Mental Gains (#20)

Man pointing at head

As physical beings, we’re naturally inclined to focus on the physical whenever we get tired during a workout. However, the reality is that mental fatigue almost always precedes physical fatigue. Today’s professional athletes are well aware of how the mind effects bodily response. In Power of Imagination, we discussed one mental approach in helping to enhance our workouts. Today we’ll go over two more ways we can enhance our workouts mentally.


Perceived Strength

Our perception of a task has a direct impact on our mental gains.


We have the ability to alter our minds into thinking that the weight we’re lifting isn’t as physically strenuous as it really is!


For example, instead of looking at 35-pound dumb bells as 35 pounds, envision them as weighing only 25-pounds and watch how your body responds accordingly! Sometimes I’ll even go as far as talking to the weights out loud to reinforce things mentally:


“C’mon, c’mon! Squeeze! Light weight! Light weight! Too easy!”


Thankfully, this mental strategy works ideal for when we’re already fatigued and working through a set. Obviously, the best part is that we actually are lifting heavier than what we’re projecting. This works out great because now we’re building strength from our mental gains.

The Mental Process of Staying in the Moment

While recently working out I decided to switch things up by lifting lighter weights with higher repetitions (about 20). However, I was struggling to complete the full set of 20 reps as I became fatigued towards the end. At this point I decided not to worry about end results, and instead, focus on each individual moment.


In other words, instead of focusing on the entire set, I refocused my attention on completing just “one rep”, 20-consecutive times.


This type of process strategy allowed me to stay in the moment and mentally reset after each rep. Perhaps one the greatest benefits is that it allows you to refocus all your energy on the now. The next time you’re struggling through a set just remind yourself to slow things down and refocus on what you’re trying to accomplish. The results will speak for themselves!


Things to Keep in…Mind


Developing mental gains is a skill that requires practice. Ultimately, both strength and mental gains compliment each other due to the synergizing efforts of our mind and body (ie. picture your brain as your entire body). So even if you’re a beginner weightlifter, it’s paramount that you begin looking at your exercises as mental-workouts because the more you stimulate the mind the stronger you become!


Key Takeaways:

  • Mental fatigue precedes physical fatigue
  • Our perception of a task has a direct impact on our mental gains
  • Refocus all your mental energy on the now
  • Developing mental gains is a skill that requires practice

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