When you think about going, you feel dread? When you pull into the parking lot, you sit in your car for a few minutes, attempting to psych yourself up to walk in the gym door? When you walk into the gym, you wish you were at home instead, cuddled up on the couch or snuggled warm in bed? When you begin your workout, the first words that run through your head are, "I don't want to be here" and then, "I don't know if I can get through this today"?
I had "one of those days" yesterday.
One of my goals this prep has been to maintain a positive attitude and to look at the experience as an opportunity to learn, grow, and embrace any difficulties I may face. Up until yesterday, I was doing a really good job of it! I even had a respected gym member (and former Jr. Nationals champion) tell me on Friday that he was impressed by how happy and positive I was this year compared to last year. I was flattered and pleased that others had noticed my efforts.
Yesterday wasn't the first day I've dreaded going to the gym or had to dig deep to push through my workout. Days like that happen periodically; they're just as much a part of prep as cold chicken and morning cardio.
Two years ago, the mantra that got me through prep was, "I am a champion." Last year, it was "I'm going to win a sword!" This year, the shows in which I will be competing won't have swords as prizes, so the sword mantra doesn't work. I've found myself going back to the champion mantra. Repeating it to myself whenever I feel my quads start to shake during lunges, or I start to doubt that I can get those last 2 pull ups.
And ya know what? It works! I always find that little bit of extra strength to push through and finish the set. I may sit on the bench, gasping for air for a full minute afterward, but I complete what I need to complete.
Yesterday, I kept reminding myself that I've had difficult workouts before and I've made it through them. I am stronger than I think I am. My body can do the workout; my mind MUST stay strong and focused. By the time I finished my workout, I felt so much better than when I'd started it.
Mental strength is powerful.
Have you read Chant of a Champion by Nicole Snell? If not, I encourage you to read it, print it out, and post it in a place where you will see it every day. It's a powerful statement. Here's the first part of it:
When I think of quitting I will think of who will be standing next to me on stage.
Will I be able to say that I worked harder than her?
When I stand on Stage will I be able to say that I pushed myself harder, that I kept going when I felt like stopping, and that I gave that extra effort when I felt like collapsing?
It’s that last burst of commitment that separates the champions from 2nd place.
Do you have a mantra that you repeat to yourself during difficult times? What methods do you use to push through a difficult workout?