Using NLP to Maximise Performance

NLP looks at the link between our Neurological process (N-Neuro), the language we use (L- Linguistic), and our behaviour through experience (P – Programming). This was first created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in California in the 1970’s and studied by millions worldwide. It’s the connection between the conscious mind behaviours and utilising the unconscious mind to improve mental performance. Professionals across the sports world are already using the techniques that NLP can teach us to make fast improvements and achieve their goals quicker. Translating some core NLP techniques into your CrossFit regime can improve performance far quicker than training harder!

NLP Practioner’ s live by a set of presuppositions, or rules, and it’s these rules that can get you thinking more about the role your unconscious mind has to play in maximising your training.

The first thing to recognise is the Mind Body connection, this means that our thoughts and beliefs can affect our physical performance. The fascinating connection between the mind and body, has allowed people such as the pioneering James Braid to perform surgery under hypnosis and the super human mothers who have lifted cars to rescue their trapped children. Just think what your performance might be like if you began to use your unconscious to guide your body!

Let’s look at Cause and Effect, which side of the equation are you? Are you currently the effect of things happening in your life? Perhaps your training isn’t going so well because you have been really stressed at work and you feel like you are failing during your training sessions as you cannot concentrate. Continue to feel like this and it will continue to have a negative effect. Move yourself to the Cause side of the equation and start empowering your mind, take responsibility for changing your behaviour. Get rid of the stress at work or just don’t bring it to the box. Recognise that your mind will not allow your body to function at its full potential if you’re not “at cause”.

Anything can be accomplished if the task is broken down into small steps. Clients come to me and often their main goal is to focus on lifting heavier. So, I question them back – why are you not already lifting that weight and what’s stopping you? Cue blank stare! I ask them to go away and list all the tasks it will take them to get there, film themselves doing it now and we analyse in the next session. The main challenge they face is something they are doing/not doing unconsciously, by recognising just one thing and bringing it into the conscious you can change the task outcome.

Flexibility is the key to success! This is paramount in CrossFit, as a fitness regime that works on constantly varied functional movements performed at high intensity and that element of surprise when you first see the WOD you need your mind to be as flexible as possible. Having options when things aren’t going your way can make even the hardest WODS seem less challenging and if it isn’t working – try something else! Have your own strategy for when it might go wrong and the negative self-talk starts to come to the surface – that’s your unconscious thinking. By challenging negative thoughts, it will help you respond better during a WOD. Don’t be hard on yourself, be flexible if it’s not working out, try something else, but most importantly recognise what you are achieving!

There is NO failure ONLY feedback, this is my number one presupposition of NLP that guides me daily in my own WODS and the one rule I ask my clients to remember when teaching. If we go through life thinking we have failed, we will never learn. Our unconscious mind stores negative events quickly and can bury them deep. If we recognise the positive in an event we can connect our unconscious mind and conscious behaviours, storing the learnings in a positive way.

Change your mind set! The key with NLP is recognising who you are and how your mind behaves at any given moment to maximise your performance and be the best you can possibly be. We are all unique and experience the world in different ways, recognise that, and use your unconscious mind to give your body the energy it needs to surpass current capabilities and beat PB’s!