Just a little more! We’ve all heard it and I’m sure we’ve said it to ourselves before as well, but how much is enough? How do you push yourself without going overboard or not enough so you never make progress?
Here are some tips that you can follow to keep you going.
GETTING RID OF DISCOURAGING THOUGHTS
To begin with, a lot of our physical ability and limits comes from the mind as well as the physical. Therefore, in order to keep going, to run that extra mile, to lift that extra set, or to hold that stretch, comes from your mentality. You need to tell yourself that you can. Whenever bad thoughts creep into your mind telling you that you can’t do this, or this is too much, actively ignore them and push them out of your mind.
FOCUS: MIND-MUSCLE CONNECTION
Train your mind to focus on the task at hand. Make yourself aware of what your body is doing and actively engage yourself. Focus on your breathing and your form and constantly repeat to yourself, keep going, you can do this! It really does make a whole lot of difference.
Once you've completed your training, you can feel better about yourself because you’ve managed to accomplish something. This achievement will also help you in your future training sessions, because now you can tell yourself that you’ve done it before so you can do it again. (With the exception to some exercises and stretches, like the middle splits. They are temperamental so you have to listen to your body on the day and not push yourself to where you think you should be.)
Not only do you need to be mentally strong whilst you’re working out. You need to be strong in the long run too. Push yourself to exercise every day for this week, the next week and so on. Tell yourself not to quit. Push laziness out of the way and get up and go before thoughts of a little more rest, or maybe later, or I’ll just skip a day comes to invade your mind. This will help you to see more progress which in turn will give you more drive to get up and exercise.
GET COMFORTABLE WITH THE UNCOMFORTABLE
You need to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. Exercising is hard and not always fun, but you have to feel the burn when you are performing your reps. There’s no point exercising if you are not allowing your body to do the work to gain the benefits that you are hoping to achieve. You’re wasting time otherwise.
Sometimes recognising that you’re only in the gym for an hour or so is good for motivation. Tell yourself at this time in one hour it’ll all be over and I would have completed what I came here to do. You are not exercising for an eternity. Make good use of your time by ensuring that every second counts, you can leave the daydreaming for later. By the end of it you’ll either feel proud of what you’ve done, or guilty knowing what you could have achieved.
JOIN A FITNESS GROUP
If you feel that you need that extra push and guidance, why not consider joining a fitness group or working with a coach, trainer or workout buddy? They can help you with your motivation and they can encourage and push you to reach your limit.
KNOW YOUR TRUE LIMITS
However, despite all of this there is still a physical and mental limit that we all have. Someone who has never ran long distance in their life can’t suddenly pull a Mo Farah and run 10,000 meters in record time just by pushing themselves, only injury awaits. Even though you should feel the burn and get used to slight discomfort during your routine, listen to your body and recognise when you can’t go any further. It is better to do fewer exercises in good form than more in poor form for the sake of pushing yourself. Sometimes you just can’t.
Only you can really know how your body is feeling, but don’t kid yourself when you try to interpret its signs. Don’t think that you’re overdoing it just because one bead of sweat has appeared on your forehead. Be honest with yourself and soon you will see results from your hard work.