Fitness- The Mental Challenge

The real challenge is dealing with how you view yourself.
Human man fat and slim concept in mirror for health or sport

Nobody Finds Exercise Easy.

Before we look at the actual mental process of exercise, I think it’s important to realize that everyone struggles!

If you are not finding the exercise you do challenging, you are probably not pushing yourself to your full potential. As we know potential is wasted without action…

On a personal note.

Most people don’t know this but I used to carry a few too many KG’s from the ages 13 to 16 years old. My own personal weight loss journey was the toughest thing I have had to do, so I deeply respect the process. It took constant motivation, focus and a mental resilience before I reached what I felt was success. (Everyone’s ‘success’ is different). And that’s ok. You can’t keep measuring your success based on other people’s physique or interpretation of fit.

Identifying your pitfalls.


A major part of your fitness journey will be acknowledging what seems to discourage you when it comes to the crunch. (Pun intended).

Here are the 5 things that will help drive you to succeed with your goal(s)

           1.  Mental Exercise Maturity

Sweaty overweight woman catching her breath after a long run. Shallow DOF.

1) Mental agility is probably the biggest part of doing exercise. What does that mean? Well you’ve heard of being mentally strong? It really means that when you push yourself, it’s the point in which you say ‘’that’s enough’’, that’s all the pain I can take’. Each time you go back training your belief or confidence in how much you can push yourself alters. A part from the fact that you are a little fitter, you have the ability to take a little more pain also. This is in my view is the real test of mental exercise maturity.

2. Buy clothes that you love to wear and feel good in.

Fitness accessories with running shoes, sport clothing, drinking water and towel

Do not underestimate how good you can feel just by wearing comfortable clothes. I used to have a favorite cheap cotton t-shirt and old black shorts, which I wore to all my most productive workouts. Wearing the ‘right’ clothes can trigger an elevated focus and association with feeling good, and that’s vital!

3. Learn your body’s user manual

Handsome athletic young man reading book outside sitting on terrace in a summer day

Knowing the difference between different types of pain can be very helpful. You start to know when ‘pushing it’ is the right thing or when it’s causing damage. In either case pain plays an important role in the nervous system. The more you know about it the better. For example, I know that if I get a sharp pain in my knee when squatting, it’s probably not a good pain. My technique might be off. . I recommend doing some soft tissue work to start moving better and without pain. (See for more info).

4. Find a mantra or pre workout routine

This to me is the most important tool to my fitness belt. I will tell myself ‘I can do better’ or ‘’just 10 seconds left’’ or ‘where do I want to be feeling this?’ It could even be an image of how you want to look. Whatever it is, capture that thought and use it when the workout begins.

Everyone reacts differently to pain adherence so what works for some may not for others. Find a slogan or motivational quote or maybe even one word that lifts you when the pain comes. Some people close their eyes when they ‘feel the burn’. I recommend picking a point on the wall and focus on the areas you want worked.

5. Use The 1-10 System: Stay Honest

Keep It Real Concept

I always get feedback from my gym members during and after each and every workout. We use a 1-10 scale. 1 meaning, you are not feeling like you worked out hard, and 10 meaning you can barely stand you are so tired.

This is a great way to adapt training to your specific needs and equally to keep you honest with yourself. This goes hand in hand with the points 1 and 3.

At the end of it all you need to have fun and enjoy the experience. yes it will be tough, yes you are going to ask why are you doing this to yourself. But I believe going through the process will yield unmanageable results in ways you never knew were possible. It can affect many areas in your life other than fitness.


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