Have you ever heard those fitness gurus preach how getting fit is more of a psychological process than physical? Well, up until a few years ago I really wrote this off, accepting my body just physically can not do certain things, like running for example. I hated running and accepted the fact that my body was just not cut out to run. Sound familiar?
I Think I can’t
Well, this was far from the truth. In 2015 I trained and completed a full marathon, yep that’s right all 26.2 miles of it. It was during this training period that I realized how many mind games I actually played. While, yes I did have to build up my endurance physically to be able to run for that extended period of time, most of it was in my head.
When Your Brain Says “No” Your Body Gives Up
One thing I noticed when training, is my mind could talk my body into anything, for positive or negative. Just the simple fact of thinking that your body can’t do something is enough to allow your body physically to give up or not even try. Think about the last time you were at the gym, did you hear that little voice in your head telling you that it was tired, or that this workout was too hard? We have all been there, but the simple fact is we can control and/or overcome this little voice in our minds and begin listening physically to what our bodies are telling us.
Playing Fitness Mind Games
Here are some simple mind games that all of us can use to combat that little voice in our heads:
- Stay Positive – There is no “I Can’t”. Your body may not be able to physically do something today, but someday it will be able to if you stick with it.
- Goals – Always have a goal in mind, even a small one like running at a comfortable pace for one mile.
- Break Your Workout Into Intervals – It is easier to work extremely hard for a one minute than for 10 consecutive minutes. It is just one minute of hard work and then you can have a moment to rest.
- Workout With a Friend or Take a Group Fitness Class – Working out with a friend or taking a group fitness class is a great way to push yourself harder because you will want to keep up with everyone else.
While psychological we can will our bodies to do pretty much anything, it is important to physically check in with our bodies as well. Meaning, if something is causing physical pain you should stop and visit a physician for a diagnosis.