There is a fine line between frustration that defeats you and frustration that you can use as a motivating force in your CrossFit workouts. As a trainer at CrossFit Critical Mass (Columbia, MD) I’ve seen that frustration is going to be a huge part of any athlete’s career, especially CrossFit athletes. CrossFit training continuously tests limits, both physically and mentally. The biggest difference between giving up in the face of hard CrossFit exercises and breaking through your mental barriers is by harnessing your frustrations. We all began our lifetime commitments to fitness because CrossFit training brings us joy and a sense of accomplishment, but we must not let our emotions and shortcomings get in the way of our ultimate success!



There are two definitions for the word frustration. The first is “[a] feeling of anger or annoyance caused by being unable to do something.” This kind of frustration is a natural response to the body’s inability to perform. Even after doing CrossFit for quite a while, there will still be movements that your body cannot perform, or cannot perform as well as you would like. These are your weaknesses and we call them “goats.” Every time these movements pop up in a workout, you should be in the gym, ready to soldier on and break through your barriers.  Don’t cherry pick your CrossFit workouts! Instead, be a GOAT KILLER!! Now is not the time to make other plans, quiver and hide, or ultimately cheat yourself. A good athlete knows their weaknesses, a great athlete conquers them.


The second definition for frustration is “the act of preventing the success of something.” This, of course, has a negative effect on your CrossFit workouts. Frustration should be used to motivate, never to hold you back. Success is rarely achieved by people paralyzed in their own anger. So you failed your lift for the fifth time today… move on and tackle it tomorrow. Staring at the barbell, rig, or wall ball in tears is never going to make it easier.  Taking note of your weaknesses and using your setbacks as motivation will make a world of difference. Don’t let your frustration hold you back…period.


Anger, screaming, and grunting are all a normal and exciting parts of CrossFit. That being said, even those can go too too far. The grunt of frustration can help you drive the last rep or it can make you crumble underneath it. Use your coaches to motivate you, guide you, and set you up for success. Find that psychological threshold, and reprogram it. Frustration can help to reveal your weaknesses, allowing the motivation to begin. Remember, we willingly signed up for intense and challenging CrossFit training because it brings us joy and helps us achieve our goals. Saddle up, reign in your negative thoughts, and harness your darkest frustrations to fuel your drive to reach success in the end. You won’t be disappointed!