A Crossfit gym can be a daunting place to an outsider, with super fit people, lifting heavy weights, playing full out to the point where they collapse in a heap on the floor when the workout is concluded. No matter how friendly the gym, the reality is you feel intimidated at best, or fearful at worst. You don’t walk the walk or wear the gear and you cant do the moves.

The truth is- even for an ex athlete and keen trainer like myself, I felt pretty much outside the circle. However, the interesting thing that I noticed when I started Cross Fit was- that no one there has forgotten what it was like to be a beginner. This was reflected in the encouraging nods and technical tips, not only from the great coaches, but also the members.


I’m particularly interested in a technique called modelling. My NLP trainings have equipped and enabled me support clients to replicate successful results gained by others through duplicating strategies, approaches and mindsets, with the belief that, if someone else can do it, I can learn to do it too.

So the mentality of the top athletes in the gym became particularly interesting for me to observe, and I have noticed that even the most advanced cross fitters don’t cruise. Despite their impressive physiques and stack of weights, they maintain and improve their physiques by challenging themselves by learning new things, wanting to get faster, stronger, more efficient and technically knowledgeable. So they can push themselves to the point of mental and physical fatigue.


The reason they haven’t forgotten what its like to be a beginner is because they are still in a beginners mindset, seeking to learn and achieve mastery. This is a common trait seen in successful people. This ‘growth’ mindset and openness to learning is a shining example of what can be achieved with commitment, determination and courage to “have a go.”

Unfortunately, so often our egos get in the way and prevent us from learning and developing. With learner hang-ups, our adult brains quickly feel the fear of not getting it right first time and can stop us from persevering. Sometimes we don’t even try in the first place due to worry about looking silly or incompetent. Such thinking can cause frustration and will prevent progress, achievement and enjoyment.

When did you last avoid doing something because you couldn’t do it yet?

So, really you avoided learning something because you couldn’t do it yet….

I know that you want to feel in control and make things look cool and effortless. You may even feel frustrated and inpatient, like you should know this stuff already. But how can you know it if you haven’t learned it yet? You haven’t put in the time or the effort practicing.

Often I see clients putting themselves under so much pressure they make learning a miserable process. They end up creating negative associations with learning and sometimes reinforcing old, limiting beliefs about their capability. These are unhelpful habits to get in to for obvious reasons.

There is much to be gained when you give yourself permission to be a learner- in many areas of your life.

Learning behaviours

When you hold a fixed mindset, failure can feel like the end of the world as you struggle to learn from feedback, unconsciously processing it as an insult on your intelligence and ability. We can become conditioned to think in this way from a young age- but the great thing is that, like your muscles you can build new pathways in your mind.  You can pre-programme yourself to respond in more resourceful and empowering ways which allow you to get the results that you want.

Seeing things anew can lead to great insights and achievements whilst providing inspiration and energy for creativity and development. These are great qualities to invest your time developing and particularly relevant for anyone with aspirations.

You have invested the time in reading this article, what will you do as a result of it? The questions below will help you to reflect on the insights that you have gained, whilst helping you to create a plan of action.

Coaching questions

  • List 3 areas of your life where you can use these learnings.
  • What do you want to master? What have you avoided getting started on, for fear of failure?
  • Where are you cruising? What would happen if you paid more attention and restored your growth mindset?
  • What positive learning’s can you extract from your own exercise experiences and challenges?
  • In the 3 different areas of your life, what role models do you have and how could they help you to overcome your challenges?

As always, I would love to hear how you are applying these learnings to improve the results you get in various aspects of your life.

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© Performance Circle 2016