I realized this morning I spend a lot of time doing mind games for working out.
Just getting to the gym can be a mind game for me. If I make it easy to find my workout clothes, I have less internal resistance for going. I set an alarm about 45 minutes before I plan to be at the gym. One that says, start to get ready with your water bottle full and near the door. Fifteen minutes later, there’s a buzzing to remind me that I’m going to leave in 15 minutes, so I should start getting my clothes on and finish up whatever I’m doing. Of course, I have a little alarm that says “Leave Now!”
Setting my clothes out well ahead of time, with shoes right by the door, is another trick of mine. Pack the bag the night before!
It’s minor nagging but keeps me remembering that I made a commitment to myself to get back to the workouts. Once I get to the gym, I have a whole other set of mind games!
If it is circuit training, I find my favorite exercises and promise myself that I can be rewarded with those after I do the ones I’m not so crazy about. I make sure I have modifications for exercises that hurt my toes and fingers. (Burpees for instance.) Instead of slamming down my feet into the back burpee position, I will modify to walking mountain climbers where I can more slowly send my feet back and not aggravate my toe knuckle joints. This way I don’t give up because the exercise in the circuit training isn’t one I should be doing.
Anytime the circuit training involves kettlebell, I look forward to the majority of those exercises. The KB exercises I love help me to get thru the tough ones. I might even do an extra one of the reps because I love the KB so much. I see great improvements in myself with the single leg kettlebell deadlifts. Better balance. Better form. Heavier weight. That feels great!
Counting Down Mind Games
If the reps are set to 15, I like to count up to 8 and then down to 1. (1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 & 6 & 7 & 8 & 7 & 6 & 5 & 4 & 3 & 2 & 1 &) For some reason, if the highest number is 8, it doesn’t feel like I’m really doing 15.
When I’m able to move up in weights for an exercise, I find I like the exercise even more! Doing Chest Flys with a heavier weight or Lateral Raises with a heavier weight feels like a real accomplishment and I spend the majority of that exercise congratulating myself. It’s easier to stare in the mirror and be smiling because I increased weight.
Positive Reinforcement Mind Games
The super tough exercise – like bear crawls or pushing weights on the carpet – I talk out loud to myself. I try to whisper but mostly because I’m out of breath. “You can do it.” “You got this.” “Come on now, just a little farther.” I really feel I accomplished something when I finish those!
I am still working on my mind games for the TRX machine. Today I did some, but the pikes and hamstring curls psyched me out. I found I didn’t even finish the rows – exercises I know I can do. Why? I think the TRX got into my head and I started the negative talk.
Does anyone else talk in their head with mind games to themselves during a circuit workout? Any ideas on what I can say to really convince myself to start and finish those super tough TRX ones? Leave a comment below. I would really appreciate it!