Introduction: Challenging Yourself…
Challenge yourself. If you never quit, you’ll never know how to. Challenging the mind and body on a daily basis will allow you to grow in more ways than you can imagine.
When it comes to training, quitting should never be an option. Failure, on the other hand, can be deemed acceptable because, let’s face it, we are only human. Providing you are overreaching in your training sessions and continuously trying to progress, a little failure along the way is good for the heart and soul. If you don’t fail from time to time, there is a strong chance you like to keep the comfort blanket firmly wrapped around you. Take it off and challenge yourself!
How do you truly know what you are capable of if you never take yourself to uncomfortable levels?
Throwing the towel in will get you nowhere in life, however, persevering through difficult moments will allow you to accomplish more than you can imagine.
It’s never going to be a smooth process from start to finish and there will always be moments where you’ll have to battle with various different factors. However, the results and rewards come when you dig deep and push boundaries in moments that are unpleasant. Just remember that discomfort is growth, challenging yourself to want more will enable you to deliver better results.
How many of you are going through the motions when you’re training?
When you begin your training session there needs to be a focus from start to finish. Using the gym as a prime example, there are plenty of potential distractions that can cause a major shift in how effective your overall training output can be. I am now going to discuss some of the key distractions that can cause a drop off in performance and physical output due to focus being shifted elsewhere.
If one or more of these questions relate to you then your mind is definitely elsewhere…
Are you busy chatting away to your training partner or the entire gym for that matter?
I’m all for chatting to the person you’re training with, however, taking extended and unnecessary rest periods to chat about Love Island will only cause you to lose concentration on the here and now. When your training session begins you should be ready to attack the exercises in your program with purpose and intent. If you continuously find excuses to stand around and let your mind wander elsewhere you will automatically lose that focus and drive. A great article on ‘how long you should rest between sets’ by T-Nation will help you understand further the importance of focusing on your training session.
Are you constantly on your phone?
Constantly checking your social media or responding to text messages whilst you’re training will not get you your next PB in the gym. We all know how much of a powerful role social media platforms can play in everyday life, however, there is a time and place to be glued to your phone and mid-training session certainly isn’t one of them. Texting your friends on what’s app discussing your weekend plans can wait until you have finished your gym session. Distracting yourself and shifting your mindset away from the task in hand will again cause your performance to suffer. Check out this useful article by T-Nation on mind-muscle connection.
Are you people watching?
This may sound a strange one, but the amount of times I see people watching others instead of focusing on their own session is a cause for concern. When you attend the gym there is no way of getting away from people. Of course, it’s good to make friends and be friendly with other gym goers but sometimes you have to be selfish when it comes to your own progression. Your friends aren’t going to lift that weight for you, and if they are, it will be them making all the gains – not you! Concentrate on your own program and your own progression. Watching other people and trying to replicate their movements, weights, tempo, exercises, will more than likely not be specific to the goal you want to achieve. Check out Motive8 articles on mindset for additional information on ensuring your head is in the game before starting your training sessions.
Has your mind already begun wandering towards the weekend?
When you are performing an exercise you should be putting every ounce of concentration into the movement. If your mind starts to wander, things can become sloppy and you may just miss out on some vital progression, or even worse get injured. For example, lifting heavy weights with optimal execution will require attention to detail in order to move the weight effectively and efficiently. Failure to do so will prompt one of two things, firstly, there is a strong chance you won’t get the most out of the exercise resulting in little or no results. Secondly, you increase the chance of becoming susceptible to injuries due to being inefficient and complacent. The majority of your training sessions should be challenging. Looking back over your previous sessions, you should be thinking about how you can do better with the up and coming workouts in order to make them more challenging and progressive.
Are you constantly stood at the water fountain?
Yes, hydration is important, but if you are constantly re-filling a 300ml water bottle at the fountain you’re going to be wasting valuable time wetting your lips instead of moving your hips. This in my eyes is a lack of preparation on your part. Before starting your training session you should have enough water in your bottle and if you need to re-fill, the chances are you don’t have a big enough bottle. Wasting valuable time stood at the water fountain will not only make your session longer but also less productive.
Top Tip: Challenging yourself will enable you to grow. Oh and, Buy a bigger water bottle!