In the middle of a high intensity workout, or a heavy lifting session or a bootcamp or circuits class, when your shirt is soaked through with sweat and you’re about to start yet another round of burpees or going for a PB deadlift, it’s not uncommon to think, “I can’t do this. I can’t even do one more rep.”
But what’s sending that message? Is it your body or is it your brain? Are your muscles really getting tired, or is it just your mental strength that’s failing you?
While it’s always important to listen to your body and never push yourself to the point of injury, sometimes your brain can prevent your body from doing all it can.
When it comes to pushing yourself a little harder — whether that’s competing in an IronMan or trying to hold a plank just a few seconds longer — mental toughness plays a massive role in what you can accomplish. Luckily, anyone can develop mental strength. Just like training for a race or learning to do pull-ups, it’s something that takes time to master. The more you practice it, the more benefits you’ll see.
When it comes to fitness, being mentally strong and having grit and determination means you can smash your training and workouts, even when you want to give up.
In order to succeed, you have to become an expert at not only enduring physical nastiness but overcoming it too.
Here are a few ways to improve your mental strength during a hardcore workout!
Talk to yourself!
OK, maybe not aloud or in public, you may get some strange looks!! But thinking to yourself, “I can do this!” or “You’ve got this” can make a workout seem less strenuous.
Line up that playlist!
Losing yourself in your favourite track when you feel like giving up, can give you that extra added boost to get a few more reps in. When I am working out, I need my music loud in my headphones to block everything out and to get in the zone! Yes, I am also known for singing along to my music whilst working out and badly may I add! But for me, it works, I block everything out to stop getting distracted, If I get distracted it’s too easy to give up and walk away!
During a workout, it’s easy to think about how your muscles are hurting or the amount of sweat dripping off your nose or into your eyes, but instead of thinking of the negatives turn it around and think of how chuffed you will feel when you complete that work out, or that extra rep you just smashed out and think how lucky you are to have to mental strength to have just completed that!! It is an awesome feeling!
This might be the easiest tip yet, however, putting on a smile whilst you are grunting or gritting your teeth, rep after rep, is usually the last thing you want to do, but it really does give you a little boost both mentally and physically, even if it’s forced!
Go on try it next time, you will be surprised!
Embrace the pain!
When all else fails, sometimes you simply have to accept that enduring a bit of pain (in the form of deep, muscle-burning agony, not an agonising injury) is part of becoming stronger, faster, and fitter! Embrace it and shout “feel the burn!” (again in your head or you may get some odd looks!!)
Some people need someone to workout with them to ensure they are pushing themselves more than they otherwise would. If this is you, then contact a member of Team SF today and have a chat about our personal training options.