I was working with this client in a personal training session, and I knew the weights she was lifting were not challenging her. Every time I mentioned trying to increase the weight of those dumbbells, she would look at me with an angry face and say “no, I can’t do that, it’s way too much!” One day we used barbell instead, and she couldn’t tell the weight of the bar. She asked me how much weight was on the bar before trying it. And I said, “It doesn’t matter how much is on it, just pick it up.”
This time she tried and did lots of reps before fatiguing. I told her it was just double what she normally did and congratulated her. She thanked me and said, “Yeah it was awesome. It’s all up here, you know?” She said as she pointed to her head.
She’s right—mindset is everything. Of course, you need to condition your body to be able to lift a certain weight, but just like you train your body, you need to train your mind. You need to tell yourself you can do it.
We’ve all been there. Sometimes we can walk into our workout pumped up, ready to go, and feeling awesome. Other days we’re just not feeling it and a standard workout feels harder than usual. It’s normal, but the more we can teach ourselves to get in the right mindset, the better we’ll be.
So how do you get there? How do you get yourself to a state-of-mind where you feel anything is possible? Here’s a few tips about how to improve your mindset:
- Know there’s always more: People have been continually breaking athletic records for years. We consistently seem to outdo ourselves. Know that no matter what you’ve reached, you can still achieve more.
- Leave it at the door: Does a bad attitude follow you into the gym? If you’ve had a bad day and your mood distracts you from achieving your goals, you need to work on focusing solely on your workout. Remember that what you’re doing is the most important thing at that time. The gym is going to improve your mood, so try and clear your mind and let the magic happen.
- Bring it in with you: If you’re the type of person who gets motivated by anger or frustration, use it! Fuel yourself before a new set—whether you’re mad about work or your ex, use it to your advantage and turn a negative into a positive:
- Stay motivated: Whether it’s a high-intensity playlist or working out with a group of positive, encouraging friends, add whatever makes you feel best to your workout. I know that I can give it a little extra push when an awesome song comes over the speakers or when my trainer is in my face screaming ONE MORE!
- Hold yourself accountable: Get on schedule. Whether it’s getting to the gym at a certain time each day or sticking to your diet, follow your goals. Sometimes simply stepping in the door or saying no to dessert after dinner is enough motivation to think, hey, I accomplished this goal. Why can’t I accomplish another?
Everyone is different, and everyone is motivated by different things. And sometimes a single strategy doesn’t always work. Try out different things and see what works for you. Ask your friends. Ask your teammates. We’ve all broken through mental barriers, and you know how awesome it feels.