Strength is about more than just the weight you can carry, the number of reps you can do, or your current PR for the bench press. It's also about mental fortitude. When it comes down to it, your drive to persevere, to do one more rep or run one more mile, is fueled by your mental resolve as much as by any of your body's biological energy systems.
Want to know how to fire up your workout with a positive mindset? Start by following these guidelines!
1 Prepare And You'll Prevail
How did you prep for your last training session? If you found yourself rolling into the gym late, skipping the warm-up, and leaving your workout partner hanging, it's time to rethink your game plan. Consider pre-workout prep mandatory!
If you're like me, foam rolling tonight is a way to ease your legs into a quad-heavy workout tomorrow. Great! But the pre-workout prep I'm talking about here isn't a question of stretching and tissue work. It's about being mentally and physically ready for what's coming when you step foot into the gym.
I think about big deadlift or squat days for weeks in advance. I know what PR I'm shooting for and exactly what weight I'm using for each set working up to it. Long before the actual day comes, I've already envisioned myself completing the lift.
myself completing the lift.
2 Conjure Bad Memories To Fuel Bad-Ass Lifts
Lifting light seldom yields alpha results. Intensity is everything. Think about how you approach every set. Are you attacking the weight, focused and unrelenting, or are you simply pausing between conversations with a gym cutie? You should be on a mission when you step into the gym and be fiercely driven to accomplish that mission at all costs.
When you approach a set, challenge yourself and go to work! Fuel your drive by going to your unhappy place. When approaching a big lift, I revisit memories that make me angry and things that dig at me to the core. We all have these things; let yours drive you to new PRs.
3 Stay In Control
Being intense doesn't mean you have to be a snarling, cussing, spiting, weight-banging jerk. You can be intense and still control your emotions. Focus on what you need to do to complete a lift, control your breathing, manage your fears, and pace yourself. Often competitors in strongman will try to move too quickly and make costly mistakes. Raise your intensity, but keep it in check!
4 Embrace The "One More" Philosophy
The world is full of amazing and gifted athletes. But, let's face it, we can't all be them. Still, we're in control of our own work ethic. I've always had to work hard to get in shape, and I suggest you do the same. I might not have had the natural gifts that some of the others guys I competed against did, but I always knew that I could out-work them. I do it one more rep, one more set, and one more pound at a time.
5See It To Believe It
Envision achieving your goal: hitting most muscular in the overall pose down, driving that PR bench off your chest to a full lockout, or seeing that number you've long desired on the scale. Books by the score have been written about the power of visualizing what you want. It's a powerful tool in your gym bag that most athletes don't use.
Next time you're about to throw yourself into a big event, stop for a moment of peace. Visualize everything that's going to happen, down to the smallest detail. See it, and then be it.
6 Push Past Your Comfort Zone
If you're following a particular program or diet, don't abandon it after having a rough day or workout. One bad day doesn't mean your system isn't working. Stick to it and give it some time before you ditch it and move on.
Achieving your goal—whatever it may be—is hard and uncomfortable. Embrace it. Too many of us hit small roadblocks and decide to give up. Adapt to adversity, lower your shoulder, and push on. Once you've defined your goal and laid out a plan, drive relentlessly until you reach it.