Mental Tricks for Hard Workouts

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Some workouts give you so much energy and they are so satisfying you end up wondering why don’t you work out more often. But there are also days in which you would do anything to quit midway through. This article is about those days and how can you pass those critical days and keep going using these great mental tricks.

Carrie Cheadle, MA, a mental skills coach and co-author of “Rebound: Training Your Mind to Bounce Back Stronger from Sports Injuries.” affirms: “Sometimes, you need a lot of tools to be able to get through certain workouts,”. it’s a good idea to have multiple tools in your toolbox because mental tricks work better for some workouts than others.

Take stock of the big rocks that contribute to your overall health (nutrition, sleep and hydration) before using any of these mental tools. Sometimes, the reasons you are dragging in your workout are mental, not physical. Cheadle says: “Sometimes, we’ll have an emotional reaction, but it’s your body trying to tell you that you need to drink more or you need to eat,”.

Try one (or all) of these mental tricks to help you get through tough workouts assuming your nutrition, sleep and hydration are all on-point.

Music helps you exercise longer

Music can help you exercise longer — and harder research shows. Middle-aged patients who listened to music while undergoing a cardiac stress test (treadmill exercise test that may be used to diagnose heart problems or gauge a safe level of exercise) were able to last a full minute longer — and exercise more intensely — than patients who didn’t listen to music, according to a 2018 study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

It’s great to have a role-model

When you feel you’re on the verge of quitting, think about a person you admire. It could be a childhood superhero, a professional athlete, a family member or the type of person you aspire to be. Put yourself in that person’s shoes. How would that person approach this workout when they’re feeling tired?” You’ll be able to make the best decision and feel a higher degree of motivation.

Find the best incentive

Put yourself on the hook by paying for an exercise class in advance so you have more incentive to go if you prefer not to work out with friends. Recruit a friend to go with you if you’re struggling to get out the door to do your workout in the first place. One of the things I always ask people is, what will make it more likely for you to get in your workout?” Cheadle says. 

How do you find your motivation when you’re not in the mood to exercise? What mental tricks do you practice? Which ones work best for you?

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