Practice. Competition. Mental Toughness

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Practice. Competition. Mental Toughness

Practice, Competition and Mental Toughness. These words have come up consistently in the CFH program.

Lately, we have introduced a shift in the way we program at CFH, which is having a big impact on how we are coaching, and therefore training. For those of you currently training at CFH, you will have witnesses this first hand.

You may already have developed your own understanding about how these concepts play out during your workout, but for clarity’s sake, I’ll provide some insight on each below…


The best in the world practice their craft; elite athletes, high level business executives, HR managers. We understand this process and implement it elsewhere – in order to improve, I need to put in the work – yet so few of us apply this mindset to our workouts.

To practice requires deliberate focus and attention. This idea may be new to some who have traditionally trained to zone out rather than zone in. But starting to notice the nuance; to consider the habitual patterns; to pay attention to the finite details, this is the beginning of the practice.

Training provides you with endless opportunities to practice. Everything from foot position in an air squat, to breathing during a conditioning piece – the commitment to honing in on an aspect of your workout and making it your focus, is what creates sustainable progress.

We need to practice and we need to do so consistently. After all, there is always something to improve on.


Pressure testing skills in the context of competition is a necessary factor in establishing adaptation and it is for this reason that it is featured throughout the program.

Competition, allows what has been practiced throughout training to be put to the test; the result being a single score. Through this, an objective data point is established: How much weight was on the bar?… How many reps were completed?… What time was the workout finished?

These metrics are necessary in informing and incentivising the next block of training. They are used to assess the effectiveness of one’s practice – whether it exposes holes in one’s strategy or alternatively, highlights new found strengths.

So compete, but only sparingly. With others, but more importantly yourself.

Mental Toughness

Mental toughness has little to do with your score and more so with how you carry yourself through an effort.

These workouts are an opportunity to decide who you are and who you want to be; what traits you wish to embody, and how you respond when adversity hits. We are concerned with developing grit and character through hard and honest effort; two traits with obvious carry over.

While a physical practice for many occurs exclusively within the four walls of a gym, the implications extend well beyond. Through mental toughness, we are influencing far more than just the body; we’ve started to shift how we respond to adversity, and in the process, moulding and forging a totally new mindset.

The relationship between the brain and the body – with mental toughness we’ve only just begun to scrape the surface.

Summing up, we’ve only just implemented this system but the potential is huge, only to the point however, that you are willing to be open to it. This system puts some accountability on you; to come to training with intention, develop self-awareness, embody the growth mindset and to inquire and get curious about certain aspects of your movement.

Because this is what makes the culture at CFH exceptional.

Serge Houhlias
CFH Coach

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