You walk into the gym or you pick up your phone to check the blog for the WOD. What are you thinking when you read it? What thoughts are running through your head as you drive to the gym? In the middle of a workout when the sweat is flowing and your muscles are burning, what are you thinking?Why does this matter? You mind is a powerful weapon and the impact of it cannot be underestimated.
The main guest on Barbell Shrugged podcast episode 153 was Joe de Sena, founder of the Spartan Race, a guy who is constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible and who has been the first to dive into a freezing cold lake to search for someone lost on one of the Spartan Race courses.
In amongst the various gems of knowledge that appeared throughout the show de Sena talked about an experiment that he did on a group of volunteers during one of his races. The volunteers were split into groups of four and tasked to cover 12 miles – the only problem being that each group were given two pieces of wood to use as ‘skis’ and they all had to be walking on them the whole time. Half the groups were given a positively themed message to memorise as they walked, whilst half the groups were given a negatively themed message to memorise.
Guess which groups covered the 12 miles through the woods and over the hills faster? The groups who had the positive message to memorise. What was the only difference between the groups? The theme of the message they were repeating over and over in their minds.
So, what does this mean for you in the gym on a day to day basis? If you focus on something positive then you can achieve more than if you focus on something negative. For example, you read the workout and see 100 wall balls in there – should you focus on how you know your legs and lungs will be burning, or should you focus on how you can demonstrate how your extra mobility and conditioning work has paid off? Should you focus on how the 50kg barbell feels like 150kg after you’ve just run 400m or should you be focusing on how you just ran 400m without stopping and when you started 3 months ago that run would’ve become a walk? Should you drive/walk/ride to the gym dreading the next hour of your life because you know you’re going to work hard or do you be thankful for the opportunity to do so?
How could this attitude be related to other parts of your life? If you’re eating natural, unprocessed foods to support your health and fitness goals, do you focus on all the cakes and sweets that you’re choosing not to eat or focus on how much more energy you have on a daily basis and how much your sleep has improved? Which scenario do you think leads to more adherence to your chosen ‘diet’? Remember that you are in total control of what you are thinking, and if you use a positive frame of mind you may well achieve more in less time than you thought you were capable of.