The mind can be a powerful thing. It determines all of our life’s decisions, big or small. So when you’ve got a health and fitness goal in mind, the first thing to do is ensure your mindset is in the right place. We all like to stay in our comfort zone and take the path of least resistance. So below I’ve listed out the common fights our minds put up when a challenge is presented and the ways to combat these so you stay on track with your goals.
1. I can’t believe we have to do 50 squat jumps!
When you embark on an exercise regime there will inevitably come a time where a significant number of repetitions are required to complete the workout. When you first see or hear the number required, it can feel like an unachievable feat. I challenge you to forget the big figure and get through the first 10 reps (or 5, or whatever number you can do)! Take a break and repeat. By breaking down the task into manageable pieces, you can complete the workout at hand. Before you know it, you’ll be completing 50 reps with ease.
Now before you start heading down to Domino’s, take a pause and consider your options. Whilst ideally you don’t want to scrap your planned healthy meals every night, there will come a time every so often that you will want to swap this out for comfort food. To avoid conceding the evening as a write-off, ask yourself what you really want – 9 times out of 10, it’s just knowing you can have something familiar, tasty and satisfies your cravings. The compromise then is considering the healthy alternatives available to you. There are so many healthy homemade pizza options that can be made quickly and easily and won’t break the calorie bank. Get creative as well; there are cauliflower bases, pita bases and stacks of veggies you can top these with so you can get a nutritious well-rounded meal that satisfies your cravings.
3. I’m so tired and stressed from work and just want to go home instead of going to the gym
Whilst some may have the willpower to go to gym everyday, not everyone has that same level of self-discipline. In these instances, the simplest way to ensure you don’t miss a session is accountability. This can take several forms:
• The simplest method is to hire a personal trainer. You therefore have an appointment and a financial incentive to turn up
• Letting your close family or friends know about your sessions so that if you don’t turn up, you will need to explain why
• Arranging a gym session with a friend so you won’t want to let them down by not turning up
• If your gym has a booking system (e.g. for classes), arrange to book in your sessions in advance and schedule these into your calendar. If there’s a waitlist for the class, you will want to attend as your spot could have been given to someone else.
Now aside from accountability, also remember that endorphin rush you will feel once you successfully complete your session. Now put that appointment in your diary, commit, and be so thankful you turned up!
4. I just had a “cheat” meal that is going to cancel out all of my gym progress this week
I am a firm believer that incorporating balance into your diet is the best way to achieve a long-term sustainable healthy lifestyle. Accordingly, there will be times where your meal is not the healthiest. I want you to consider your exercise and diet goals separately. By this I mean don’t let failures or successes in your fitness dictate your eating habits and vice versa. For example, don’t feel as though by eating a donut you need to “work it off”. Or alternatively, by missing a gym session that you need to skip a meal. Holistically, your diet and fitness goals should be aligned, however they don’t need to be dependent on each other. By eating a “cheat” meal, don’t beat yourself up over the perceived lost fitness gains. Accept that “cheat” meal and move on, improve your meal next time and incorporate “cheat” meals into your overall diet and calorie objectives.
5. I lifted heavier than that last week, I must be going backwards!
Have you ever noticed that some days you are exhausted or just “not feeling it”? For women, that time of the month may result in reduced energy levels and hormonal imbalances. And some days the weights just feel heavier than they usually do. This is the reality of fitness and lifting weights. Linear progression is not a guarantee. To get over this perceived decline in fitness, track your sessions every time you turn up. Assuming you are pushing yourself each session, I can almost guarantee that you will see progression over the long term. This may mean a few weeks of going backwards or a plateau, but over a 3-month period or more, you will see results. Also remember that the weights you are lifting are not the only determinants of progress; consider your time under tension, the number of reps and your technique (among many other factors).
6. I’ll never be able to do a chin up.
As cliché as it sounds, never say never. Change your mindset from “I can’t” to “I will work to get there”. Assuming your goal is within the realms of physical achievement (i.e. not a 5 second 100m sprint), then all you need to do is put together a plan. Work backwards from your goal to where you are now through regressions. Then put that plan to action. So there you have it folks, some easy mindset shifts and strategies to keep your health and fitness goals on track. It may sound simple in theory, however your mental resilience will be tested in order to see results!