If we were to believe popular media, the two most important elements to get stronger, fitter and healthier are exercise and nutrition. Work out hard and eat the right food, and you’re there.
So you do your workouts, eat lean protein and lots of veggies, moderate your alcohol intake, and still don’t feel like you’re really improving.
There are tons of reasons why you could not be hitting your goals. A lack of sleep, stressful work or home environment, overtraining…
Those are all valid reasons, but what if I say there’s a third crucial element to building a strong body? Turns out it’s not just all about exercise and nutrition.
As with most things in life, mindset is EVERYTHING.
Let’s be honest here for a second, shall we? Working out is HARD. Getting stronger, fitter and healthier isn’t easy. It requires commitment, dedication and persistence. It asks for a willingness to push yourself beyond your limits.
If someone ever tells you otherwise, they’re lying. There is no shortcut to a strong, fit and healthy bod. You need to do the heavy lifting (pardon the pun).
Building a strong body starts with a strong mind.
So let’s get building. Here are three ways to build your mental strength:
Tell yourself you CAN
Because… you absolutely, 100% can do anything if you set your mind to it. Our minds are so incredibly powerful. When we believe in ourselves and in our abilities, we can tap into a hidden strength. It can make us do things we didn’t think possible.
Believing in yourself is the holy grail of mental strength. It’s where it all starts. If you don’t believe in yourself and tell yourself that you can’t do this (whatever ‘this’ may be), you might as well pack your bags and go home.
Just to be clear though: telling yourself you can isn’t the same as telling yourself you’ll smash it out of the park. The former is about the effort, the latter about the outcome. You always want to focus on the effort. Why? Well, while there’s no doubt that your efforts impact the outcome, but the outcome is ultimately influenced by a lot of others things too, some of which you very likely have zero control over.
Telling yourself you can means that you know you can do this, that you have what it takes to put in the effort required. Even though your heart’s pounding in your chest, you know you can deliver that next punch or jab. You know you can put in the work.
Silently repeating a positive mantra might help. That can be anything. A few examples:
‘I am strong, I can do this’
‘I am an athlete’ (you obviously don’t actually have to be an athlete)
‘Yes, I can’
‘I am so much stronger than I think I am’
‘I am getting stronger and fitter’
Aim to explore your boundaries and feel uncomfortable
No one gets fit by staying in their comfort zone. If you want to get stronger, fitter and healthier, it’s supposed to feel tough and challenging. It’s that simple. Know that when the going gets tough, you are doing good, so don’t give up just because it’s hard.
So during your next training session, aim to feel uncomfortable. Know that when the going gets tough, you are doing good, so don’t give up just because it’s hard. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Aim to push yourself and explore your boundaries. I use the word ‘explore’ here intentionally as it’s important to listen to what your body is telling you. There’s a difference between pushing yourself to keep on going when your mind is telling you to stop and pushing yourself to keep on going when your knee is killing you. Don’t be stubborn and injure yourself.
Focus on the present
Imagine the following: you’re in the middle of a 60 minute workout and you are already exhausted. You look at the clock and see you still have 35 minutes to go. Next thing you know, the instructor tells you to do 2 minutes of burpees as fast as you can.
What goes through your mind?
If you’re like most people, I’m guessing that whatever you’re thinking is not helping you to boost your performance and get through your workout.
Most of us tend to struggle and give up if we allow our minds to think about how hard we’ve already worked and how much longer we need to go for. Our mind is not our best friend here.
Making it your best friend again is fortunately quite simple: focus on the present. Focus on the one move you need to do this second. And then this second. Then this one. And so on. You get the idea.
If you stay present with what you’re doing and focus all our energy on that, your mind won’t have a chance to get in between and tell you to quit.
Give these a go during your next workout and let us know how you got on! If you want to work more on building a stronger mindset you should check out our 4 week Champion Me program, which will help you do exactly that! To give it a go sign up for a FREE TRIAL today.
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