Some workouts feel so satisfying they remind us why we exercise in the first place. But, there are days when all we want to do is call it quits midway through.
On these days, it is useful to have a variety of mental tricks ready to keep you going.
Assuming your nutrition, sleep and hydration are all on-point, try these mental tricks to help you get through tough workouts.
AMP YOUR PLAYLIST
Research shows music can help you exercise longer and harder. Middle-aged patients who listened to music while undergoing a cardiac stress test (treadmill exercise test that may be used to diagnose heart problems) were able to last a full minute loner and exercise more intensely in comparison to patients who did not listen to music.
Fill our workouts with a playlist of songs that give you energy. Have songs on there that when you hear them, you feel the energy in your body. When you hit a speed bump during your workout and need motivation to keep pushing, put on a song from your playlist that makes you smile or nod.
TAP INTO YOUR ALTER-EGO
When the workout gets intense, for some of us, all you can think is stopping. When this moment presents itself, channel an inner diva.
How would your alter-ego approach this workout when they are feeling tired? Consider how that person would act, move and even talk. Then, imitate. This gives you permission to make a different decision in the moment that you want to quit.
GET A SWOLEMATE
If you lack the motivation to get exercising, workout with a friend. Having a workout buddy holds you accountable to show up and train.
Plus, training with a friend can be fun and time will fly.
SET AN END POINT
When you are in the middle of an intense workout, and you hear that inner voice screaming at you to stop, that is your brain coping with the energy demands of working at that pace.
To calm that voice begging you to quit, give yourself an endpoint.
Tell yourself: “Only 5 more reps to go.” or “Keep cardio-ing for 1 more minute.” You are giving yourself a directive to keep going, but you are also helping your body understand you do not need to put out that much energy indefinitely.
FILL IN THE MENTAL SPACE
Another way to distract your mind from what it is doing during long and intense workouts is fill your mental space with a repetitive mantra.
You can count your steps or pedal strokes or repeat a positive directive like “Go, go, go” to the rhythm of your steps or pedal strokes. Your brain will be too distracted to think about stopping. What you are doing is forcing something into your information processing center so it does not have room to process negative thoughts.