The Mental Side of Things
Here we discuss the role of creating a proper mindset to get the best out of your health and fitness journey.
By Curtis Gee 07/15/2023
When people start a health and fitness journey, they are usually very excited by the tangible aspects of the process. Where and how they are going to exercise, getting new workout gear, finding a workout buddy are all fun and exciting parts of starting the journey- which, I feel, are very valid things to be excited about. I know my workouts gain a little energy when I get a new pair of shoes or workout shirt. But a commonly overlooked part of making a life change is the mental preparation and fortitude it takes to achieve those goals, which is why a lot of plans come up short. Commonly called a mindset, the mental side of fitness is incredibly powerful and important in achieving goals that very few people consider before starting on their journey. So let's talk about it.
A proper mindset isn’t just about wanting something a lot. The mindset of someone who is going to achieve their goal is about consistency and determination, rather than just the immediate energy of something new. Even with a perfectly designed goal, there will be set backs, lack of desire to adhere to the plan, and unforeseen issues that will happen between the start and completion of said goal. A proper mindset will help along the journey when life gets hectic, motivation wanes, and/or the body starts to feel the effects of new effort. A good mindset will know when to push, when to rest, when to change, and when to reevaluate what you are doing. A bad mindset is one that is all or nothing: pushing through every pain or injury or stopping entirely due to a small setback or lapse in nutrition. Life gets busy, your body gets sore, celebrations with food happen. The question is: does your mindset allow for those things to happen while also keeping you on track.
A good mindset always starts with a specific goal with a deadline. Without a properly set goal, there is no way to prepare for what needs to be done. A good goal has 3 main parts: 1) it is desirable (so you actually want to do it), 2) it is achievable (so you can actually do it), and 3) has a deadline (so you know when to check if you need to change or progress). Once you have a goal established, you now need to create a mindset of success.
Look at your goal and how long you have to do it. Is it a reasonable amount of time? What injuries or concerns do you have to consider? Do you have any big events or vacations going on during the time frame that you are working on your goal? How strict do you want to be? How strict are you able to be? These are all very important questions to consider, so you know what setbacks or difficulties you may encounter and will be better prepared to deal with them. On the flip side, why is this goal important to you? How do you measure success? What do you do when you make progress? These questions are important because they will help keep you on track towards ultimately achieving your goal.
Use the answers to these questions to help guide you through the process. If you have or incur an injury, ask yourself what do you need to do about it? Do you need to see a doctor, let it rest, or work around it? What about if you are going out of town; do you pack your own food, shop at your destination, or relax and don’t worry about what you are eating until you get back into town? Life gets busy and you have to work more hours than you expect? How do you let this affect your exercise schedule? Answering these questions and those like will create a successful mindset that can get you through most difficulties that can happen on a health and fitness journey.
While it seems like it might be a smaller part of the journey, the process of creating your mindset can make or break new lifestyle changes. A bad mindset of all or nothing can end a journey before it really gets started and create a feeling of failure when a setback happens. A proper mindset will allow you to avoid or deal with setbacks, allow you to make changes when necessary, understand that it is okay to rest or take a break, and recognize progress in even it’s simplest form. So the next time you plan on making a big change or set a new goal, take some time and really mentally prepare and create a mind set of success.
Written by Curtis Gee, Elite Personal Trainer
Curtis has been teaching, coaching, and educating since before he could drive. Starting with youth and high school sports, leading to teaching and helping at-risk high schoolers graduate, to most recently, working with athletes and adults to achieve their health, fitness, and sporting goals.
When not at the gym training others or working on his own fitness, Curtis is an avid gamer, basketball junkie, and enjoys martial arts movies.