News

WALK THE WALK

Throughout history we have revered and idolized the person who can step up and do amazing things. From Joan of Ark to Rudy; the 5 foot tall football player who just wouldn’t quit against all odds. This trend of idolizing people with amazing willpower has got to stop. The reason we put people on a pedestal is because we are too scared to push ourselves that far, and if people who do push themselves that far are considered elite or idolized then we don’t have to feel bad about not going the extra distance in our own lives.

The older I get, the more I learn that this concept of giving the extra effort not only pertains to the gym and my health but my career, my family, interpersonal relationships, and almost everything in my day to day life. Being present in a conversation with a waiter to a waiter might get you better service. If you make an effort to keep cool at the auto shop then you might get your car back sooner. If you resist getting into an argument with your spouse or child then I can guarantee you that your life will be much easier (I know how hard that can be at times and trust me I am still trying to master that one myself). Finally, making that extra effort in the grocery store and in the gym will speed your quest to better health no matter what fitness level you are at. When you feel healthy and confident the rest of your life seems to fall into place and it makes it easy to go the extra mile in the rest of your activities.

Now we discuss how to accomplish the SEEMINGLY impossible. How can I get 2 more reps when I feel dead tired? How do I perform 1 more round of a circuit when I can’t breathe? Is there no end to push-ups? I have been there myself, along with all of you when you get to that point where you just feel like quitting and that it isn’t worth it. I have been weightlifting and had a goal rep count of 6 and wanted to quit at 4. All kinds of justifications run through your head. ‘Well, I increased the weight from last month so I guess I can skip the these 2 reps,’ ‘I was feeling a little off today so it is understandable that I should skip the last round of my circuit.’ The reality is that these justifications are UNACCEPTABLE!

To overcome these nagging mental setbacks you need to trick your brain. The brain is a complex muscle and the term “mind over matter” is no joke. There are 3 techniques I have found to be very effective:

  1. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT: The first thing you need to learn is not to act tired after your set. Wether you are doing a circuit, or heavy weight set; when you get a rest stay standing and try to act like you are not tired. If you constantly act tired then you will always be tired after these sets. If you adjust and pretend like you are not tired and you can go more (and will go more) then your brain will believe that. Remember that you want your body to quit, not your brain. Don’t let psychosomatic interventions prevent you from attaining your goals.
    BELIEVE, DON’T PERCEIVE: Don’t go into a workout with preconceived notions about what you are capable of. For instance, I have worked with clients who have gone wide-eyed at the sight of the barbell. They had a preconceived notion about the bar and a perception of themselves. When they combine those two factors they scare themselves from even wanting to try. Leave all foolish self perceptions at the door and go into a workout knowing you will accomplish your goals. Of course, you need to set attainable goals and be safe when assigning new weight. You can’t jump up 50lbs on your squat after a week of training and expect to be ok but if you go into a workout with an attainable goal then act as though you have already accomplished it and you will.
    CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON! Before you go into a hard workout, choose a mental weapon you will use to slay all deflating thoughts. Every workout I do, I have something I hold in my mind to help me get through a tough spot. I might be competing against a friend and I know he/she is training hard so I think about them and it gets my adrenaline going so I can pound out that last rep. One of my favorites is that I visualize a lift or a move I can’t do yet. It pisses me off so I push harder and harder so failure is not an option. For those of you on weight loss programs, a picture of yourself at your worst might be powerful or a picture of someone super fit to get you motivated to get to their level. I like mine because anger is a powerful motivator for myself but everyone is different. Someone might be training because they have type 2 diabetes and in that case a picture of their family could be just as powerful. Look inside yourself and choose your arsenal wisely!
    Don’t forget that these tactics can be used in the grocery store as well. Pick a motivator to use in the parking lot, or before you leave home so when you are in the store and wanting cake you can pull out your weapon and defeat the urge. These methods can also be used in emotional situations. If I am in a situation where I am severely angry, I try to pick a loving thought or motivator like my wife to help me keep my cool. The mind is a powerful tool, now that you know how to harness it don’t ever let it defeat you in a workout, in the grocery store, or in your everyday life!: The first thing you need to learn is not to act tired after your set. Wether you are doing a circuit, or heavy weight set; when you get a rest stay standing and try to act like you are not tired. If you constantly act tired then you will always be tired after these sets. If you adjust and pretend like you are not tired and you can go more (and will go more) then your brain will believe that. Remember that you want your body to quit, not your brain. Don’t let psychosomatic interventions prevent you from attaining your goals.
  2. BELIEVE, DON’T PERCEIVE: Don’t go into a workout with preconceived notions about what you are capable of. For instance, I have worked with clients who have gone wide-eyed at the sight of the barbell. They had a preconceived notion about the bar and a perception of themselves. When they combine those two factors they scare themselves from even wanting to try. Leave all foolish self perceptions at the door and go into a workout knowing you will accomplish your goals. Of course, you need to set attainable goals and be safe when assigning new weight. You can’t jump up 50lbs on your squat after a week of training and expect to be ok but if you go into a workout with an attainable goal then act as though you have already accomplished it and you will.
  3. CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON! Before you go into a hard workout, choose a mental weapon you will use to slay all deflating thoughts. Every workout I do, I have something I hold in my mind to help me get through a tough spot. I might be competing against a friend and I know he/she is training hard so I think about them and it gets my adrenaline going so I can pound out that last rep. One of my favorites is that I visualize a lift or a move I can’t do yet. It pisses me off so I push harder and harder so failure is not an option. For those of you on weight loss programs, a picture of yourself at your worst might be powerful or a picture of someone super fit to get you motivated to get to their level. I like mine because anger is a powerful motivator for myself but everyone is different. Someone might be training because they have type 2 diabetes and in that case a picture of their family could be just as powerful. Look inside yourself and choose your arsenal wisely!

Don’t forget that these tactics can be used in the grocery store as well. Pick a motivator to use in the parking lot, or before you leave home so when you are in the store and wanting cake you can pull out your weapon and defeat the urge. These methods can also be used in emotional situations. If I am in a situation where I am severely angry, I try to pick a loving thought or motivator like my wife to help me keep my cool. The mind is a powerful tool, now that you know how to harness it don’t ever let it defeat you in a workout, in the grocery store, or in your everyday life!