Mental Fitness is the key to obtaining physical fitness. Most people neglect this area as there's aesthetic. Once you realize the results you can achieve by having the mental edge you'll break through all your barriers. Here are some great tips to help you create the mental edge.
1. Combine the things you love
Take a date on a run or a cycle around a park followed by a healthy protein rich picnic. Get the family to the beach, kick a ball and do sprints chasing after it. The trick to more fitness is integration. The more you combine fitness with everyday activities the less exhausting and time consuming it will be.
2. Switch the order you do your exercises
Starting your routine with isolation moves (like triceps pushdowns) that you usually do after your muscles are exhausted, this makes it easier to use more weight. This will leave you feeling stronger than usual giving you the psychological boost needed to keep exercising at a high intensity for the rest of the session.
3. Put your stats in a public place
Write up this week's body fat, bench press max, body weight - what ever is relevant to you. Put it in a place where everyone can see it - no need to put it in people's faces. It could be a tiny slip of paper on the company notice board, in the office kitchen or on your family fridge so your kids can see it. Aim to improve those results each week. Got balls? Then write something cheesy on the scrap of paper that has your results and you'll be ridiculed at first. The up side is that this will draw attention to your motivational plight and spur people to ask you questions about it, which you can turn to your advantage when your results start to improve.
4. Trick yourself into going for just 12 minutes
On days when you don't feel worse than an addict going cold turkey make the only requirement of your exercise session very small and undemanding. Think of doing a single set of your favourite exercise. Once you've started, you'll probably finish. If you still don't feel like training then go home - you've lost nothing. This way, you never actually stop exercising; you just have some gaps in your training log.
5. Imagine what the muscles you are working look like
Studies show that you get 30% more strength in the arms of people who imagined their muscle fibres flexing while doing a bicep curl. This technique primes the nerves for the task, which helps you get more power and bigger guns.
6. Ask a mate to be brutally honest with you
Swallow your pride and get your training partner to tell you what muscle groups are your weaknesses. Don't get naked anything, just tell him not to hold back then sit back and take it on the chin. This will crack the whip. If you're really brave ask your missus what she likes and dislikes about you. Make the body part that got the lowest ratting the focus of your workout for the next 2 months then repeat the quiz for more motivation.
7. Get more than one gym partner
When people are watching, you push yourself harder. In fact a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that you'll be able to bench-press 41 lbs more in front of spectators than if you were alone. If the audience encouraged the lifter, the effect was greater. Bring your entourage next time you go for your max bench press.
8. Sign up for an event
This is a long-standing and simple way of kick starting your motivation. Sign up for 10K race, cycling meet or a fitness challenge. This gives you the end date where your training has to finish and will help you focus your attention towards a definitive goal and date. When the end is in sight the journey becomes easy.
9. Imagine the exercise before you do it
Former Mr Olympia Frank Zane was a big fan of this and he is credited with having the most symmetrical physique ever. Visualise how each rep will feel like and the real time it will take you to struggle through them. Studies in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology found that blokes practicing this kind of imagery increased their lifts by up to 10%. Complete the task in your mind and it'll be a synch when you're under the bar.
10. Link exercise to your longevity
Check your cholesterol. Then set a goal of lowering your LDL cholesterol by 20 points and increasing your HDL cholesterol by 5 points. You'll decrease your risk of heart disease while providing yourself with a very important, concrete goal. Ask your doctor to write a prescription for new blood work in a month. You'll just have to go to the lab, and the doctor will call you with the results.
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