Congratulations on finishing phase two! And welcome to phase 3!
Mental toughness is a lifestyle and has to be worked at daily.
The WP Warrior Mindset Challenge is designed to get you in the right mindset, to give you the tools and to set you on the right path. However, only so much can be done in one 21-day program.
This phase of the program gets you looking forward. It challenges you to set your path moving into the future. No, it is not simple goal setting! We are going to accomplish very specific things which should keep you busy achieving and mentally tough as a lifestyle not a one-time thing.
Now, as we move into phase three, we start to look forward, and we make mental toughness and motivation permanent, we have to get completely honest.
And, honestly, you are standing in your own way. You are your own worst enemy, always and forever. Stop blaming others, stop looking for excuses...you are the problem.
The further you go down the rabbit hole, the more mentally tough you become and the more you test yourself, the more you grow as the enemy.
Every time your brain sees what looks to be pain, or being uncomfortable, it will start to weasel itself out of that situation. Perhaps it is not the actual working out which bothers you, maybe it is the anticipation or the fear.
Your brain will try to trick you. I am not kidding. You may find it odd to talk about your brain as the 'enemy' or as if it is trying to do things that you aren't consciously doing, but that is how it works. Working out is amazing for your health, so why wouldn't you want to do it as much as you can? Because it is painful, right? But you know, logically, it needs to be done. So why wouldn't your subconscious mind jump on board and ignore feelings of pain?
Your brain, instinctively, is against you.
Your brain operates at two different levels:
Your brain will try to get out of what it sees as pain by procrastination, and it will find, or you will find, other logical reasons not to push yourself or find reasons not to workout. You will find any and every excuse.
Mental toughness is chess, it isn't checkers.
You need to be aware of what is going on. Every time you just don't feel like working out and you think you have a logical reason to skip out, just realize you are one step closer to being put in checkmate by your brain, and weakness is taking over.
Look at the incredibly tough times as the best and greatest opportunities to exercise your mental fortitude. If mental toughness were easy, everyone would walk around successful and have a body looking as if it were chiseled from stone. You want to be a part of the Better Human Challenge? You need to make the decision to fight. You need to fight your brain.
You have to be in control.
You are in control of your thoughts and the voice inside your head. It isn't "look how much more work that has to be done", it is "look at how much work I have done that is making me better". You can no longer be negative. There is no place for it.
Don't take theses words as empty fluff. DO SOMETHING!! BE BETTER!! MAKE THE CHOICE!!
Change is not easy, and rewiring your synapses will not be easy, but we are getting there. Your thoughts alone can make you achieve the most inconceivable feats.
The only way to fight yourself, to combat the enemy, is to have a plan. Looking at the micro-view, here is your new checklist for every workout.
1. Map it out
Chances are, when you start a workout...you just start. Maybe a little stretch and warm-up, but no real focus before the workout occurs.
Time to add a little strategy to your workouts. Adding your brain to the fitness equation can help you achieve great things.
What to do:
-Add a 5 minute "pre-game" to all workouts.
-Plan a strategy for the workout.
-Make sure everything is planned and written down.
We have already discussed visualization, but here is a quick recap.
Picture yourself doing that heavy lift, or going to the pain zone. Familiarizing your brain with where you are going and how you will get there is the only preparation you need.
What to do:
-Immediately before a lift, PR attempt or intense workout. Visualize...
-How hard will you push yourself?
-How will it feel?
-Imagine the entire movement or workout from start to finish.
The key is to visualize it ALL the way through. This will help you, mentally, go in with a battle plan. When you plan to really push yourself, this will act almost as a contract with your brain. If you tell your brain how tough something will be before it happens, there will be less resistance to get there than normal.
3. The Concentration dot
The concentration dot is nothing more than a piece of tape stuck to a wall with a dot drawn on it. Or if you don't care about drawing on walls...just a dot drawn on a wall.
What to do:
-Put a dot on the wall in front of where you squat, deadlift, cycle, etc. The dot should be about chest height.
-When squatting or deadlifting, etc. focus on the dot.
-Never let your eyes leave the dot.
-Clear your mind and FOCUS.
-You want to concentrate as much as you can. Sometimes just a little extra concentration WILL get you that PR without any additional training.
4. Shut out the environment
Who cares what he is doing, what she is wearing or what music is playing.
Once the workout starts you are not interested in your job, what's for dinner or how you will pay your bills.
You are only interested in the next rep, the next set and the next second. Thinking of anything beyond that time frame is useless and damning.
What to do:
-Block everything out
-Concentrate and focus on seconds and reps, nothing longer or further in time.
-This is harder said than done. But if you truly master this, people will almost not recognize you when you are working out and you will feel like you just came back to the gym after the workout is over. The rest of the world is a blur.
5. Shut off your brain
Your last battle. You!
Workouts hurt, they are not fun and they are not easy. Each workout reveals a small piece of who you are. Who you will be when the cards are down?
Time to shut off the brain.
What to do:
-The internal battle with yourself. The one more principle!
-Every time your brain says stop, you say one more.
-That's it. No secret and no long-winded explanation. Every time your brain says stop, try to do one more...and see how many "one-mores" you can get.
The battle against yourself is not easy, and getting distracted is very easy. At the end of every workout you should not only feel physically fatigued, but also mentally fatigued from the level of concentration and focus.
Easier said than done, and something I aim for everyday.
Good luck in your battle.
This brings us to our task for the day: Start a workout journal.
Mark Rippetoe, famous strength coach, put it best when he said "All people who are serious about their training write down their workouts".
In the beginning, it's easy. You only have a few numbers to remember and you've got it down. But it gets harder. You need to get serious. You need to write your training down, even writing down your diet can be a tremendous help.
That number on the scale...does not really correlate to your fitness, what you truly look like or what you feel like. It is NOT your benchmark.
1. Take pictures
3. Write down personal records
4. Write times, weights and if you are scaling
5. Write how you felt, and rate of perceived effort
6. Takes notes
Track it all!
The mentally tough know where they are going...and they know where they have been.
Start a workout journal (Remember, you can do all this within the workout app too)
Copy your new 5 item checklist into your workout journal or Post it up on your wall or leave it in your workout bag.
Review it before every workout.