Mindful gym tips to get past the ditch of mediocrity.

Author: Mary Ann Marsala

The expression, “I don’t have time to train”, has an unfavourable effect on prospective gym clientele. Life tends to get in the way of whatever you want to do. To believe that a lack of ‘time’ is responsible for why you cannot train sufficiently misses the point. The issue is firstly a failure to set and act upon a clear set of practical goals. This is coupled with the need to develop a discipline of mental toughness and steadfast persistence to complete your personal fitness journey.  When your mind is clear and focused, a strong body will follow. I can assure you that a strong mind is rewarding. You will be eager to perform your workout and importantly, this discipline will serve you outside of the gym.  Below, are practical tips on how to plan your activities, expand your horizons and move beyond your existing wall of mediocrity.

1. Envision success and establish a tangible goal:
Before you can actually plan a specific goal you must generate an image in your mind as to what it is you’d like to achieve in your personal fitness journey. I suggest that once you have an image in your mind, write out the specific goal; this further legitimizes your desired ambition. Also, writing out your goal, serves as a reminder for you to remain driven and focused when you are faced with challenges. Daydreaming never hurt anyone. Spend some time each day thinking about your established goals and imagine how you will feel once you have accomplished them.

2. Strategize your steps:
Once you have a well-defined image of your goal and what you expect to achieve, logical steps must be taken so you remain committed and persistent. In sports science, there is the theory of ‘periodization’; this is where you systematically plan your training program to yield favourable outcomes and achieve your stated training goals; The same can be said about the goal you have envisioned in your mind. You must break it down into small manageable steps and determine how you will accomplish each step.

3. When adversity strikes:
When the going is tough, you have to get tougher. Though you have a concrete goal, adversity can thwart your best efforts. This is where mental toughness serves you well. How to benefit from the challenge of adversity is what will save you from being mediocre. When difficulties arise it is important to surround yourself with people who share the same values as you. Contrary influences will only add to the difficulties you face and take away the energy required to accomplish your daily plan of action. Note that words are powerful tools that contribute to the formation of your goals. Be mindful of the language you are using and the language you choose to surround yourself with. Instead of utilizing self-defeating words, i.e. “I hope I have time to go to the gym today”, change it with constructive thoughts, i.e. “I will make time for the gym today”. Such positive affirmations will eventually become automatic and your mind will adapt so that questions or doubt are unable to prevent you from getting on with your tasks.

4. Get out of your comfort zone:
Know your body. When you are presented with the need for change, it is easy to remain stagnant. Do not be afraid to adjust. Understand that pushing for change is moving things in the right direction. Acknowledge that you are not perfect and you will face dilemmas but do not fear to act. Through courage and wisdom solutions will arise. When it comes to diet, supplementation and training you need to figure out what is working well for you and what isn’t. Some examples of this would be diet logs, training programs or photographs. Much of your process will be trial and error; the more you begin to understand your body and what it needs the closer you are to achieving your goal.

5. Have a thirst for knowledge:
A fundamental aspect of changing your behaviour is to constantly sharpen your thinking. You will be much more passionate about your goals and your will to achieve them. Strengthen your body and mind through disciplined learning. Hire a coach, attend seminars, take a course or read literature on the sport you are interested in; the more knowledge we have, the better equipped we are at achieving our goals; we are able to make better decisions about what is right for our body with regards to coaching, training, diet and supplementation.


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