When It’s Time To Train, Turn Off Your Brain

Originally published on my self-improvement blog: Growthzer.com.

Before you begin reading, please make sure your workout clothes are washed and prepared because you’re going to train today!

Most of the people I know made at least a few attempts to train regularly. However, the vast majority of them can only commit to working out for a short period of time. Once the emotions caused by motivational videos cool down, their motivation levels go downhill.

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about!

Some time goes by, some new motivational videos get released and some friend makes an unbelievable transformation because he or she committed to training systematically. Motivation spikes. Time to hit the gym again!

So you spend half an hour looking for the best phone wallpaper to keep the drive alive. Let’s go training! You complete a few workouts using the momentum but the next week your ambition suddenly disappears.

Everything seems like a reasonable excuse to put off the next training.

You want a fit body, you want to have shredded abs or a flat stomach, muscular arms or athletic legs. You want to become disciplined, stick to healthy habits and be more active. You really wanna eat healthy too!

But at times, you forget your actual dreams and the desire to eat chocolate and stare at your screen take control over your past decisions. Boom! Once again you do stupid stuff to feel instant pleasure and swim in the ocean of deep regret afterward.

If the above scenario sounds familiar, you can rest assured that you are not alone. It happens to me as well! And in this article, I want to share with you what I learned through my failures and how I overcome the fictional obstacles my mind throws at me when it’s time to get uncomfortable.

Perseverance and consistency do wonders

Imagine all the positive changes you would experience after training 3 times a week for a year. You’d gain more strength, be in a better shape and become incredibly disciplined. Not to mention the waves of glory you’d feel after realizing the year went by and you did it, you finally did it!

But you know all that, you know how amazing it would be, yet you (and many other people) fail to stick to these commitments to achieve long-term success and gratification.

Who’s to blame? Not the bad weather, not too much stress at work or at school and definitely not the lack of time. You take the blame for listening to the biggest naysayer hidden in your head.

The truth is, and it’s something I experienced countless times, you’re both winner and loser. These two characters live in your mind and the one who screams louder wins the battle the influence on you.

I don’t need to change my goals, everything stays exactly the same, except the one detail: I somehow can’t find the winner attitude in my head and begin listening to all the crap the loser serves me.

And suddenly, all my goals feel overwhelming, all my future plans look unrealizable, I feel like I’m getting fat and I want to give up.

The next day, I can wake up energized, I literally feel the huge progress I’ll make today, I hit the gym, I cross off my to-do list successfully, I read great books, I spend my time wisely. Somehow, I even look way leaner than yesterday. Everything seems awesome and I thrive.

This is what happens when you embrace the winner potential that’s hidden in everyone’s brain. Nothing really changes, but as you switch your perspective, you become more positive and driven.

One thing that’s incredibly helpful when it comes to keeping the inner hero alive and excited is physical activity. With every finished workout, you make him more confident and courageous, at the same time weakening and muting the inner loser.

Dampening the inner hater

Here’s what I mean with turning your brain off. I, by no means, want you to become a mindless zombie. Your mind works against you by default. Unless your biggest goal is to waste time and get fat, if that’s the case, it can work according to the plan effortlessly. But if you aim higher, your brain won’t become a huge supporter overnight.

Here are typical thoughts that can go through my head on a day when I plan to hit the gym:

*I don’t feel like working out today*

*hmmm… a rest is important, so maybe I’ll take a day off today and train tomorrow*

*I’m not feeling well so I’ll suck at working ou, I’d rather train when I can give my best*

*I hate the weather, I’d rather stay at home otherwise I risk having a cold and missing more workouts*

And so on, you get the point. In a nutshell: BULLSHIT. In other words, excuses, unreasonable excuses which seem like real barriers but in reality are just fictional.

It’s shame to admit, but I believed in these excuses way too many times. The reason is that I didn’t shut off my brain when it came to training.

3 Straightforward rules

Firstly, you plan your workouts ahead of time. Secondly, you don’t try to be a superhero attempting to train 6 days a week only to realize you can’t even get to the 3rd day. And the last, most important rule: you do the damn workout no matter what dumb excuse comes to your mind.

Yesterday, I absolutely wasn’t in the mood to train. I felt dazed because of the high temperature. On my way to the gym (20-minute walk), my brain spared no effort to convince me it’s the worst idea to train today.

*it’s so hot I can collapse*

*don’t be stupid, giving up training today is just to avoid the risk*

And other, as we already agreed to call it, bullshit. You know what? I had a great time working out. I felt pumped up, strong and motivated. Once I entered the gym, my inner hero woke up and beat the loser unconscious so I could focus on my real goals.

It happened because I finally turned off my brain. It’s a skill you need to adapt to survive months of regular training without giving up over and over again.

Now, don’t get me wrong, you won’t train like a freaking Mr. or Ms. Olympia every single time. Once in a while, you will feel like shit and this is when you need to show up and finish your workout. Even if you feel weaker or no progress, it’s important to stick to your plan.

Tiny improvements do wonders and if you don’t believe me, look at the numbers, they don’t lie.

So each time you push yourself to complete your workout, even if it’s your worst training session ever, you are making progress. Contrariwise, whenever you decide to make a little exception, you automatically lose motivation, decrease your self-discipline and over-all development.

The difference between excuses and real barriers

It’s incredibly easy to differentiate between foolish excuses your mind throws at you and actual problems which complicate your life. If it’s physically possible for you to move to your gym, then not doing so is just an excuse. If it’s raining, you feel tired, you’d rather do it tomorrow and so on, it’s a sign your brain want you to fool around. Ignore the thoughts, and proceed.

On the other hand, when you feel severe pain because of a recurring injury, your grandparents really need your help all of a sudden or some other serious unexpected situation pops up, that’s an acceptable reason, although you should always do your best to move forward even a little bit. If you can’t work out for an hour, go for a 20-minute run. It still counts!

Stop diving into the realm of motivation

Now, if you already got so far (and I hope you didn’t skim the content), it’s time to take action. You know the theory, there’s no need to spend another hour reading stuff that you hope will make you a more disciplined person.

Although reading to learn more and become better is what I highly recommend you to do, remember that there’s no power in knowledge itself. Turning the theory into practice is what makes you your own superhero.

I want to see whether you read helpful stuff on the internet with the intent to take action or just for the sake of reading it, without applying anything new that you learned.

So here’s your homework. Do some physical activity today. It can be running, lifting weights, yoga or even walking in nature or around the city. This time, I’m your personal accountability partner, so once you finish it, let me know about it. I’m serious.

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