Mental Strength

mental strengthI know I post a lot about physical strength, but I don’t necessarily always call out mental strength.  Yes, pushing play is important but I do think your mental strength matters a lot when you’re working out.  You can either give it your all or just go through the motions, and your results will reflect that.

What Does Tony Say About Mental Strength?

If you’re a P90X grad, then you’re probably familiar with this quote from Tony Horton, “Too many people stop way before they should.”  It might not stand out to you that much at first, but this quote really struck me.  What’s he talking about?  He’s talking about people’s mental strength.  Do you push yourself or do you stop when it starts getting uncomfortable?

If you’re doing P90X, do you do as many push-ups as you can or do you leave some left in the tank and stop early?  If you’re doing Insanity, do you take a lot of breaks?  Don’t get me wrong, taking breaks is fine and you probably need to at first.  But how hard do you push yourself before you take that break and how long is the break?  It’s really easy with programs like Insanity, Asylum and Asylum Volume 2 to take it easy and not give it your all.  You really have to be determined to keep pushing when you’re tired to make sure you get the most out of the workout.

Why Mental Strength Is Important

I bring up the topic of mental strength really because I think it’s important for you to consider where you’re at.  I see people on message boards and forums saying that they aren’t seeing any results from their program while other people are crushing it and seeing phenomenal results.  I think mental strength comes into play there.  How can someone honestly get through an entire 60 days of Insanity, really pushing themselves and sticking to the nutrition plan and not see results?

In my opinion it’s either the fact that they cheat on their nutrition plan too much and aren’t being quite honest there, or they’re not pushing themselves hard enough.  They’re not really going as hard as they could and they’re taking too many breaks that are too long.  To me it almost always has to be one of the two.  It’s easy to think you’re getting a good workout in but in actuality not really be working that hard if you take too many long breaks.

If you want to really see your body change, you’re going to have to challenge it.  If you’re doing resistance training, like P90X or ChaLEAN Extreme, you have to make your last 3 reps hard as Tony would say.  You have to pick a weight, that makes it difficult to get all your reps in.  So if you’re going for 10 reps, if you’re not struggling on 8,9 and 10, then you have too light of a weight.  You need to struggle with those last reps, that’s where most of the change is going to occur.  If you lift like that, you will get stronger and improve over time.

If you’re doing some High Intensity Interval Training, like Insanity or TurboFire, you can’t wait in your breaks until you completely regain your breath.  That would be too long of a break.  You’re going to be out of breath when you’re doing the moves, you have to keep pushing yourself.  That’s how you get better and that’s going to force your body to change.  Shaun T’s favorite line is “The work doesn’t start until you get tired.

How Mentally Strong Are You?

I meant this to be a gut check for all of you out there.  Are you challenging yourself?  Or are you giving up too early?  Are you really putting in the work to make your body change and see results?  These programs work, believe me.  There are thousands of amazing transformations out there.  Those people have pushed themselves and didn’t give up when things started to get tough.  So pay attention to this during your workouts this week, and push yourself to do one more rep or go a little longer.

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