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Mind over matter: Why the right mindset is essential for a successful workout

Most of us seek external answers to our bodybuilding issues. But have you ever considered that the ultimate secret to growth may be found some place within yourself, and outside the gym? The most powerful computer ever created isn’t on your desk; it’s wedged between your ears. I’m not only talking about your brain here, but also about its underlying mindset. 

When it comes to reaching your fitness objectives, your mentality is the most important factor. “Whether you think you can or think you can’t—you’re right,” as the old saying goes.

Setting Goals: A Mental Trick to Stay On Track

So, is there a silver bullet to obtaining the physique and health you’ve always desired? Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution—fitness is determined by a multitude of lifestyle factors. That being said, arguably the most crucial thing you can do to succeed is to create specific goals for yourself. Goal planning is an effective tool in your fitness journey because it drives the behavioural adjustments you know are required to accomplish your goal. If you want to reduce weight, grow stronger, and tone up, you know you’ll need to adjust your eating and exercise habits to get there. Where many people fail is in the sort of goals they set.

Set yourself a definite, well-defined aim rather than a broad target. These objectives:

  • Must be quantifiable- Set specific, quantifiable goals to measure your progress.
  • Must be feasible-Be truthful to yourself. Can you actually achieve your goal?
  • Must be pertinent – Set goals that are in line with the path you intend to take.
  • Must be timebound – Set a firm deadline for yourself to achieve your objective.

Progressive, short-term, attainable objectives are far more feasible since they are within your immediate reach. When you create a realistic, short-term objective and successfully achieve it day after day, it gives you the confidence and pleasure you need to keep going. It helps you gain momentum in your fitness quest and allows you to raise the bar gradually. 

Change your “all or nothing” attitude

Exercise is just moving your body and there is nothing more to it, there are dance experiences or simply walking in a park. A growth mind-set, which recognises that development is possible even when you’re trying to learn something new, has been shown in studies to be more advantageous than a fixed mind-set, which focuses on whether you’re inherently “good” at anything. 

Rather than dwelling on the past, praise yourself on recommitting to a healthy lifestyle and recognise your progress. Try to focus on movement over ‘exercise’.

Check your mental script

There are days when you don’t want to move a finger, and you need motivation from external sources to actually reach the gym and dive into an intensive workout. We don’t realise that it is something that we are doing for ourselves, it’s the results that we see on the work that we do on our body. Do it for yourself; this is something that no one can take it from you.

Remember how you felt after your last workout

Think back on the feel-good rush you got from exercise-related endorphins, how you felt less stressed, could think more clearly, and slept better that night. Use those fresh, positive memories to propel you back to your workout the next day. The music that makes you groove to the beats of the workout, and the feeling of accomplishment at the end of it all.

Set small goals (Panic or Perform)

If you haven’t been exercising at all, you might aim for just 10 minutes a day. Manageable goals make it more likely you’ll get started and stick with it, and small wins build up over time. Someone who begins with 5 minutes of exercise three times a week can then build up to completing a half-marathon within a year. As the old proverb goes, “The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step”. Most of us make big mistakes to take on too much all at once. Avoid such missteps, and build up towards a greater objective.  

Make it a routine

Getting in regular exercise several times a week is better than being a weekend warrior who exercises for 2 hours. Taking that route will see you tire more faster, leading your body to recover slower than usual. It’s like physics; a ball that’s stationary is harder to move than a ball that’s already in motion. Building new habits is all about consistency. If you wait until you want to exercise, it may never happen. Moreover, if you exercise only sporadically, you could be more likely to injure yourself.

Make it fun

Try out new activities such as Zumba or a sport; tune into your favourite music, podcast or TV show while you work out; make it a workout date with a friend; or exercise outside in a beautiful setting. Changing the environment could help keep things fresh.

In conclusion…

It is not simple to change your lifestyle to include exercise. The most critical step is to change your mindset. Thinking of exercise as a chore will never drive you to do it. Instead, think of exercise as a vacation from a hectic day, a reward for a body that has worked so hard for you all day, and something that deserves to be rewarded in the end. As anyone who has tried to get fitter or stronger will know, it’s not always your physical strength or lack of fitness that holds you back from reaching your goals. Often, it’s all in your head, for the mind is the most important muscle in our body.

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