Excitement vs. Nervousness: Same Stimuli, Different Reaction

We’ve all experienced moments in our life when we felt nervous. Like myself every time I had to get up in front of my class in school and give a speech. My heart rate would sky rocket, I would picture myself losing my train of thought, and I would start to sweat… a lot. I’m sure many of you can empathize because this is a natural reaction we all have when faced with something challenging or outside of our comfort zones. However, when I was playing a sport I never seemed to feel nervous. Undoubtedly my heart rate would spike and my hands would get sweaty but I always interpreted that as EXCITEMENT.

I never really thought about this distinction until I saw a short video of Simon Sinek, author and high performance coach, talking about this very phenomenon. He states that elite Olympic athletes are asked the question of if they are nervous by reporters all the time but they seemingly always respond with the words, “No, I’m excited”. Now I’m sure they all feel the same physical traits I described above before they have to compete but for some reason they are able to interpret those signs as EXCITEMENT and not NERVOUSNESS.

Confidence in one’s ability definitely plays a role here but they are also competing for a once in a lifetime opportunity which begs the question, how could they not be nervous. Well, let me introduce to you the skill of reframing. Reframing is when you take a stimulus and mentally change what it means to you and how you will interpret it… and yes this is a skill. You see, these athletes are able to take these physical signs that for a lot of us would signal to our brain that we are nervous and reframe them as excitement. It is a simple trick that seems easy in concept but trust me it is much more difficult in practice.

When I started coaching at DEUCE, I would get nervous every time I had to get up in front of a class. I almost dreaded it, if I’m being honest. But eventually I started to tell myself how lucky I was to be in this position and how exciting it was to attempt something so far outside of my comfort zone. It completely changed my outlook on coaching and public speaking in general for that matter, and it all came from how I viewed the situation mentally.

There will always be things in our life when our bodies will send signals to the brain telling us to be nervous or scared. But we have the power and ability, with some practice, to interpret those signals in a different way that will in turn allow us to perform at our highest level. The more we practice this reframing, the better we will perform in all areas of life.

So, next time those hands get clammy and you can feel your heart beating out of your chest, just remember how exciting this opportunity is for you to perform and show people what you’re made of!

3/2/22 WOD


Stability Bench Press

Complete 3 rounds for quality of:

12 Foot Elevated Inverted Row
12 DB JM Press

Then, complete the following for time:

DB Thrusters(50/35)
Lateral Plyo Boxes


Depth Jump to Broad Jump

2″ Deficit Deadlift


Min 1: 8 Front Squats (115/75)
Min 2: 12 Toes-to-Bar
Min 3: :45 Max Cal Row
Min 4: Rest 

Then, complete the following in as few sets as possible:
100 Banded Hamstring Curls