, he mentions in a recent interview that the only thing that can break you down as an individual is your internal dialogue. 

    He goes on further to say, “Nothing can defeat the internal. The only thing that can take and break someone down is internal. Nothing external is strong enough. It is just about making sure that your internal dialogue and beliefs are strong enough that they can withstand the external. You have to know that the external is there and that you have to accept, embrace, understand and be aware of it. But you can’t let it seep into your internal dialogue and ruin you.”

    What McGregor is referring to when he mentions internal dialogue is the conversations you have with yourself. These conversations, as we all know, have the ability to get very diluted and can transform themselves, with your approval, into stories made up of false information and excuses. This is where the importance of focusing on your mindset comes into play. So, continue reading on…

    One’s resilience in sport and in life indicates their ability to handle the stressors and challenges that are present within training and competition. What you need to understand and realize is that adversity is inevitable when it comes to life and especially when it comes to sports. 

    People who are mentally tough such as Conor McGregor, are able to maintain their confidence, motivation, and focus no matter what is going on around them. Again, this was shown and performed to perfection on Saturday evening.

    However, we must not lose hope, give up and quit when we try to be more resilient for one day, one week or even one month. Do not lose sight of the fact that resiliency is not a skill, it is a combination of many skills! To be resilient is to be able to do the following for an example:


    • Stay focused among distractions
    • Not allowing feelings of doubt to feed the monster and instead continue to preserve and feed the athlete
    • Being able to have clear and precise goals
    • Strengthening your commitment to your efforts and goals
    • Having the ability to view challenges and obstacles as opportunities


    If you take away anything from this blog post, remember that you are not born with resiliency. McGregor was not born with resiliency. This is a skill and you have to WORK FOR, just as he did!

    I will leave you with this powerful statement McGregor stated in an interview, “Your lack of commitment is almost an insult to the people that believe in you.”

    Now go out there and work for who you truly desire to be. Remember, you are not perfect and McGregor is not perfect but he is resilient, and therefore you can be too!

    Ready to be more resilient? Ready to tackle your mindset and transform yourself from the inside out? 

    I can help you with that.

    Reach out to me via email at

  • In an attempt to help athletes reach their highest achievements in sports and health, I’ve found the whole concept of effort to be quite curious.

    Regularly working on plans and roadmaps with athletes to achieve their goals, and, ultimately, reaching the finish line, I’ve come to believe that intrinsic motivation and desire do not have a place in high-level sports. In fact, I don’t think they even exist.

    Before you stop reading, let me clarify. I believe that we should be happy with our effort, however, I believe that it is best to start with understanding what effort really means, understanding that we cannot measure effort. There’s a shirt that I own, and love, that reads “Effort is a choice”.

    The individual choices we make instinctively are data points that we can use to “measure” personal effort. For example, your goal in a workout is to pick up the barbell right away every time you return to it. Over the course of the workout, you make that choice 3-7 times. You could say that your effort in that workout was good because you chose something more difficult and maintained that choice the whole time.

    Proved myself wrong, right? Or not…

    New example: you signed up for the Open and wanted to compete at a high level. You finish a workout and “win” in your mind. You put out the effort and picked up the bar 3-7 times, but you finished 10,000th in the world. So, although you are happy about the internal motivation you are unhappy about the outcome and where you sit.

    If your goal is to compete, being unhappy with the result is good because now you have an opportunity to improve relative to the sport you are participating in.

    You can make a real change based on data and not just personal perception, which is how effort is actually measured. This is somewhat problematic because we lie to ourselves and use Intrinsic motivation as a scapegoat; to settle and be happy with any outcome as long as we had our personal measure of effort set out beforehand.

    With that said, having personal goals or objectives to meet in a workout are important and will improve your training and personal motivation by allowing intentionality on a daily basis.

    Here is the problem though: no matter how intentional you are, if you have not fully felt defeat, how do you know where the problem is?

    We’ve heard this in the stories of Rich Froning and Mat Fraser. Each suffering their own defeats and never wanting to feel that again. These experiences have externally motivated them to rebuild and rise to the standard that they set for themselves when they evaluated their outcomes, figuring out how to change and adapt so they could ultimately control their own outcomes.

    Even Katrin, the queen of “be my best me”, has seen defeat and told stories of how she too never wants to feel that way again. Her external intervention made a shift and she came back after missing the 2014 Games to win them in ’15 & ’16. Perhaps the complacency of her contentment in her two championship efforts is why she has not won again and she has lost that edge.

    To this day, Fraser and Froning will recount those losses and say that is what motivates them. They never want to feel that feeling again. The experience they had was extrinsic and uncontrollable at the time but has become controllable in the sense of how they handled them and used the experience to move forward. The point is to not hide behind “I gave my best effort” nor to wallow in defeat, but to allow the external motivators to shape the future by seeing the error in your training or preparation. This mindset allows each of them to improve on the next opportunity.

    We will always rise to the level of our training and if we are happy with the effort in our training, we will not improve and the same outcome will remain our ceiling. Embrace this discomfort and dislike of the outcome, use it to learn, rebuild, respond, grow and change.

  • What Does “All In” Mean For You?

    “All-in” isn’t perfection.

    It’s not this emoji: 💯

    It’s not a perfect score.

    “All-in” isn’t hitting your PRs or hopping out of bed without a snooze or two.

    “All-in” is your commitment to keep pushing.

    Because we all oversleep and overeat.

    But if you’re “all-in”, you don’t give-in.

    You get up.

    “All-in” is your unbreakable drive to keep killin’ it.

    Live your “all-in” in Austin at the 2018 Brute Athlete Camp

    Let’s shake on it.