Your Mind Always Quits First
Perseverance is what separates the champs from the everyman, perseverance is what will separate and elevate YOU. We have all experienced getting halfway through a workout and feeling like you can't give any more. Maybe your lungs are yelling at you, your arms are like jello and you’re convinced your legs are burning off. It’s whether we give in to that, or push through, that matters. Can you do it? Absolutely.
Do you think people get their first push up by quitting as soon as it hurts? Or do athletes get to where they are by giving up? Or runner's reach peak mileage by stopping? Definitely not. They persist and persevere, and you have the ability to do the same.
Our mind will always fail us before our body does, especially when it comes to working out. So how do you push through that moment and pump out one more rep or one round? Think MIND OVER MIND. Yes, you read that right, mind over mind. Control your outcome. We must override our brain, with our brain.
Everything stems from our brain... our brain literally controls everything in the human body. From our heartbeat to our nerve endings and to our personality, whether we are right handed or left handed, and to how much pain we withstand. During a workout, getting tired, feeling sore and fatigue, is the body’s defense mechanism to prevent it from continuing with anything that could be "harmful." In reality, your muscles haven’t reached their limit yet, and you can most likely manage one more. *now let's be clear, when I say sore and fatigue, I am talking about what's felt during exercise, muscle stress, NOT musculoskeletal pain from injury*
How to train your mind over mind? In order to get the most out of your workouts, you want to be able to push the body just outside your comfort zone (obviously without causing an injury). So if it’s your brain telling you to stop, but your body actually has a bit left, then pushing past that initial urge to quit and do one more, that is the key to achieving the best results and building mental toughness.
Here’s a few tips to help you persist during a tough workout, when your mind’s telling you to quit.
You have to want it. Remember WHY you’re doing this. Is it better to be a healthier and better version of yourself? A healthier parent to your kids? It won't always be easy, so you have to dig deep and remember that you, your life, and all that entails, is worth it. If you don’t want it, you won’t give it your all, and pushing past that mental barrier will be tough. So constantly remind yourself of why you are on your fitness journey and hold it close to you.
Get real with yourself and reset your mind to know that YOU CAN and YOU WILL. Continually remind yourself that your body is capable. You might have to modify, but that does not mean you are not capable. I love to say, we modify, we adjust, but we never give up. We keep persisting and persevering.
Be strategic from the get-go. Don't psych yourself out! Instead of starting your workout with a huge number or thinking "how am I going to do this all", break it down into less scary parts, break your work out into bits. Wink wink, that's why I LOVE how I set up my Commit workouts and challenges. Don't go into your workout looking at it as a ton to get done, but see it broken down into smaller parts that are easily attainable. Part A, part B, Part C.. and so forth. Breaking it down the way I do in my Commit Programs help you get through it, because you can physically see your workload decrease as you go, giving your brain instant reward.
Let training be positive. Focus on the positive aspects of hitting the gym and completing your workouts. Make it fun, celebrate your wins and take note of the post workout endorphins you feel, and pretty soon it will be easy to get up and do it again. Along the same lines, when you find a style of training you enjoy, you'll be more likely to stick with it long term, and consistency trumps all. When you enjoy training, you can turn that "I have to do this" into the "I want to do this" mindset.
Habit formation. Habits are formed through repetition and reward, so get yourself into an enjoyable training schedule and stick to it long enough that it feels weird not to get it done. If doing your workout at 7am every morning is a habit, requiring minimal brain effort, then you’re not going to have a chance to talk yourself out of it because you’ll just do it. I like to compare it to brushing our teeth, we don't always feel like it, but we know its goof for us so we are in the habit of doing it. Our workouts needs to be like that.
Don’t condition yourself to quit. Whether it’s sticking to a training schedule, or getting through those tough parts of a workout, perseverance is what will set YOU apart from the rest. It takes discipline, hard work and COMMITTMENT (yes that is a major reason why my programs are called what they are called!), but it’s going to get you where you want to be.
If every time you decide to stop because you don't feel like it or decide to choose "another day", you’re conditioning your brain to expect this behavior and it will become your default. So swallow some discipline, know your worth, know you can do it, know you can modify and adjust, but remain committed and get out there, team!