|You can tell he's a beast, because his shirt says so.|
Mentality is everything in fitness. Your attitude towards whatever you are doing will bleed through into the result.
A saying I hear often is that the hardest thing to do when trying to achieve a goal is to start, but I disagree. I believe the hardest thing to do when trying to get from A to B is to keep fighting towards where you want to be when you wind up at C, or D, or Q. No fitness journey will be without its hiccups, and how you respond to those moments is what will define your results.
Road bumps on your path can come in many shapes or sizes: anywhere from a slip up on your diet to an injury that sidelines you for an extended period of time. A lot of people have this idea that the most successful athletes or fitness professionals don’t ever hit hard times. I have worked people who range from elite athletes, to everyday people stepping into the gym for the first day and I can tell you with 100% certainty that they hit about the same amount of low points as anyone else does. The difference between those who are successful and those who aren’t is how they handle those low points.
“Concentration and mental toughness are the margins of victory.” -Bill Russell
Just like with anything else, being mentally tough takes practice. Not everyone can start with the discipline and the mentality of an elite athlete. Here are some of the tips I’ve picked up along my journey that have helped me keep my head right:
- Prepare. Before you go to the gym, or even start your day, take a few minutes to get your head space right. Why are you doing what you’re doing? What goal are you trying to reach? Make sure you’re completely focused on your task or tasks.
- Push. Push yourself and test your limits. Getting out of your comfort zone can be a challenging thing to do, but once you’re there you’ll see how amazing it feels to break down your own mental barriers.
- Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Nothing worth having comes easily in fitness. That is why it’s such a great thing–because for everything you achieve, you that know you had to work to actualize it. Get comfortable with the idea that you’re going to hurt, you’re going to be tired, and you’re going to want to quit. As long as you can get past those feelings, you will succeed.
- You can always do something. This is probably the biggest one for me personally. Too tired to get to the gym? Stretch. Injured your leg and can’t do your leg workout? An extra upper body day never hurt anyone. Super hungry and out of calories for the day? Make an enormous salad and take those calories out of tomorrow, chances are you won't even notice. No matter how dim it seems, there is always something you can do to get your closer to your goal, even if it is only by an inch. Don't make excuses.
Your mentality defines who you are, and a strong mind is the catalyst of a strong body. Practice these four skills to break plateaus and demolish your goals.