3 Ways to Boost Mental Toughness for Fitness
Staying tough requires a willingness to stick to your WHY for fitness. it will definitely get tough, but it will also get better. Building muscle requires that you break it down first. Rest and recovery are what build it up.
I used to wonder why I would have amazing practices from day to day, and then my mind would lock up sometimes on competition day. I had my steps down. I'd run down the runway so many times. I knew the rhythm (after all, a long jumper needs speed, technique, and rhythm). I learned much later that I was doing the work to get my body right by practicing every day, but I wasn't doing the mental work to prepare me for competition, when my adrenaline would be high, where competitors would be there and be mentally and physically ready.
I could kick myself sometimes, knowing that most things we do in life require us to be mentally prepared, yet I wasn't doing the work that I needed to in order to be 100% ready for competition. Still a great athlete, but I was so close to being an extraordinary athlete.
I don't dwell on it because I can't go back and change the past, and I will use what I do know to motivate and push myself in the present. And that's what I want to do for you. I want to make sure that you know that mental toughness is a REQUIREMENT for you to succeed in your fitness journey.
Some things you can do to stay mentally tough are:
- Once you start to feel fatigued, do three more repetitions or hold your static position for 5 more seconds. This is a fundamental lesson in mental toughness. Do you ever get to the last set of an exercise, and when you're the most tired, you just wing those last couple of reps so you can say that you finished the exercise? Well, this is where you need to learn to push yourself to the max. Your body will give out WAAAAAY before your mind. So push yourself. Feel that burn, and finish those sets with finesse. Your body will thank you, I promise.
- Use your WHY to overpower your distractions. If your WHY isn't enough to get you out of the bed, off the couch, or get you to your workout area, then it's not big enough. This is another fundamental rule of mental toughness. You need a WHY. In fitness, in your career, in your life. What makes you tick? What pushes you to be and do your absolute best, so that you can reap the benefits in the future? Is it so you can be around for your children or other loved ones? Is it because you have a legacy you want to leave? A job you want to complete? Is it a life or death situation? Whatever it is, it should be more important than you flipping channels or looking for that next Netflix Original movie to binge watch. Fitness requires a mental toughness and willingness to stick to your WHY.
- Focusing on your progress will push you farther than focusing on the result. Have you ever heard the phrase "Enjoy the journey."? It couldn't be more true in this case. When you're constantly obsessing over what you're going to look like after this fitness journey is over, you make yourself miserable in between because you're focused on something that hasn't even happened yet. Instead, try focusing on being in the moment. When you experience each moment, you get to learn more and more about yourself. Your roadblocks, what pushes you. You figure out just how far you can go when you enjoy the journey that you're on. And newsflash, when you're enjoying the journey, you tend to reach your ultimate goals much faster, because you're living in the now.
Letting go of perfection and comparison is really the name of this game. It simply doesn't exist. Fitness isn't a one way destination. And tons of people take various route to achieve success. It's a lifestyle change and journey that you incorporate into your life for the rest of your life, so that you reap the benefits of a healthy mind and body. You have to want it badly enough for yourself so that you can kick those bad habits of starting and stopping for good. Push yourself, remember your WHY, and focus on the progress, not the result if you want a more fulfilled fitness journey.