How To Mentally Prepare Yourself Before Every Workout
Don't lose sight of the goal as to why you started. These tips can help.
We all know that getting consistent daily exercise is so important for our health and wellness, especially in these times when we have to fortify our immune system to protect ourselves from illness. But working out consistently is one of the toughest things to achieve.
Oftentimes, we’re enthused and motivated out of the gates. But the further we get along, the more complacent we become. Many people lose sight of their goals just a few weeks into their fitness programs, and it’s the main reason why it’s so hard to achieve the results we crave.
Preparing yourself mentally before each workout should do the trick. No matter if it’s a HIIT session, a boxing class, a Muay Thai class, or a BJJ class, there are a few ways you can condition your mind to get ready for physical exercise so you can make the most out of each session.
Sometimes the secret to a successful fitness program is simply reminding yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing in the first place. In many cases, the hardest thing about working out is getting up from off the couch and actually starting to move.
Let’s take a look at a few ways you can motivate yourself to give your maximum effort, even on days you don’t really feel like doing so. Today, Evolve Daily shares five ways to prepare yourself mentally before every workout.
Tips to Overcome Challenges to Stay Motivated to Exercise
1) Rediscover your true purpose
Not every day is going to be a walk in the park. Challenging junctures in your fitness journey will come inevitably. It’s guaranteed to hit you like a ton of bricks. If you’re like many, you’ve probably run into a wall at some point — where you simply don’t feel like putting in the effort.
Every movement feels like you’re so weighed down. The more you try to push yourself, the more your mind tries to convince you to stop and just quit. Rest assured, you’re not the only one who has experienced this.
It’s a common occurrence, and you should expect it to happen.
One thing you can do before every workout, however, is to remind yourself of your true purpose. We all embark on our specific fitness journeys for different reasons.
Maybe you want to look good in front of a mirror. Maybe you’re preparing for your wedding. Perhaps you want to get your health in order and avoid complications later on. Whatever your purpose, it’s good to remind yourself of this before your workouts. The more focused you are on your goals, the easier it is to visualise yourself reaching them.
Keep your eye on the prize, tiger.
2) Keep a workout diary
Another great tip is to record your workouts in a diary or journal. Keeping a workout diary will allow you to revisit your mental state when starting your workout routines.
Perhaps you were feeling a bit lethargic after a certain meal. Or maybe you were extra motivated during a specific time in the day. These are the things that keeping a workout diary will help you uncover.
Furthermore, recording your workouts can be extremely motivational, because it allows you to document your progress, which in turn helps you set better goals for future workouts.
Make it a habit to write down what you did, how difficult it was, and how you were feeling in every diary entry.
The ultimate purpose of your workout diary is to better connect with yourself internally. The more you understand how your mind works, the easier it will be for you to control it. Workouts are half mental, and if you can train your mind to power through doubt and fear, you’ll get more out of each hour in the gym.
3) Understand the struggle
Going back to the original point, there will definitely be days when you don’t feel like working out. And this is because, well, working out is hard. The sooner you understand this, the better. When you learn to embrace the struggle, embrace the difficulty, then you can begin to push yourself the hardest.
Let’s face it, exercising is hard, and it’s not supposed to be easy. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. You have to put the time and effort in the gym to achieve the results you desire. It usually takes around 8-12 weeks to see significant physical improvement in your body, so patience, as well as consistency, is key.
In addition, if you feel like your workouts are actually getting harder, then you’re definitely on the right track. They aren’t supposed to get easier, and you should be challenged every single day. You should always strive to work out past your comfort zone, pushing your heart, lungs, and muscles to get stronger.
4) Recognise who you’re up against
In this battle of attrition between you and the weighing scale, it’s good to recognise exactly who you’re up against. The toughest foe you will ever face is yourself and your own mind.
There will come many times when you will try to talk yourself out of working out. It could come in a week, two weeks, a month. It could come 20 minutes into your run. But when self-doubt creeps in, and when you start to feel like giving up, recognize that it is only yourself who is in the way.
Look back on how many times you’ve tried to start up a new fitness program. You’ve probably joined a gym at some point in your life, but it never turned out the way you thought it would. That’s because you let yourself get beat mentally.
This time, know that you’re going to face yourself and your inner demons. Once you realize this, you will go to battle with yourself every day, and win.
5) Clear your mind
Last but certainly not least, clearing your mind is one of the most effective ways to push through workouts mentally. Getting rid of all external distractions, thoughts that muddy your psyche, and impair your ability to think is crucial to getting a good workout.
Turn off your mobile phone, resist the urge to go online and check social media, unplug. Don’t be chatty in the gym, distracting not only yourself, but other people around you from hitting your goals. Clear your mind, and refocus.
One way you can achieve this is by taking a few extra minutes before every workout to meditate. Meditation is an amazing way to condition your mind for a tough workout ahead.
Meditating before your workouts helps you relax and stretch your muscles. At the same time, you can enhance your focus and self-control, which are both essential to every exercise routine. Meditating post-workout is just as important, as it helps reduce your cortisol levels, which tend to rise during tough workout sessions.
This article was first published in EVOLVE and republished on theAsianparent with permission.