When things get difficult – in life or in your workouts – your mind and body will look for a way out. Sometimes it is our body that will adjust to make a movement easier, but sometimes it is our mind that will talk us into quitting early so we can let go of any discomfort. However, pushing through even when your mind and body tell you to stop will strengthen the commitment to yourself and your goals.
It is when we keep good form despite the burning in our muscles and the voice in our head telling us to stop that the benefits of exercise come to fruition. Most people fail to push themselves to force a new level of fitness in their body, but with some forethought you can get yourself to the next step.
1. Write it out
Start your workout with a plan of what you will do including how many reps, sets, weight, time, distance, etc. that you want to complete. Don’t forget to include rest time (between 30-60 seconds) in between sets or circuits. Having something in writing will further your commitment to the exercises you have set out for the day.
Sometimes when our head takes over, our muscles tense up and our body is not free to work in the way it can, and should. Take a deep breath and relax into each movement. Find a rhythm, let gravity do it’s job, and trust that your body will know the best way to move. Don’t over-think.
3. Mental Control
Our bodies are strong and complex systems that are more powerful than we give them credit for. Next time you feel discomfort (not pain) during an exercise, stick with it and focus instead on your breathing or form. Many times it is our own mental blocks and not our bodies that hold us back, so changing the focus can get you through an intense exercise or workout.
4. Bring a friend
If you are the competitive type, or you tend to cut your workouts short, link up with a buddy. Having another person with you can help motivate you and keep you on track.
5. Let it go
There will be some days that we are more flexible or energetic than other days. Once your body starts to lose proper form it is a signal that you have pushed as far as you can go to get results. Continuing any exercise with improper form doesn’t help you to reach your goals, it just leads to risk of injury. Take this as a signal to move on to another exercise, slow down, or end your workout for the day.
*If you were able to accomplish more than expected during your workout (longer distance, more weight, reps, etc), keep notation of your progress. Keep these achievements in a mental file to help get you through a future workout.