by Matt Weik
A common reason why many people quit exercising is that they aren’t mentally prepared for the tireless and exhausting work that needs to be done in order to see the results they desire. They think that by simply showing up the results will follow – if only it worked that way! In order to get results, you need to be willing to push your body to the limit as well as strengthen your mind. A strong mind is much more powerful than strong muscles. Let me explain.
Your mind is a terrible thing to waste
There are so many different training protocols out there today ranging from time-under-tension (TUT), to mind-muscle connection (MMC), to train-to-failure (TTF), and everything in between. While these techniques are all amazing for building quality lean muscle mass, your brain can hinder and even limit your results. How can that be if the muscles are what’s doing the work? It’s actually a simple concept if you’ve done any type of resistance training before – it’s pain and physical exhaustion.
Your muscles are going to say “hey, I’m tappin’ out… I’m exhausted.” But, if you truly want to get the best results, you can’t listen to the signal your muscles are sending to your brain. Now, I’m not telling you to put yourself in a compromising situation where you can injure yourself. What I’m saying is that you’re going to have to push past that signal if you truly want to break down the muscle fibers and allow them to grow and repair to be larger and stronger.
The limiting factor
Your mind can be the limiting factor if you give in to the signals that your muscles are telling you. With TUT, MMC, TTF, you need to strengthen your mind to fully get the benefits from those styles of training. If not, you will tap out too early before the muscles are TRULY fatigued. You need to push past the pain. Past the exhaustion. Past the lactic acid burn deep in your muscle bellies. Once you get used to pushing past that stimulus, you will strengthen your mind and be able to push yourself harder and harder in the gym.
When you aren’t working on pushing your brain and training it to take the sensation and signal it’s receiving and push it deep down to allow you to squeeze out a few more reps, you aren’t truly strengthening your mind and your workouts and results can suffer.
The easy route is to give in and give up. But, if you want results and to test yourself and your strength, you’ll need to strengthen your mind. The gym isn’t just a place where you build your body. You’re building mental strength, commitment, dedication, persistence, and turning physical exertion into physical and mental growth.