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How to Power Through an Intense Workout

When the going gets tough, the tough grit their teeth and keep pushing harder!

Exercise is intended to push your body hard, get you breathing hard and sweating, and force your cardiovascular system and muscles to work at full capacity. That's the only way you get results in the long run.

We all have those moments when we feel like quitting mid-set or taking a quick break. Try these tips to help you power through even the most intense workouts without giving up.

Find a mantra. Mantras are a highly effective form of self-hypnosis. Telling yourself "I can do this" over and over increases the chance that you will actually be able to do it. Plus, focusing on the mantra takes your mind off your fatigue and pain.

Change it up. Monotony can be the enemy of progress. If you want to get through an intense workout, change up the pace. Go from a standard resistance training sequence into a HIIT circuit, then back again. Or throw some cardio, spinning, or even martial arts into the mix. The more variety in your workout, the less risk you'll end up bored.

Work with a trainer. Sometimes, all you need is someone to hold you accountable and push you beyond what you believe you're capable of. A trainer will be able to spot your "breaking point" and get you there, even when you don't think you can make it. Plus, they'll be there to offer encouragement when you feel like quitting.

Break it down. Every marathon is run one step at a time! If you're running, break down your long-distance goal into smaller, bite-sized chunks. If you're lifting weights, focus on hitting one or two reps at a time. Breaking your efforts down into manageable goals is the best way to keep going until the end.

Work out with someone else. Having a friend or workout buddy not only keeps you accountable but adds the competitive element to your workout. Sometimes, a bit of competition is all you need to keep you going instead of giving up.

Distract yourself. Take your mind off your pain or fatigue by listening to awesome music, watching TV while you sprint, or reading/listening to a good book. Distracting yourself from your exertion can help to extend your endurance.

Love the burn. When you feel that fire in your muscles, THAT is when you actually start getting results (hitting muscular failure leads to better muscle growth). Remember that as you work out, and lean into that pain. Embrace it, welcome it, and push for it.

Do the same thing in a new way. Tired of lifting weights? Do push-ups instead of Bench Presses, Pull-Ups instead of Pull-Downs, and Squat Jumps instead of Back Squats. Bored of those slow three-mile runs? Tackle some hill sprints, stair runs, or try sprint training at your local track. Get off the spinning bike and explore the great outdoors instead. Doing the same workout in a new way can help you to push beyond your limits of endurance and target new muscles.

In the end, it all comes down to "mind over matter". As long as your mind is engaged, it will be able to force your body to keep working, no matter what.

[Image via Shutterstock]

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