TRAINING FOR MENTAL TOUGHNESS
Let’s face it, most of us are exercising for our physical goals. There is so much more that can come from training, however. Training for mental toughness! You can become the strongest or the fittest individual, but if you are mentally weak, how will you deal with what life throws at you? That is what this blog is about: training for life!
You have to realize that when you train for mental toughness, you will be your own worst enemy. You are going to have to curve your thought process. Most people, throughout the day, will mentally drain themselves by procrastinating or finding excuses as to why they can miss their mentally challenging training session. An excuse is an excuse. There may be legitimate reasons for missing a workout but do not use your age, time, fatigue or soreness as an excuse. In fact, when you complete a miserable workout at your lowest and most tired is when you will get the most mental strength out of your time. Your mind can get you to do inconceivable things.
Just as you train your muscles to get stronger, you must train your will, or perseverance to get stronger. One of the best ways to activate your will is to train. Your mind will give up sooner than your body; it is the weak point. Create a strong will and you will do more than you thought you could.
Being mentally tough in the gym will translate to your daily life. You should not think of your strength in terms of only what you can do in the gym. Just as you activate your will in the gym, you will activate it outside of the gym. If your will becomes relentless in the gym, it will become relentless outside of the gym. It is indifferent to the situation; whether it is setting a PR in the gym or facing a life threatening situation. It will bring forth the fury of your mental strength. You must let your will do the same thing for either situation. Be relentless and overcome the mess you are in. By training your will often in the gym, it will become readily available to be called on at all times.
How do we train for mental strength? It’s not easy and sacrifices must be made. You have to be prepared to do what is uncomfortable for you and you must develop extreme discipline. Instant gratification will have to be delayed with your mind set on the future reward. Separate yourself from the general population who disregard the future reward for instant satisfaction. This is practiced in the gym and outside the gym; someone who overeats disregards the future, an addict disregards the future, someone who stays in their comfort zone in training disregards the future.
What kind of training does it take? The good thing is, you don’t have to scrap your regular training protocol. You can just add at least one mental strength training session in a week. They are not long, maybe as short as 3 minutes, but they are very mentally challenging. Here are some examples:
- 8 for 15: Grab an 8 rep squat weight and don’t rack it until you have gotten 15. Rest only by standing there with the bar on your back.
- 12 for 20: Pick a weight your normally use for 12 on the squat and don’t rack it until you get 20.
- 3-2-1 back squats: With 35-50% of max, squat as many reps as you can in 3 minutes without racking the weight. Take a 2 minute break and then do as many reps again as you can in 2 minutes. Take a 1 minute break and then do as many reps as you can in 1 minute.
- Pushup + Prowler: 20 pushups and then prowler push, only take 5 deep breaths between each, keep going until you drop below 10 pushups or you can no longer move the prowler.
- Front squats + Prowler: Do a heavy set of 6 reps, go right into the prowler, 3 times through with no rest.
- Tire flips = Sledge hammer: Tire flips down and back, right into 15 sledge hammer hits. Do 3 sets with no rest.
Those are just some examples of mentally challenging routines that you can do anytime. First, try to do something like this once a week. You can do your own thing, just make sure it challenges you mentally. They will be hard but once you can knock these out by keeping your mind energized when your body wants to give up – you are on your way to becoming mentally tough!