Using more interesting examples and perspectives, in this article we’re going to talk about the states of mind you can tap into to get through any grueling workout. Ideally, by the time you’re done reading, you’ll have a more equipped mental arsenal to get in that extra 10% of effort that brings the real gains.
Like a Wolf Backed into a Corner
You can resist fear or pain and tap into the flight mechanism all you want, but what happens when you’re backed into a corner? The source of true power is a mixture of adrenaline and endorphins. It’s the stuff that will literally get you through nearly any workout or set. For most of us the trick is tapping into it.
Typically folks workout around others or in a public place where it’s not really proper to “let out the animal” and really dig deep. We’re placed in safe secure environments, so it’s up to us to mentally generate the drive, the passion, the desire and the dedication it takes to muster up a pinch of adrenaline. You’ve got to trick yourself into feeling like it’s now or never, because it very well could be.
The Supremely Focused Mind
How many things distract you during your workouts? Music? Other people? The sound of weights clanking or cardio machines humming around you? Anxiety? Day dreaming? Zoning out on work stuff?
Listen, the more focused you are on what you’re doing the more effective it’s going to be. Furthermore, if there’s all these distractions registering in your mind then you’re probably not working out hard enough anyway, right? Once that dumbbell set gets really hard, your mind is engaged. Once those lunges begin to make your thighs and glutes burn you mind is keyed in.
Try This: the next time you work out focus on nothing else but what you’re doing. Your muscles. Your breath. The tension passing through your joints. The range of motion your muscles are going through and how the rest of your body responds. NOT your internal monologue or what’s happening around you.
You’ll begin to realize that at least 40% of the time, when you don’t work out hard enough, it’s because your mind is scattered. Focus it.
A New Perspective of Pain
Have you ever mentally stepped back and looked at the sensations that cardio/muscular training cause? Imagine a man doing a set of traditional barbell squats with a moderately heavy load. At first, it’s not so bad. His face isn’t contorted. By the 10th or 12threp it looks like he’s going through the worst pain of his life (man-birth). But is it actually pain?
No. Nothing bad is happening. Assuming he has perfect form, there’s absolutely nothing wrong going on. Squats are incredibly beneficial in strengthening the body from trunk to top. The reason our muscles force us to stop is because they can only contain so much cellular energy at one time. They literally run out of juice and that process creates what we experience as pain, or discomfort or a burning sensation in the specific muscle fibers. However, very few people actually work out a muscle or muscle group to failure. The vast majority of Lone Ranger gym-rat quit sets at least 3 to 5 reps before they really need to.
Next time you feel like stopping, do two more sets but make it a point to really LOOK AT and PERCEIVE the tension happening in your muscle. The sooner you begin to really like, yes really like it instead of avoid it, you’ll see big gains in strength and endurance as your body adapts at a heightened speed.
Conclusion: Put’Em Together
With your new perspective on working through tension you tackle your regimen like you’re being backed into the corner of life…with adrenaline and a focused mind as your allies. That right there is a recipe for above average to supreme results!