Tips to Get Through Your Toughest Workout
October 2, 2013
October 2, 2013
We All Struggle Sometimes to “Dig Deeper”, Tips to Get You Through Tough Workouts
So we’re sitting there, I’m in an Insanity Asylum workout, it’s just me and the Go Pro camera…and possibly you if you follow us on You Tube, and I’m battling to get through the In and Out Abs. Sean’s yelling at me to push, but he’s not physically there, so who am I cheating? Answer: myself.
I want to quit. I want to do ANYTHING but this right now…but I know when I look in the mirror, I’ll wish I’d pushed harder. So I make it count. I can’t quit now! I wish I could say that’s true every time I workout, but it’s not. You and I are very guilty of letting the little voice in our head talk us out of success. It’s like the evil part of your mind, the part that makes you crave the junk, that talks you out of starting the workout, period. It sees and feels your body changing, which it doesn’t want, and it tries to play the devil on your shoulder and get you to quit. It’s also responsible for your low self-image and low self esteem, when you let yourself go. That’s the part of your mind you have to learn to shut off.
Tips to Get Through Tough Workouts
There was a really great write up on our Team Beachody site by Zack Zeigler. In it, he refers to some tips from Dr. JoAnn Dahlkoetter, who has worked with handfuls of top athletes, including Olympic gold medal winners as well as just average people like you and me. She also won the San Francisco Marathon in 1980, so she may know a thing or two.
- Mentally Prepare: “People can fail from not being in touch with their bodies,” she says. Some Beachbody® workouts will wipe you out. (There’s a reason the plyometric workout in P90X2® is called Plyocide and not Plyo-this-might-be-kinda-tough.) But understanding, embracing, and anticipating that you’ve signed up to tackle a ball-busting workout can help you size up the challenge and muster the fortitude required to overcome it.
- Find a Workout Buddy: If during a grueling workout you find yourself taking a break from taking a break after you just got finished taking a break, consider recruiting someone to train with you. Researchers at Kansas State University found that people who train with a more skilled workout partner who doesn’t cheerlead you through the workouts worked out for longer periods of time.1 That’s because this competitive attitude supposedly makes you not want to feel like the “weak link” and encourages you to work harder. We talked about this last week. When you see our You Tube vids, it’s apparent I like workout partners.
- Get into a Routine: Make your workout session as much of a priority as you would other important daily activities, like brushing your teeth, getting to work on time, or DVRing America’s Got Talent. “Build a routine so you’re doing [your workout] at the same time each day,” Dr. Dahlkoetter suggests. “If you don’t have a routine, the workout becomes a low priority that might get overlooked.”
- Make Your Goals Specific: Instead of saying you want to “lose weight” or “look better,” come up with specific goals you want to accomplish, like “losing six pounds,” or “finally fitting into my wrestling singlet from college.” Those details will offer you something tangible to strive for. The S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-targeted) goal technique has proven to be popular and effective for constructing a plan of attack, whether you’re tackling work projects or getting through a workout.
- Use the 3 Ps: It sounds pretty hippie, but Dr. Dahlkoetter has “Three Ps”—Positive Images, Power Words, and Present Focus—that can actually help. Studies show that athletes who visualize themselves winning are more likely to succeed.2 Visualize the whole process, from going to bed at the right time to finishing your workout, and you’ll be more likely to get through it, improving your overall concentration in the process.Then, create some “Power Words” to help you push through those super-tough moments. I’m usually spewing four-letter words after about 25 minutes of most of my workouts. Instead, try this exercise: On a piece of paper, write all of your excuses, self-doubts, and negative thoughts about the workout on the left side. Then, on the right side, write what the opposite of that would be. For example: If you write you’re “too tired” on the left side, write your “mind and body are stronger and healthier each day” on the right. When you’re lagging, tell yourself those things you’ve written on the right side of the paper. My Shaun T bracelet is a good reminder for me.And, finally, focus on the present. From worrying about work to your kids to whether the Inland Empire 66ers are going to cover the run line (I’m letting it ride on you, fellas!), we all have plenty of daily stresses to contend with. But your workout shouldn’t be one of them; in fact, it might be the only hour of the day you get to focus entirely on yourself. To do that and offer your best effort, you need to be present from beginning to end. That said, during your Wall Sits or another difficult move that doesn’t pose a high risk of injury, feel free to let your mind wander to your “happy place.”
All in all, these are some really good ideas for “powering through”. Would love to hear from you on what gets you through your workout. Comment below and share your ideas! Or reach out to us!