Think about the mindset preparation you take each day to enhance your physical appearance with exercise… What’s the first thing that comes to mind? Maybe diet, the meal timings, or the intense training? I know personally that my daily food intake is constantly on my mind. It seems that my whole life is basically revolved around food, which is crazy but true. Dieting plays an enormous role in the bodybuilding world, sometimes a bigger part than training, depending on who you talk to. However just one of these bodybuilding ingredients by themselves won’t get the job done. You will need both to successfully build muscle. With that being said, let me talk about something that many of us fail to do in our daily mindset preparation…
I’m just taking a wild guess that most of you reading this have a main goal of adding as much muscle to your frame as possible. So let me ask you this…each day you prepare your body for growth with diets, supplements and training, but how often do you mentally prepare your MIND for the rigorous test you’re about to put it through? Mindset preparation seems like an easily forgotten principle that used to be dominant in the bodybuilding world from years past.
Let’s assume it’s Chest Day and the first exercise on your list to complete is a standard bench press. Ok, this doesn’t seem too hard. The first few sets go well, the muscles begin to achieve a pump, and your muscle fiber breakdown has ultimately started. During this time, the mind is relatively “neutral”. Your mind hasn’t been called into play as the determining factor for whether you complete a successful lift or not.
Think about it like this: you roll out of bed half asleep and get into your car and drive to the store. Not many problems there; the body will wake itself up continuously, given the constant flow of stimuli taken in from your senses. But now, let’s change that scenario a little and turn your car into something intense, like an 800 horse power Nascar. With that amount of power under the hood, I can make a safe guess that you’d be instantly woken up as soon as you turned it on.
Just like the ignition switch for the nascar, there is a very similar switch that each of us posses in our own body that can make the nearly impossible, now seem achievable. So back to the story…
On this day, your chest is feeling quite strong; strong enough to reach a new personal record. So you stand up, pumped and ready to go, and slide the old plates off the bar and replace them with much larger ones. It’s at this moment that your mind will start playing games with you.
“I’ve never lifted this much before, what if I don’t get 8 reps.”
“Maybe I’ll just wait till next week to progress this much.”
“Maybe I added too much weight and I should take some off?”
Any of this mindset preparation stuff sound familiar?
I know thoughts aren’t formed in complete sentences but if they were, I’d bet yours would be something similar to this. We’ve all hit that spot before. If you’re training to your potential each week then this feeling should come often; and why wouldn’t it? You’re pushing your body into unknown territory day-in and day-out, so more often than not you’re bound to be intimidated by the weight. This is called the “what if I fail” excuse. Even the best bodybuilders go through this pitfall at some point or another. Take this quote from 4 time Mr. Olympia, Jay Cutler:
“Never show the weight that you’re scared, but this is some heavy *** weight.”
So what’s the difference between Mr. O and the rest of us? Well obviously there’s a huge size factor, yes, but beyond that, he is able to reach his potential each day by using mindset preparation. However if both areas of mental and physical preparation are at a consistent high, then it will be impossible NOT to progress. This is our main goal; to avoid a negative mindset altogether and replace it with a never-ending flow of positive motivation.
I’ll be posting more articles soon about some things that I’ve used to keep myself and my clients motivated. Till then, keep your mind right and flip that mental switch on when the weight gets heavy! Catch ya’ll later…
– Mitch Muller
C.P.T. – MindsetFitness.net – Mindset Preparation