The Three Secrets to a Good Workout: Mental Training, Self-talk & Visualization

The Three Secrets to a Good Workout: Mental Training, Self-talk & Visualization

by Body Complete Rx

There are two minutes left on the clock. You’ve officially done 15 burpees, it’s time to push for the last 5. Do you stop and say that’s enough, or do you carry on until the sweaty end? As you begin wracking your brain trying to find a reason to call it quits or to conjure the strength to finish the last five, think of this article.


Beginning Mental Training

Everybody doesn’t think the same, and thus fitness motivators vary greatly. So while one solution may not work for everyone, a solid set of guidelines, never seem to hurt. 

Mental training requires self-awareness. During any kind of workout, there will be frequent moments when you need to correct unproductive thoughts. And then there must be a desire to find ways to proactively prevent intrusive thoughts. 
Keeping a fitness journal is one way to find your path to growing mental stamina. Use your journal in any number of ways:

  • Set goals 
  • Visualize a fitness training session step-by-step
  • Reflect on what unproductive thoughts came up and why they may have happened. 
  • Give yourself praise for pushing through moments of self-doubt.
  • Set new and challenging goals for life. 
  • Map your wellness journey.
  • Hold yourself accountable. 

Self-Talk and the Quality of Your Workout

Science has found that words are so powerful they can cue a motor function response. “I can do it,” is a rather generic example, but it works for some. Think about it. How many times have you encouraged yourself to keep going during a training session but then almost immediately quit? Everyone tries for at least a little while longer. 

Words are powerful motivators, especially the ones we say to ourselves. Self-talk can help anyone overcome doubts and accomplish what once seemed overwhelmingly hard.

Self-regulation techniques, such as encouraging self-talk, successfully increase motivation. Although “working on how you talk to yourself” may seem like a whimsical approach, it’s a proven sport psychology method. During the last minutes of a grueling workout, a person who wants to finish might tell themselves a phrase or word to boost their motivation—and it will work. 

Think about what thoughts are crossing your mind when you're pushing through the last half of training. If your self-talk is made up of various reasons why you should allow yourself to stop before the workout is complete, you’ll eventually convince yourself.  

Visualize Success 

Imagery is another way to finish an intense workout. With this technique, you’ll  visualize moving flawlessly through each exercise. Before you begin, you'll need to believe visualization has an effect, or this motivational trick can’t work. 

Find Time to Turn Your Brain Off

Don't let a couple of moments of weakness define you. You're human. Being kind to yourself is so important. Think about it this way; too much self-criticism may prevent you from continuing a workout program. 

You have to be mentally tough when facing a messy situation, but at the same time be willing to learn from the mistakes made.


Too Long Didn’t Read?

The best way to train mental toughness is to immediately address unproductive behavior and thought patterns. Replace “I can’t” language with “I can.” Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, focus on how many milestones you’ve already hit. And if you do throw in the towel, with one clean and press left to do, that’s okay too.