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What mentality should you take towards training

June 26, 20206 min read

Training Mentality


As much as training is about developing your physical capabilities, training can also be a wonderful tool for developing your mental capacity.  While Fitness can most certainly  help to improve mental clarity, and cognition, we are going to focus on the mindset you should take into training, and how adopting this mindset will translate to better results both inside, and outside of the gym. 

The mindset that you adopt in training, should also be the mindset that you take towards handling all of life's challenges. So let's break down the mindset that we believe will equip you to become the most successful both inside, and outside of the gym. 

Circle of Concern vs. Circle of Control

In the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Stephen Covey talks about the idea of  your circle of concern and your circle of influence.

The circle of concern includes a very wide range of topics, this can include your health, your family, your finances, global economics, and a million other things. The more things that we place inside of our circle of concern, the greater the Stress and Anxiety we will have in life.

 The issue with placing too many things inside of your circle of concern is you start to realize that many of these things that are at the focal point of our concern are out of our control. This is why it is important to also identify your circle of influence.

Your circle of influence is composed of all the things you can do something about. For example you may be worried about the national debt (Circle of Concern) but you really only have influence over your own finances (Circle of Control). 

So how does this apply to the gym. When you walk into the gym there are some things you have control over such as; your attitude, your effort, and your focus.

You need to distinguish between what you can and can't control;

  • You don’t control the workouts on the board → you do control the attitude you bring to each class.

  • You don’t control how your body will respond to training → control how frequently you come to the gym

  • You don’t control your body’s proportions → You do control how well you move when you’re in class

  • You don’t control your natural range of motion → You do control if you do mobility work before class.

  • You control your decision to write down your workouts so that everytime that exercise comes up you can pick a more appropriate weight. 

  • You don’t control muscle soreness → You do control your recovery 

    • Did you get 7+ hours of sleep last night?

    • Did you eat well? Did you eat enough?

You want to do your best to place your concern over all the factors you have control over, and avoid focusing on the things you can't control. 

Have To Vs. Get To

We are not a result of our environment, rather we are a result of the way we respond to our environment. We just went over the idea of your circle of control and your circle of influence, and the importance of placing your focus on the things that you can control.

Now let's discuss the idea of “Have To” and “Get To”.   This is a great tool for developing gratitude through changing your perspective in all that you do. Try this, next time you have to pick the kids up from school, or you need to go to the grocery store, say to yourself;

“I get to pick up the kids from school”

“I get to go to the grocery store”

 And this is not some ‘woo woo’ pie in the sky, positive self talk trick. It is truly a shift in perspective.  At the end of the day we are all fortunate enough to live in a relatively free society,  a society that despite all its limitations, can afford these plentiful opportunities.  However our minds naturally gravitate towards a scarcity mindset. By reminding ourselves that we don't have to do anything, and that there are countless people across the world who would be absolutely blessed to be in our shoes, helps us to develop perspective grounded in gratitude for where we're at in life.  So this simple shift in vocabulary from having to do something to getting to do something is a daily practice that will help to profoundly improve your mental state. 

So remember “You don’t have to go to the gym → You get to go to the gym”. You truly are lucky and there are countless people around the world who would love to be in your shoes. Change your ‘have to’ into a ‘get to’ and you’ll slowly see yourself shifting from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset. 

Don’t Complain

Complaining is a contagious mindset, and quite often the act of complaining shifts us from a focus on the things that we can control, on to the things that we can't control. 

Ex: Complaining about today's workout (Uncontrollable variable)

But, what you can control is how you respond to the stimulus in your life. So in this case while  we do not govern the workouts for the day, we can take control of the attitude we use going into work out. If a workout isn’t something you particularly enjoy; you can reframe yourself to place your focus on something you can control. Perhaps telling yourself ‘today may not be my favourite workout, but it allows me to work on mobility and I’m going to focus on moving well, and going through full range of motion, rather than concerning myself with the weight on the bar, is a great way to shift your focus to the factors that you can control. 

“Not Yet”

Another powerful tool that we use is the not yet principle. If you've been in class long enough you've almost certainly heard our coaches and athletes use the term not yet. For example, an exercise comes up in class that you have not been able to do yet, let's use a pull up for example. Your first thought, and maybe the first words out of your mouth are I can't do a pull-up.  This vocabulary is your first issue, we always want to frame things that we cannot do in the future tense. For example if you are unable to do a pull-up right now, using the terminology I can't do a pull-up yet will help you to avoid self-defeating vocabulary/mindsets.  This will also help carry towards the future, we all have things that we cannot complete, but if we focus on the fact that we aren't there yet we will never make the steps towards getting there. The simple use of not yet is a powerful tool that we recommend all our members use. 

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