We know that where the mind goes, the body has no choice but to follow. Physical results only follow mental training. When you get your mindset locked down, you’re well on your way to success. If you want to know how to workout when you really don’t want to, or how to override the desire to quite just a few reps from the end then these tips are for you.
Rocky Balboa has a great quote that describes ‘mind over matter’: “It’s not about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.”
And it doesn’t just work for training. If Tough Mudder is looming large in your mind, then get it booked and start working towards conquering your fear and smashing out of your comfort zone.
Does ‘Mind Over Matter’ Really Work?
The human brain is amazing. It can help you to overcome some of the biggest challenges life might throw at you. The ability to workout when it’s the last thing you want to do is a simple question of how bad you want it. We’ve all been there. No matter your fitness level, success in health and fitness is 90% between the ears.
Think back to one of your toughest workouts, a particularly strenuous event, or maybe that one heavy lift you never thought you’d get to move. Before you start these, you have your goal in mind, you’re fresh and ready you think you’ve got it.
Here is the problem: your body’s natural ability to summon that explosiveness won’t last you long. So you hang on for a bit, but all of a sudden the wheels fall off. Your breath starts to labour and your pace starts to slow. You begin to assess the situation and realise that at best you’re about 1/4 of the way through. “I’m not gonna make it,” “I can’t do it,” “I want to quit,” The negative self talk arises and so comes “The Moment.” The moment where you either:
- Give in to the liar in your head that feeds you self limiting nonsense, and you accept less than your best.
- You find that extra power that’s inside you and achieve what mere seconds ago seemed impossible.
This is an average example where “mind over matter” is extremely important in mental and emotional fitness. Many athletes attribute developing this skill to their accomplishments and goals and sometimes consider it more important than physical fitness. If you don’t focus on mental preparedness, your body will give out before your mind will. However, if you are mentally fit, then you will be able to push past limits you never thought possible.
Think this sounds great, but not sure where to start? We got you. Practise the two ideas below and see where your mind can take you.
How to Compartmentalise
…Stop overthinking everything.
You have to trust the process. Have a plan and execute it. This translates to more than sports, this is a life lesson. You need to stop giving undue attention to things that don’t deserve it, or require it and you can do this through compartmentalising.
So you’re thinking negatively about a workout or a goal? Allow yourself to acknowledge the thought and the feelings that come with it and then force yourself to think about something else. It’s likely that the thought will resurface but again, acknowledge it with kindness and shift your focus to something else.
If you spend the hours before your workout obsessing over how much it will suck, or whether or not you can do it, guess what? You probably won’t do it. Shift your thinking to positive thoughts, or hell, think about something totally different and see how much easier it is to get up and get moving.
How to Build Mental Fitness
When you do make it to the gym design a portion of your training sessions specifically to build your mental fitness. Try this example on for size:
As Many Rounds As Possible for 60 Minutes:
100 Dumbbell Step Ups with 10-20 lbs.
10 Sandbag Getups
Put yourself in a very uncomfortable state that forces you to focus and face key problems mentally that you must overcome. At what point did you need a break? When did you want to quit? When did you feel your best after bouncing back? The movements by themselves are not difficult, but when you pair them together with repetition over time, the perceived effort load is magnified.
It will give you a moment to be honest with yourself on where you need to develop mentally, while in the middle of the process.