April 24, 2013
Mental Game is Key: Rob Forte
By Siobhan Kent

“My motivation is just to get better full stop. Lift more and go faster, and as long as I’m getting better, that’ll keep motivating me forever.”

Photos by: CrossFit Frankston

“At the Games in 2011, I came away feeling like I did as well as I could. But last year was different, I wasn’t in the best place mentally.”

Rob Forte topped the Australia Leaderboard in this year’s Open, finishing top five in four of the five events and cementing his dominance in the region.

Owner of CrossFit Frankston in Victoria, Australia, Forte has two prior Games appearances under his belt, in 2011 and 2012.

In 2011, he finished third at the Australia Regional, qualifying for the Games with Pat Barber and Chris Hogan, while last year, he finished second on the podium behind eventual ninth-place finisher at the Games, Chad Mackay.

When he’s not competing he’s a busy man, running his own box with just a handful of staff, and guiding more than 75 members through the Open, as well as himself.

“I had as many members as possible compete in the Open. It’s good to get them involved, because it’s really motivating for their training,” Forte says.

“I’m not keen on having just elite CrossFitters in my gym. In my box, everyone does the same thing and then the elite athletes can do extra on top. The most important thing is people enjoying their training.”

“In terms of my own performance, I was happy with all but one of the Open workouts. On the repeat of 12.4, I didn’t go in with the right strategy.”

Rather than tweaking any particular aspects of his conditioning in the lead up to Regionals, Forte will spend the next few weeks focusing on improving his mental game.

“Ahead of Regionals, of course I’m continuing to try to get better at everything, including gaining strength. But I’m more looking to the Games than Regionals,” Forte says.

“I wasn’t in the best place mentally last year. The year before was better. I came away feeling like I did as good as I could. But last year I started well, then went into some workouts with bad strategies that resulted in a few bad performances. That set me up for a bad attitude for the rest of it.”

Forte ended the 2012 Reebok CrossFit Games in 35thplace, five places lower than his 30th-place finish in 2011.

“At the Games, it’s mentally demanding. I’d say at least two to three times more demanding than Regionals. There’s lots of sitting around waiting and that messes with your head,” Forte says.

“So I’ve been reading a lot about the mental side of things and playing around with a few different things in my training. I’ve applied these mental tactics in a few different competitions lately with good results.”

Unlike other CrossFitters who may focus on strength in the offseason and conditioning ahead of competitions, Forte likes to maintain the same level of fitness all year round.

“I’ve always just done everything all year round. I don’t specialize or focus on one particular aspect of my game,” he says. “It means I can enter a competition at any time during the year and test myself regularly.”

Forte writes his own programming. At times, he changes up his schedule and he always keeps it enjoyable.

“The most important thing for me is keeping it fun. Whenever I try to change something, like having someone else do my programming or doing extra sessions, it starts to feel like a chore,” he says. “So I go back to the way it was before and then I’m happy again. I muck around with other guys in my box and that keeps it fun.”

Forte prefers to do one two- or three-hour session per day, five or six days a week.

“I’m driven by the day-to-day training because that’s what I live for. I do competitions as a test to see if what I’ve been doing all year has worked,” he says.

“My motivation is just to get better full stop. Lift more and go faster, and as long as I’m getting better, that’ll keep motivating me forever.”