When thinking about a gym or fitness studio, people tend to think solely of the physical aspect of it. “This is where people go to work out and get in shape” is probably the most typical thought everyone has. There is another aspect to training, and it can be the greatest asset or the greatest hindrance to meeting your fitness goals. It is the mental side of things, which we will refer to in this blog as your ‘Mindset’.
According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of the term mindset is as follows:
“A mental attitude or inclination” or “A fixed State of Mind”.
So, basically, we are discussing your attitude when you come to train. Your attitude will make a big difference in your experience at No Limit Fitness Studio, as it does in every situation in your life.
Mindset: The Asset
Let’s take a moment and think of when you see a workout that has every movement you’re good at in it. You KNOW you’re going to crush it. You show up early, get the warm up going with more intensity than normal, and have confidence going in. You know exactly how hard to push and when to do so during the workout. Even if someone finishes in front of you, you know that you did a damn good job and are proud of what you accomplished.
What was different about this workout than normal? You still had to work hard, you still pushed yourself to the limit. Why was this better than most days? Because going in, you KNEW you were going to have a good day. Your mindset was positive coming in, positive during, and positive after.
Mindset: The Hindrance
While maintaining a positive attitude can and will make your training more effective with positive results, a negative attitude will undoubtedly do the opposite.
Your Mindset can completely ruin your training, period. We can have a perfect workout prepared for you, with a great combination of skills you need to work on as well as a few of your strengths and it can all be ruined with a negative attitude. Let’s use Back Squats as an example. Back Squats are one of the most effective strength building exercises known to man, but they’re most effective if you put in a LOT of effort. If you see Back Squats come up and your first thought is to skip that day or that it’s going to suck, your effort is going to reflect that negative mindset. In all likelihood you will squat less weight than you should and won’t get the intended results from the training session.
The other way a negative mindset can hurt your training is it makes things difficult on your coach. Your coach doesn’t know if you really need to back off of a weight on squats if you’re always being negative about them. If you’re constantly giving pushback or negative remarks when your coach is trying to correct your form, it makes your coach less likely to correct your form in the future. It doesn’t matter if you have a brand-new trainer (which we’re hoping to be hiring soon!), someone who’s been coaching for years on end, or the best coach in the world. If you’re constantly negative toward your coach, you’re making things worse for yourself.
Forging an Asset
We want to forge your mindset into being an asset. There are big time coaches who coach Games athletes that focus on their athletes’ mindset almost as often as the physical aspect. For example, Ben Bergeron has coached Katrin Davidsdottir to 2 CrossFit Games Championships and numerous podium finishes. He also coached Mat Fraser to his first Championship. If you listen to Mr. Bergeron, he is CONSTANTLY talking about mindset, attitude, and approaching workouts mentally. He’s also infamous for messing with his athletes while they’re working out to test their mental fortitude. He comes up with things such as snapping his athletes with a band while they’re in the middle of a lift to see if they will keep their focus (we’re not going to take things this far!). There’s video of him throwing dirt on Davidsdottir while she’s doing push ups to get her used to the discomfort of working out on a dirt trail. This isn’t because he’s mean (maybe a little), it’s to ensure his athletes are ready for whatever is thrown at them. Instead of complaining about whatever issue arises, he is forging a mindset within them to accept the circumstances and move forward.
Forging your mindset to become an asset is not a fast process and will come with some bumps in the road. We’ll focus on small improvements just like we do physically at the gym. Below are a few small steps we as a gym are going to focus on to finish 2020:
Step One: No more Cherry-picking workouts. We’ve gone over this before, the workouts/movements you want to do the least are most likely the most important for you to do. You need to get more comfortable with them.
Step Two: Stop complaining. We all have days where the workout is rough, and it seems that nothing is going right. This is a time to take a step back, reassess where you are (even if it’s mid-workout), and make a new plan of attack. Complaining to yourself, others, your coach, or just in general helps no one.
Step Three: Accept the bad days. They happen. Sometimes it’s a workout you thought you’d crush but it crushed you, others it’s a workout you know is not in your wheelhouse. This is when it’s easy to get discouraged and give up. Take the hard path, keep fighting!
Step Four: Focus on the positive. Step three leads into step four. Let’s say a workout comes up that you KNOW you’re going to struggle with. You’ve already mastered step one, so you won’t skip that day. Let’s come into the gym with the attitude that this workout is focused on YOUR weaknesses. This is an opportunity to improve GREATLY. It’s difficult to keep getting better at your strengths, but you can see massive improvements on your weaknesses!
Let’s take the flip side of that last example and say you come in for a workout you think you will crush but it blasts you, and you do worse than the last time. Instead of brow-beating yourself, focus on what you did accomplish. You came in, you moved, you tried damn hard, and unfortunately things didn’t go your way. If you take a step back and reassess what happened, you may also find the answer of why things didn’t go well. Maybe you didn’t get any sleep the night before, maybe you had one too many adult beverages, or you might’ve tried to push too hard in the beginning of the workout and it zapped your energy. In the end, you still learned something and that will lead to improvement!
We, our coach(es) included, are going to focus on improving our mindset for the rest of 2020. Lord knows we’ve all been put through the wringer this year, and it’s been easy to get down about life. But we’re tougher than that. We’re going to push through. We’re going to finish, and we’re going to constantly improve. It’s going to be a hell of a ride, and it will be tough at times. But we’re damn glad you’ve chosen to ride with us!
Now let’s get to work.