Picture from Massive Overhaul.
As humans, we can't stop thinking about things. Thoughts come into your head every second and every minute of the day. They are also what determine what we want to do and what we end up doing.
Even a thought is required to get you to start training. So what we think is indeed pretty important. The purpose of this article is to provide with you the most suitable thought processes to be put in place especially when you are doing something physically streneous and you would not want to let one single thought ruin your training session or even worse, cause an injury.
Thought Process 1 - How Do You Feel Today.
This is really important because it determines your desire to train. It is very popular among Strength & Conditioning coaches to use this as one of the tools to monitor fatigue and mood levels of their athletes as it gives an indication of what the intensity will be like.
For the everyday person, the desire to train is influenced by many more factors such as work and personal matters. So thinking about this sets the tone for your upcoming training session. Go through this regularly as it changes even within the hour.
For example, you may be on your way to your gym and you just had a crap day at work. However, you get in the car and suddenly think about yourself having a good training session or listen to a track that pumps you up. Immediately, you change your desire to train despite the crap day at work because of that single thought of knowing you are going to have a good session today at training.
Thought Process 2 - Set A Target For Your Session.
Be it squats or cleans or any other exercise, always set yourself a target for the session. Whether it's the number of reps or the weight you lift, if you prepare yourself and have the thought of hitting your target, you are more likely to get it. This is also what a structured training program is for. It allows you to prepare your mind to get a heavy lift done or complete a workout.
This comes from a real-life example I experienced myself. As a weightlifter, we try for maximal lifts pretty often as set in our program. So on the days that I know I will be going for maximal lifts, I would give myself a target.
The last time I went for a maximal squat, I thought of 155kg (with my previous PB being 150kg). So when I actually squatted, 150kg was easy because I already told myself I will be going to 155kg no matter what. the 155kg came with abit of a struggle but I still got it. However, the next time I tried for a maximal, I did not set any expectations for myself. And I still did 150kg comfortably but when I tried for 160kg, I did not get it because I had not prepared myself for it. The thought in my mind was more like "Alright, that's cool, never tried it before so might as well go and give it a shot." rather than "That's what I intended to do anyway so it's going to be easy!". So preparing yourself in the mind for a session makes a difference in the outcome of the session.
Thought Process 3 - Be Inspired
Before every training session, you should think of or even do something that inspires you to train hard. This relates back to the first thought process of how you are feeling on a daily basis. You got to prepare yourself for an excellent session, hence do things that will get you all fired up.
This can be in the form of listening to heavy metal or techno music, or even just watching YouTube videos to gain a mental picture of your training session. Anything that would spark that fire in your mind to really put in that effort for training. You could even think of someone that matter dearly to you.
For example, I am an advocate at these three things I do each time before a session.
- Firstly, I'll have music in my ears to psych myself up for training. Plus it's a long journey for me to my training venue, I get the chance to shift myself into the mood for training.
- Secondly, I always try to picture myself doing a successful lift (the imagery study I participated in taught me that, so boys at Phoenix, if you are reading this, it works somehow!) and that helps me increase my motivation to train. I do the YouTube video thing as well before my competitions to leave that mental picture in my mind of a good lift.
- Lastly, I always think of each lift being dedicated to someone important. Be it my grandma, my significant other, or any of my family members, I tell myself I do it for them. That motivates me more to do it right for that person that inspires me.
Keep these three thought processes going before each training session and you will notice how prepared and different your training sessions will be! The motivation level and ability to repeatedly have good training sessions will be higher than ever expected.
Stay Strong and Keep on Thinking,
The Training Geek.