Jan 18 – Do you choke under pressure?

I often get asked the question “How do I stay calm under pressure, especially when competing?” This is a question I have often asked myself as I never thought that I would be someone to thrive under such a pressured circumstance, especially as I have always hated being centre of attention and hated the thought that everyone may be watching me.

snatch 3

With this in mind I put my thinking cap on and brainstormed what goes through my mind and how do I manage my thoughts and feelings on a competition day. Competitions can range from a local competition, an Open workout or Regionals. When thinking about it there seemed to me to be three key areas to consider: my mind-set, my self-awareness and my internal focus.


For me mind-set is the most important which is why I have written about it first. The mind-set you walk into a competition with will determine how well you perform that day. If you walk in thinking that the workouts are hard, or I am feeling tired, or there are so many good people here, in my opinion you have started the day with a defeatist attitude and you have lost before you have even begun. On the flip side, if you walk in thinking that today is going to be great fun, I can learn loads from this, how lucky I am to be competing against some of the best athletes, then you already have a positive attitude and will enjoy the experience more and most likely preform better.

Winning or losing does not always matter, sometimes you need to go to a competition to take part, learn and enjoy the experience so that next time you go back you know how to attack a competition with experience. Every competitor was once an amateur and we all had our first competition.

pro pic


Self-awareness is quite a big topic but for me the part that I like to focus on most is how well you know yourself and how good you are at what you do. Firstly, most of the time the competitions we attend include qualifiers, so straight away you should have confidence in your ability, as you have earned the right to be there to preform. Secondly, you must have faith and confidence knowing that you have prepared for that competition to the best of your ability and there was nothing else you could have done apart from what happens on the day, which is usually out of your control to a certain extent. Thirdly, you must trust your body to complete the exercises, as it would on any other day.

This for me brings me onto the next part, internal focus. Are you able to shut down your brain when necessary to save precious energy?

Internal focus

When I think about internal focus I like to think about whether you are able to shift your mind-set and take your brain to another place or put it in shut-down mode. When you take your mind away from the task at hand you are able to zone out and ignore the people around you who are quite possibly competing against you. You send your head to space, so to speak, and use your muscle memory to help you through the movements.

Putting your mind into shut-down mode is the best way to save mental energy and use it to help you push harder during your workout. When your mind goes into shut-down mode it means that you are thinking about nothing else but the task in hand. It is at this point that you may breakdown the workout into reps, sets or even focus on your split-times. You may even be listening to someone counting for you. Saving as much energy from over thinking is essential as mentioned before; that 2% extra energy could be put into your workout and could turn out being 5 extra reps.



On a competition day I try to remember always to have fun and to enjoy the experience first and foremost. Granted, this may not happen on your first competition and I will admit this maybe didn’t happen during my first competition but as I have become a more seasoned athlete, competing multiple times per year, I have learnt to channel my thoughts and feelings into being excited and give me additional energy to compete rather than using up all my energy panicking or worrying about what may happen. This I believe will be the same for you.

The best tips I was ever given were:

Control the controllable and forget the rest.

Nerves represent excitement and should never be seen as a negative feeling – this one has helped me massively as I can now channel my ‘negative’ energy from being nervous into positive energy helping me to preform better.


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Jan 18 – Jocko Willink – GOOD

A while ago I was shown a YouTube video by Jocko Willink called GOOD. I have sat and watched the video many times and thought about what Jocko says realising that each and everyone of us who is chasing a dream or a goal goes through similar challenges but it is how we deal with those challenges that determines if we prevail in reaching and achieving our goals or not.

I like to think of it as

Are you brave enough to look at a ‘challenge’ as a way to push you forward and attack against or are you willing to let it crumble you. Will that challenge help push you one day closer to your goal because you decided you would work harder and not give up. Are you, one-day tougher and stronger because you didn’t wallow in pity and can you enjoy the grit and the struggle enough to dig deeper chase harder and enjoy that struggle that little bit more to help you prove that ‘challenge’ was just a building block to where you can go.

Think about it!

Unexpected challenges come up in our lives from time to time and this is the same for everyone but not everyone will cope or react in the same way. Some will find the challenges too hard to deal with and they cannot seem to look past them so they don’t carry on and keep moving forward. This is where the champions or those that will achieve are set aside from those who will just never cut it.

Challenges to me should be seen to help you grow, attack harder, learn, build, get better, feel alive, fight harder, never coast and never become complacent.

None of the words or phrases above are new thoughts or feelings but they are thoughts and feelings that need to be used in the correct way to help build a person instead of pushing them down. It takes a certain individual to be able to do this, turning what can be seen as a negative word or phrase to a positive. An individual who is often good at doing this has a growth mind set and is able to see the positive in every situation and use it to help them grown. I guess you could say that the way an individual speaks plays a massive part on how successful they are. I can’t remember the last time I saw someone win who said

 “I don’t think I can win this race” or

“I’m feeling really tired today and I can’t be bothered”


If we look back to the YouTube video Jocko says

“When something is going wrong or bad you say ‘good’ …. Some good will come from it”

“It’s more time to get better, to learn, to find a solution”

For me, this sums up everything I am trying to say no ‘challenge’ missed rep or competition is bad it’s ‘Good’ it gave you time to grown, build and learn. A chance to find what went wrong and not let it happen again. A way to learn to control your emotion and help it push you forward. Nothing you want bad enough is going come easy so use the journey to help you, build you and grow and always remember when something ‘bad’ happens say ‘GOOD’, I learned, now let’s show them what I can do.

The best time I like to think of the phase ‘Good’ is when people say

“I would never do that workout, I would give up” Good

“I don’t know how you train on your own, I couldn’t do that” Good

“I am not sure I could be as disciplined as you” Good


Because then I know I’m doing something that other people, or not many other people will do and that will help me towards success.

I have had times when I have achieved my goals but I have also had times when I have ‘met challenges’. The biggest being not getting to the CrossFit Regionals in 2017. Something I had worked hard all year for and given up so much to achieve.

After this I had two choices, either let it set me back and give up training all together. Or I could use it to build me up, get my sh*t together, work hard and fight for it even harder this year!

I’ll let you guess which option I took

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Jan 18 – Reflecting on 2017


It has come to that time of year again when everyone starts kicking back and reminiscing of what they have achieved over the past year and what they would like to achieve in the coming year. I am no different to anyone else and I have taken time to think my year through. The key q’s I ask myself are:

Would I have changed anything?

In short, my answer is no…. I believe all the decisions I made this year were for the right reasons and I can honestly say I do not look back and regret any decision that I made. Life threw me curve balls and difficult situations that were hard to deal with but I took these as an opportunity to learn and grow as a person. It helped to build me into the person I am today.

I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. People come into your life and people leave. You’re offered opportunities and things for a reason. I don’t think regretting a decision you choose to make is necessarily possible, as you made it for a reason, and that reason was right for you at the time. You can always ask “well, what if?”, correct, but if you felt that that decision wasn’t right for you at the time then you wouldn’t have made it. So maybe it isn’t a “what if?” at all.

Did I achieve what I set out to achieve?

This year I decided to ‘have fun’. By this I mean I wanted to do the very best I could every day in my training, work and life and not take things too seriously or put too much pressure on myself. I believe I achieved this most days, I would like to say all but no one is perfect.  I was able to travel, visit some amazing places with amazing people, compete with some of my best friends and win competitions. Being able to do all of these things was a privilege and something I will treasure.

However, there was one ‘big’ goal I did not achieve this year. No one had told me I needed to but I believed I should and in my head, I always thought,

“Lucy, everyone expects you to qualify again because you have the last 2 years. Do not let them down”

something I now know simply wasn’t the case.

This goal was qualifying for The CrossFit Meridian Regionals.

Not making it to Regionals was one of the hardest things for me to deal with. I had worked so hard for the whole year, sacrificed so much and given up so much time to training and being relentless with my recovery and nutrition. Not to mention the amount of pressure I put on myself to go again. I can honestly say the pressure alongside the damn snatch workout was the reason I believe I did not qualify.

Putting pressure on yourself to achieve is a killer.

Accomplishing goals you set out to achieve is the best feeling ever but putting so much pressure on yourself to achieve something I can now see doesn’t work to your advantage in some cases. A great lesson to learn and one I can carry into other aspects of life this year.

superhuman games

Did I achieve more?

Did I achieve more?….. that’s a hard question and one that is very hard to answer, as I did not set out with any real expectations apart from Regionals.

I 100% achieved more in my career this year than I would ever have expected and have become a well-respected Performance Nutritionist at pH Nutrition.

In my personal and training life, I have met so many new people who have now become some of my closest friends and mean more to me than I would ever have imagined.

What was the biggest thing I learned?

I have always been someone who has appreciated life and realises how fortunate I am with the lifestyle I lead but this year the biggest thing I learned was to appreciate life, my family and my true friends even more than I ever have because life is very precious and short.

Sadly, this year I lost another of the most inspiring people in my life – my Grandma. Not only was she one of the strongest willed people I knew but she was so determined and stubborn when she wanted to achieve something – probably where I get it from. She was someone who achieved so much with her life and always taught us to follow our dreams and do whatever made us happy and figure the rest out as we went along.

Loosing another of my grandparents really made me realise how much we should just enjoy each day and never take anything or anyone for granted. Sometimes we will argue and fall out with people but grudges should never be held.

Final Thoughts

Unlike some, I am not a big fan of setting goals and new year’s resolutions because I don’t really believe in them. Most feel they need to set them because it is the done thing rather than setting a goal because they want to achieve it. So, I have not set any resolutions. I have just said to myself if I can maximise and enjoy everyday of my life this year then I will have achieved everything I set out to do and anything else is a bonus.

Life is so precious. So enjoy it and keep those close to you that treat you well and you enjoy being around. Everything in life happens for a reason and sometimes you just need to trust the process, enjoy the company of those around you and roll with things. Life is short. So live. Everything else will fall into place!

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