Thanks for sticking around for Part 3 of the Long Term survival of the Most Mentally Fit! In my first blog post we completed a mental score card to identify mentally weaker traits.
In my second post we discussed ways to improve some of those mental traits, including goal setting, visual mental imagery, confidence, and self-talk to help you channel that champion mindset to help you ATTACK those fitness goals.
Now let’s enhance our mental focus, fitness enjoyment, and body language…but a quick note before we do:
You probably are either an avid sports fan, or may flip through the TV or read an article on a stellar athletic performance by a professional athlete. And many times, we might be thinking, “How do they do it time after time? How do I get to their caliber in terms of physical ability and mental toughness?” The first answer to that is one sentence…
Don’t envy the champion. BE the Champion!
And that’s exactly what you are doing by completing the mental scorecard and identifying your weaker areas to improve upon. So let’s get to it!
This is one of the VERY KEY elements to accomplish your fitness goals. With so much going on in our lives, we tend to lack focus from a high level and in our actual workout sessions. Here are some helpful tips below:
When you are working out, turn off all distractions such as:
- Your electronics (cell phone, computer, etc.)
- Avoid excessive social conversation in public settings
- Write out your workout in advance so you know exactly what needs to be done
- Really focus on how your body feels going through each and every exercise. Do you feel tight anywhere? Do you struggle with a particular exercise?
With these easy tips, you will finish your workouts in an efficient manner, and the additional focus will allow you to identify areas of physical weakness that you can work on.
So you might have started to notice that you cringe at the time of day when it’s time to workout. RED FLAG, PEOPLE! That is a sign you are getting burnt out on what you are currently doing.
So, how do you turn the cringing into excitement? Take a day or two to figure out:
- What do I like currently about my fitness regimen?
- What don’t I like and why?
- What other types of activities look fun/interesting/challenging that I haven’t tried yet?
- Is there any way to revise my current regimen to make it more enjoyable? (i.e. with a partner)
To feel confident, you have to act and look confident – and vice versa. When athletes step out on the field, you probably think each and every one of them is cool as a cucumber. NOT TRUE! Athletes have to work on their confidence just as much as the rest of us have to.
Here are some quick tips to help with portraying yourself as a champion, because again, if you ACT a certain way, you will THINK a certain way. And then you’ll turn those powerful thoughts into ACTIONS!
- Put yourself somewhat together for your workout session. Wear that new workout outfit you haven’t worn yet or bust out that Under Armour headband that makes you feel unstoppable (always works for me). I’m not saying you need to put on a pound of makeup or go buy a whole new fitness wardrobe, but feeling somewhat put together will increase that confidence.
- Update your playlist. TRUST ME – IT WORKS! Add all the songs you sing to on the radio and guaranteed – you will start your workouts with triple the amount of energy!
- Come up with your own pre-workout routine. Yes I am being serious – athletes do this all the time to get them pumped up before a game. Maybe it’s listening to a certain song that you blast in your car or doing a fun little dance in the mirror on your way out the door, or even enjoying a nice, healthy, protein shake! This methodical approach will set the tone for your workouts.
So you’re a creature of habit. It happens to all of us at some point or another. BUT, you have to know that doing the same type of exercise the same amount of time and the same intensity is going to make you hit a fitness plateau wall. Not only that, but you will increase your chances of overuse injuries as well as overtraining (which is another topic I will cover in a future blog post).
Follow these guidelines to vary the intensity in your workouts:
- Change up the duration of your workout. If you usually workout for an hour, make some days only 30-45 minutes.
- Change up the MODE in which you exercise. If you are lifting dumbbells all the time, try to incorporate some other pieces of equipment like kettlebells, barbells, medicine balls, resistance bands, or even just your own body weight! OR if you do cardio 5 times a week, start substituting 2 of those days with resistance training!
- Change up how frequently you work out. If you normally workout 4-6 times a week, give yourself a week of active rest where you only complete 2 very low intensity workouts. Athletes use this periodization type schedule for their on and off seasons.
Now it won’t do any good to just read this and then not do anything about those weaknesses. So, SEIZE the day, and TAKE ACTION!
I would love to hear about your progress below and any other advice you may have to help people become more mentally fit.
And DON’T FORGET to share this with your fitness buddies and post on my FACEBOOK PAGE with #MentallyFit with your progress and comments.