Doing mental toughness exercises prior to working out can help you get the most out of your fitness regimen. Mental toughness is a common trait of competitive athletes; it is often a large piece of what sets them apart from the competition. Relying on the same strategies that athletes use, you can heighten the benefits of your daily workout. Here are three mental toughness exercises that you can do daily:
1. Positive Affirmations Prior to Exercise
Positive thoughts will increase your energy level. You might notice this in your daily life; when you are feeling sad or negative, you often have less motivation or strength to get through your day. Telling yourself that you are out of shape and not as strong or flexible as you used to be can rob you of necessary energy. On the other hand, positive thoughts create enthusiasm and excitement.
Prior to exercise, take yourself through a series of positive self-affirmations. Think about your unique skills and abilities. It may be that you have strong legs which help you to bike up a steep hill. Maybe you are in excellent cardiovascular shape and are able to endure an advanced aerobics class with ease. It might be that you have natural flexibility that makes some movements easier for you to do in comparison to the average person. Make a list of your positive traits related to exercise and keep them in mind before you begin your daily workout regimen.
2. Visualize Success
One of the strategies that competitive athletes use is to visualize success before they begin competing. You can apply this same principle to your exercise regimen. If your goal is to swim 10 laps, for example, close your eyes and visualize yourself doing this. If the last time you went to the pool you experienced difficulty near the eighth lap, visualize that lap and picture yourself pushing through the challenge to achieve your ultimate goal.
3. Replace Negative Thoughts with Positive Thoughts
A challenge that is common for anyone who is striving to achieve a physical goal is focusing on weaknesses and failures. You might have just started running and noticed that your ankles hurt and that you are breathing heavy after half a mile of being out there. The tendency might be to focus on that as a failure and beat yourself up for not being in better shape. Mental toughness in this situation involves consciously avoiding negative thoughts about failure during exercise, and replacing those thoughts with positive ones.
The next time you go out to run, for example, you might reward yourself with the positive thought that you did actually get out there again despite your previous discomfort. You might notice that you are actually able to run a farther distance than you did before. Reward yourself with positive thoughts each time about the things that you're doing right. You will find that this positive energy gives you extra strength and motivation to continue and push through the difficult times.