Oftentimes the mental task of working out can be far greater than the physical stress that we put our bodies through day after day.
“This is going to hurt so bad”
“I have to do HOW MANY burpees!?”
“There’s no way I can do that”
“My last time was 5:03, there’s no way that I can beat that today”
“I have a weird pain in my left forearm, it doesn’t really hurt but I can feel it. Maybe I should take a rest day.”
All of this negative self talk can and does take a toll on your workouts. The worst is when you let that little negative Nancy inside of you win and you don’t even come to the gym.
Most of my negative self talk stems from the fear of the workout itself. I have dealt with anxiety my whole life and one place in particular that it flares up, as maybe it does for more of us, is before a workout. Usually my thoughts are, “ugghhh, this is going to hurt. I really don’t want to do this. Maybe I’ll do it later.” And we all know too well that later very easily turns into never.
One of my tricks for when these negative thoughts start to creep into my head is..
Tell yourself to take it easy.
I do it all the time and surprisingly, it works.
My self talk when I’m trying to get those negative thoughts out of my head goes something like this – “Ok, I’m going to do this workout but I’m not going to worry about my result at all. I’ll go as slow as I want. I’ll take breaks whenever I need. It will be over in 15 min and then I’ll be glad that I did it. If I cave into the negative thoughts, I’ll hate myself for the rest of the day.”
Believe it or not this really works, for me at least, to calm those pre-workout jitters.
And honestly, once the 3..2…1…go! comes I forget all about the negative and positive self talk and it’s business as usual.
Knowing that others have the same thoughts before working out can help to bring some calm to your mental game as well. There’s an old saying in CrossFit that “if you’re not scared of your workout, you’re not working hard enough.” I believe that. Just don’t let that fear keep your from working out at all!