Workouts have to be tough. The whole point of “working out” is work! So whenever you get to that point where you “just want to quit”, that’s exactly when you can’t.
Studio 5 Health and Fitness Contributor Melanie Douglass shares 5 tricks to get through even the toughest workouts.
Don’t ever let yourself quit when results are just around the corner – literally minutes away! And don’t take this to the extreme; you don’t have to push yourself for an extra long time… just push through those tough spots (a bit more each workout)and you’ll quickly see greater results from your fitness program.
Here are 5 mental mind tricks to help you get through a tough workout:
Mind Trick #1: One More Minute
Whatever you are doing – walking, running, swimming, aerobics, dancing, yoga, boxing… anything – tell yourself you’ll do one more minute at the same pace (or, better yet, a faster pace), then take a short rest. If you are three minutes into your workout and have to use this mind trick, no worries! Just do your minute, then take a short rest and repeat as necessary until you reach your workout goal. This simple trick helps you push yourself through those tough spots so your body can create positive changes – inside and out.
Mind Trick #2: This is 2% of my day
Sometimes it’s easy to prematurely quit a workout because you feel tired, weak, stressed or just flat-out too short on time. But before you quit, think about this: a 30-minute workout is just 2% of your time! It’s 2% of a 24-hour day. Think about all you accomplish in a day… taking 2% of that time to ensure you are healthy and strong is nothing! Getting through an extra 2-, 10- or 30-minutes is not a sacrifice… it’s just a choice that will help you function and feel your best! When you feel your best, you naturally help others feel their best. Your elevation elevates others. Sometimes I hear women say they can’t take the time to workout because it feels selfish… it’s not! A workout gives you strength, energy and positivity to share with others. It’s good for you anyway you look at it!
Mind Trick #3: Think about all the things moving that shouldn’t be
Have fun with this one! We all have a few trouble spots and it’s okay to use them as a positive. This simple thought offers up some powerful motivation to keep it up when the going gets tough. If there’s a part of your body you wish would change, (a few extra rolls on the tummy for example) think about them moving as you move… then visualize your body making structural, positive changes – right there, in that very spot – with every healthy step.
Sometimes you can even say the positive change out loud: “my body is getting stronger”, “my stomach is getting leaner”, “I’m burning more fat”.
Mind Trick #4: Focus on an object
This tip is great for everyone, including kids! If you are running outside, find a tree, a cloud in the sky, a beautiful mountain or something to focus on. With determination, keep your pace and focus on that simple object. Really focus! Think about what the object might feel like, smell like, how big it is up close, or how easily and quickly you are getting closer to it. If you are on a treadmill or elliptical, try focusing on a picture on the wall, the sound of your feet hitting the tread belt, or honing in on a single digit on the console. Just watch that number, even if it’s slowly or quickly changing (with the time, distance, etc.) Watch that one number and forget about the pain/fatigue that is tempting you to quit.
This is something you can try for 15 – 60 seconds. Don’t expect to stare at a static object for an entire workout. Rather, use this as a simple distraction when you feel like quitting. If you can shift your thoughts to something random or unrelated, the urge to quit gets lost in other thoughts and you find yourself getting through your workout.
You can also use a “power song” as your focus object. If you have a killer song that never fails to get you revved up, keep it hidden away and only play it when you feel like quitting! Then when that song starts, you focus on that song and only that song… nothing else.
Mind Trick #5: Smile and think about ONE benefit
This seems cheesy, I know. But it works! So imagine yourself doing a hard exercise, like sprinting or doing power squats, or burpees. When a workout is so hard you want to cry… make yourself smile. Do it! The thought process behind it and simple act of doing it will distract you, uplift you and help you feel positive about positive things for your body, despite the common negative connotations of exercise.
After you make yourself smile… think about ONE benefit to what you are doing. It could be:
· I’m getting stronger!
· I’m going to feel SO GREATwhen I’m done!
· I’m burning off all those extra calories from lunch.
· I can’t wait to go out to dinner with my friends when I’m done.
· I can’t wait until I can take a hot shower after this.
· I’m going to have extra energy today!
· I’m going to feel happier today!