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If you want to stay on track with your physique goals; you really need to ensure that you are mentally focused and that your brain is switched onto the challenges that lay ahead.
Many of the top bodybuilders, use the following three psychological techniques to help them to remain motivated throughout their training regimes:
- A positive attitude
- Visualisation and imagery
- A warrior mind-set
A positive mental attitude (PMA)
When beginning your weight training program your outlook is usually positive. You tend to believe that you will gain muscle and this is a springboard for you to start training.
However, this scenario can be very difficult to sustain if you are generally a negative person or if you don’t mentally apply yourself to keeping positive.
Strength training does come with some setbacks and you will have times in your regime that progress is not easily identified.
For a negative individual this scenario will be deemed as a major setback; they will think that their goals are unobtainable and will more often than not ‘quit’.
On the other hand, a positive individual will identify any setback as a learning curve, will bounce back stronger and will adjust their training techniques to achieve their goals.
In a nutshell, they will always find ways around setbacks whilst keeping focused via a positive outlook.
Everyone wants to achieve their weight training goals and whether you buy into this PMA philosophy or not is entirely up to you!
The way that we think and perceive situations are 90% by habit and via our past experiences; these two factors are crucial in developing a positive mind-set.
It’s sometimes the easier option to be negative and use our bad past experiences to form a negative outlook on our training.
This approach and mentality may lead to very limited success with your training goals; however let us not mix this up with having a bad day. We have all had a bad day sometimes in and out of the gym!
Practice thinking about your weight training goals and believe that you can achieve them. If any negative thoughts start to creep into your mind, stop and think about where these thoughts have led you previously.
Also, think about where these negative thoughts will lead you in the future and try to reset your mind into thinking positively.
A key point to remember is that thinking negatively is a ‘coping mechanism’ to help you deal with limited success in the past.
Override it a.s.a.p. as it is a massive barrier that will stop you from accomplishing your training goals.
Remember a ‘can do’ positive approach will stand you in very good stead throughout life and will help you to conquer all of your training goals.
Visualisation and Imagery
Visualise yourself with the physique that you will have after you accomplish your training goals. You should think about your new physique often and place it in the forefront of your mind-set.
Recall these images on a regular basis and this will help you to keep focused on your predetermined goals. This will make all of the hard work and effort worthwhile, and will be constant positive reminder of why you want to carrying on weight training.
Another strategy is to choose a picture of someone who has a similar ‘physique’ that you are wanting to achieve. Place this photo somewhere that you can see it every day.
Many weight trainers or bodybuilders take weekly pictures of their body changes and this again is an excellent reflective tool to use, to gauge success!
A short term approach is to visualise yourself performing the actual work out routine. Concentrate on your posture, actual technique, breathing, number of reps per set and rest intervals.
Also determine how the dumbbell feels in your hand, feel how your muscles burn when you perform the exercises and block everything else out. This will help you to prepare for the work out and will vastly improve your form.
During the session visualise yourself performing the exercises prior to lifting the weights and refocus your mind during the rest intervals.
This strategy will stop your mind from drifting and will keep you on task during the work outs. The end product will be a more productive, quicker and effective session.
The Mind-set of a Warrior
If executed correctly a work out should last no longer than an hour. The key to this is to avoid all of the social distractions and to focus solely on your physique goals.
If you were a gladiator entering into a ring ‘would you really care about the hot chick in row X?’ No, and if you did you would soon be seeing stars or not long for this world.
Therefore, your main priorities should be gaining muscle mass with maximal effort and intensity within a limited timeframe.
To build mass you need to control the controllables, and this includes developing a solid focus when you step into the gym arena. Zone out all of the distractions and concentrate solely on yourself for that hour.
During this self-absorbed approach think about the following:
- Your muscles that you are working
- Visualise the techniques for each exercise
- Think about your training goals
- Visualise your desired physique
- Keep reminding yourself why you are training so hard
- Concentrate on your form, your breathing
- Enjoy the pump and during the rest intervals visualise the next set of exercises
It is all about you for an hour, enjoy your time training and you will start to see the results in muscle gains a lot quicker.