How to use psychology to achieve your goals. Good nutrition and a solid training plan will get you a long way towards any goal you wish to achieve in the strength and fitness game, be it crushing a 200kg squat or ripping a minute off your Fran time.
However, there is another source of power that you can tap into to get yourself there quicker. Psychology.
Psychology has a huge effect on how your day goes in general, positive attitude and approaching your workout correctly each day can be the difference between success and failure. So here are some helpful hints and tips to make sure you’re at your peak.
1. Leave it at the door.
Our lives are full of constant stresses, these can be minor little things like traffic, or a bad day at work, or they can be great big life changing events, either way, our bodies are primed to respond to stress physiologically by activating the adrenal glands for that ‘fight or flight’ response.
Over time constant activation of this response causes our bodies and minds to become burnt out, meaning that our ability to physically smash it in the gym is greatly reduced.
So stop over thinking everything and just focus on your workout, if it's important it’ll still be there after you session but you’ll be able to approach it with a clearer head and big dump of endorphins from working out. If it's not important you’ll have stopped caring for the same reason.
2. Decide why you work out and get a goal
There are a few common themes as to why people train; this, of course, is not an exhaustive list, however, it should cover the majority
First off is physical appearance, I’m going to leave off that one for the moment and just say the one thing about it. Don’t worry about it, physical appearance is a side affect if you get your nutrition right and work hard in the gym then whatever your goal is, you’ll achieve it. Your time and energy are better spent elsewhere, give it time, it’ll come.
Secondly is to improve fitness or just maintain your current levels, unfortunately, this tends to lead to people not pushing out of their respective comfort zones and either not improving or actually losing motivation. It’s much better to have something to aim for.
Which leads on to the third reason, having a specific goal. Having a goal in mind is great however you need to make sure you have a structured laid out plan to achieve it. See a professional, a good professional should be able to explain exactly how you can achieve that goal, be it strength, stamina, etc, if they can’t, then they’re probably not worth it and you should look elsewhere. If you train with a goal, you train with purpose and are more likely to achieve the desired result.
3. How to approach your workouts
Your coach should design each individual work out as part of a structured well thought out progression and as such each aspect should have a good reason for being there.
Therefore each workout should be respected and approached in the correct manner. Which means on a workout that’s designed to hit your lactic threshold, don’t go too heavy just to try and RX and don’t skimp the weight just to get a faster time or avoid failing on a strength workout. If in doubt about what the workout is designed for, just ask you, coach, remember they wrote it so they should know.
Some workouts are going to hurt, however these are the ones that are going to get you better the faster, so fight for those few extra reps or take a few less seconds rest (A great tip is to limit your rest to three deep breaths) learn to enjoy that pain, it’ll make you stronger.
4. Work your weakness, fix yourself and focus on your form.
We all have weaknesses, bad bits of mobility and we’ve all lost acceptable form in the middle of a workout due to a sky-high HR. Take your time to rehab any broken bits, areas of pain or work specific lifts and drills related to form.
When you’re warming up do activation exercises related to that specific lift or workout, don’t just leave it to mobility you need to teach your muscles to activate correctly in these movements not just stretch them.
My advice is to speak to your coach if in doubt or see a professional if you know you have any particularly bad problems. Dealing with the problem head on will let you relax more and trust me there’s no better feeling than crushing something that would’ve previously been an issue. Don’t see it as negative, just an opportunity to better yourself and prove how much of an athlete you really are.
5. Relax, have fun, make friends and take your rest and sleep seriously.
First off, sleep! It’s well documented that everyone needs at least 8 hours to reset him or herself and feel fresh in the mornings. Yes, you can get by on less, but you won’t be performing at peak, besides you don’t want to just get by. You want to crush it. Not every day is going to be a PR and there’s going to be a fair few days when you feel like crap, you need people around you to lift you and trust me, people will need you too. If you need a rest day, take it!
Get outside the gym and try a new sport, go for a swim a bike or a yoga class. Whatever chills you out, you need to find time for it, to relax and enjoy yourself else you’ll just burn out. Most of all have fun and keep smashing it.
Author: Josh Golding
Follow him here: https://www.instagram.com/josh__golding/