Whether you’re a competitive bodybuilder, a marathon runner, a gym rat or you’re cross training, sometimes the workload might feel a bit overwhelming. The demands of your daily workouts can take a toll on you and this can lead you to hating the sport you enjoy so much. This is exactly the reason why you need to come up with mental strategies and develop the mental toughness needed to get you through the harder parts of what being an athlete means.
Whenever you’re training, you need to have the mental ability to remain focused and in control regardless the circumstances. But can we train our brains to focus and overcome our mental deficiencies as we do with our bodies?
What is mental toughness?
Mental toughness or strength is the ability to regulate your emotions, manage your thoughts and, despite the hard circumstances, behave in a positive manner. It’s about finding the inner strength and courage to live according to your values and creating your own definition of success.
Mental toughness involves more than just willpower, requiring hard work and commitment. There are steps you can take and exercises to help you develop skills that increase your mental strength. Here are a few mental hacks for achieving a strong physical and mental performance.
Begin your workout with the right mindset.
Set your mind into goal-mode and remember that you exercise to feel good and not to torture yourself. If you start your workout routine with a negative attitude towards exercising, you will not be able to finish your workout. Remind yourself that exercise can be fun and awesome.
Take a deep breath
It will help calm the mind and relax the body. Whenever you take shallow breaths, you increase muscle tension and decrease your performance.
Focus on the steps to victory and not victory itself
When you’re in a competition, trust your training and stop thinking about what other are doing or how ahead of you they are. The competitors don’t exist. The scoreboard doesn’t exist. It’s only you and the things you need to get done. Don’t think about losing, but focus on staying on target.
Change your weakness into strength
Stop training just one or two body parts – this will make your physique unbalanced. In order to be a good bodybuilder, weightlifter, healthy person, you must be well-rounded. This means you have to do movements you’re not good at or you don’t really like. This way, your weakness can turn into your strength. It takes a lot of perseverance and got giving up, but you can do it.
Don’t fear failure
With strength workouts, the progressive overload can be a bit scary. There is that fear that your body won’t be able to adapt and get bigger and stronger. Big weights can push you beyond your comfort zone and make you feel weak, but lift fails are a part of a positive progression. As for the gym goers or those who cross train – don’t be scared to try new things. You’ll probably fail the first time, but you’ll never know if you don’t try. And even if you do, you have to start somewhere, so go for it.
The limitations seem to get smaller and smaller when you have a perspective. As you slowly build up your resistance, you’ll begin to see an increase in your ability to stay focused throughout the course of training. Training is as much about developing your mental toughness as it is developing a well-rounded physique.