Mims’ Blog | Unlikely Mental Tips for The Newly Trained
If you’ve been following my blog entries, you know that I’m not going to smother you with inspirational quotes and Instagram-worthy recipes. This blog is intended for people like me: those having a hard time coming to terms with their current physical ability, perhaps still negotiating the idea of joining a fitness boutique and how to combine training with their often-busy-sometimes-lazy schedule.
I’ve found that the mental aspect of training can greatly affect the physical one, and WHO YOU ARE – not WHAT YOU ARE – at any given day, can make or break your motivation. The following tips have made a big difference in how I perceive myself while I train at Next Level AMS in Amstelveen. I hope these can help you too in better understanding yourself, and mediating space for the new change in your life.
1. Shake Off the Shakes
Years ago, when I practiced Yoga, I was told not to let my shaking muscles deter me. Some positions utilized muscles that were not normally isolated and strained, while other positions worked on balance and posture. This resulted in my body shaking, as I struggled to hold the pose. This can also happen when you begin training at a gym and may leave you feeling discouraged. Luckily, back then, one of my Yoga instructors told me that this wasn’t necessarily the result of weakness, but rather a lack of muscle memory, meaning the position was unfamiliar and so my muscles responded with dread.
Shaking muscles can signal a lack of confidence in the new movement that our bodies are performing. This can also happen after healing from an injury, when the muscles have been immobile for a while.
Once we repeat the activity a couple of times, a sense of ease overcomes us and we stop shaking, even if our physical ability is the same. Knowing this greatly boosted my confidence, and indeed I stopped shaking almost immediately. Remind yourself that you’re learning how to move your body in new ways, and by the next training session you’ll already be a veteran. This is a great tip to keep in mind to forgive any symptoms which may discourage you.
2. Talk to Your Personal Trainer About Your NeedsI’ve been training for several weeks now, and have found out that I HATE performing exorcises aimlessly. Let me explain: If my Personal Trainer doesn’t give me specific goals – “Perform 10 of these, 20 of those, then repeat” – I feel as though my suffering will never end! Perhaps some people would rather focus on the exorcise without giving the numbers much thought, but this hasn’t worked well for me. When I know what I’m striving for I become more motivated.
I’ve discovered another pet peeve: When a Personal Trainer waltzes around me, trying to motivate me with lengthy slogans. I find it distracting and ever so slightly claustrophobic, while I’m lifting weights and
debating my life choices. I prefer conversing in between, and not while I’m actually huffing and puffing.
But hey, that’s just me. Find out what distracts and what motivates you, and make it clear to your PT.
They won’t be offended, but rather content that you’re vocal about your needs to keep you focused and committed.
3. Don’t Be the Best – Be the Best YOU Can
You might be wrongly pressuring yourself into pushing harder before your body is ready. Even under the best conditions, it takes at least 4-6 weeks before you can notice small changes so there’s really no need to rush if you’re just starting out. By being persistent, change will happen organically. Work to improve
on what’s already there, instead of thinking about graduating to heavier weights or longer runs.
Assuming that you ought to kick off like the Pros puts useless psychological pressure on you. This can not only deter you, but also seriously hurt your body.
4. Understand Your Off-Days
Throughout my menstrual cycle I become prone to shortness of breath. This decreases my physical ability by about 30% and leaves me flustered every time. However, understanding that my hormonal cycle affects my performance has allowed me to forgive my partial achievements as my body changes throughout the month.
Men aren’t immune to hormonal changes, but even if you’re unaware of any periodic limitation, try to
identify your Off Days to better communicate with yourself and with your PT. Perhaps you wake up especially early one day a week, and that affects your concentration or physical ability. Maybe the office cafeteria serves a specific dish on Wednesdays that makes you sleepy or irritated. You can still train
during your Off Days, but realizing when they occur will allow you to be mentally forgiving towards yourself and encourage you to work out harder next time.