Want to get a fitter body, a better workout and feel better throughout the day? Then think positive.
A typical person has upwards of 60,000 thoughts per day; the way you think those thoughts matter. Changing the way you think can help you get to your workout, work harder during your workout, and overcome obstacles in your way.
Positive thinking can help get you to your workout.
Imagine this: it’s 5:00am and your alarm clock is going off. You don’t work until 9, but early morning this is the only chance you have to fit in daily workout. It’s winter, it’s dark. And yes, your bed is so warm and comfortable.
Immediately, thoughts roll through your head. Simple, positive statements such as ‘I am worth it’, ‘I have a choice, and I choose to workout this morning’, or ‘I will feel amazing when I am done’ will motivate you to get out of bed, into your exercise clothes and to the gym.
Positive thoughts can improve the quality of your workout.
Getting to the gym is an accomplishment- but pushing yourself during the workout is what gets results.
I remember struggling through a running workout in university. My lungs ached, my legs felt weak and I found myself secretly wishing to trip and fall so I could have an excuse to stop. My running partner told me to ‘run tall, run light, run strong’. These words were simple and very effective and helped me to keep going.
Simple positive statements can push you through a tough workout. Repeat short statements such as ‘be strong’, ‘power through’ or ‘one more rep’ to up the intensity of your sweat session.
Positive thinking can help overcome obstacles.
No matter what your health and fitness goals are, obstacles are a certainty. A positive outlook on barriers will improve the likelihood of conquering them. For instance, if you are staying away from sweets, but someone offers you a piece of cheesecake (which happens to be your favorite), your self-talk will determine whether you stick to your diet, or indulge. Thoughts such as ‘one piece won’t matter much; I am so weak!’ will lead to giving in. However, if you think ‘I am strong. I am stronger than any temptation’ you will likely not have the cake. Positive thinking applies to all types of obstacles.
Positive thinking is strikingly effective, but can be easier said than done. (Are you already thinking ‘I can’t possibly control all the thoughts that come into my head’?). Follow these three steps to infuse your day with affirming thoughts:
Pick a few statements that you can connect with.
You will only need a few key mantras to repeat in your head. Pick words that are meaningful for you; not necessarily a quotes you read on an inspirational poster. Simple ‘I’ statements such as ‘I am strong and powerful’, or ‘I can do this’
Positive thoughts may not stream into your mind right away- it may take some practice. Take a few moments each day to repeat positive statements to yourself, such as before a workout, or to prepare for occasions where you may have difficultly sticking to a diet plan.
Be on the lookout for negative thoughts.
If negative thoughts pop into your head, identify them and actively replace them with positive thoughts. Thoughts are created by your mind, they are not necessarily truths. For example, if you are part way through a workout and you find yourself thinking ‘I can’t do this’, acknowledge the thought, but then replace it with ‘this is a challenging workout, I am strong and I will push though’.
Tanja Shaw is a Kinesiologist and personal trainer, specializing in weight loss, group fitness, pre and postnatal fitness, and health and wellness programs. She owns Ascend Fitness Coaching, home to Ascend Fitness Boot Camp, Stroller Boot Camp, personal training programs and the 30/30 Peak Fitness Challenge. For more fitness tips go to www.ascendfitnesscoaching.com.