Why do you go to the gym?
Yes, it sounds like a stupid question in many ways… Erm… well to get fit and healthy, obviously! However, when you dig a little deeper, you’ll see that two people entering the same gym class may have very different objectives. We’re not just talking about weight loss versus strength here, we’re talking about their mindsets.
All too often, we just show up, go through the motions and don’t question why we’re doing it. In this blog post, we’ll examine the four different mindsets and how having a clear idea of your intentions can help support your training. We will also cover some tips to get the most out of your gym sessions.
The four training mindsets
- Lifestyle: Are the rewards for you in better physical health and longevity? Is it about balance, consistency and staying fit and well?
- Athlete: Perhaps you’re training for a marathon, or fitness comp, or to support a specific sport? For the athlete it’s important to understand the difference between a performance and a training mindset.
- Transformation: Do you want to lose 10kg? Get stronger physically and mentally? The transformation mindset is about improving your relationship with your body and yourself.
- Wellbeing: Or is the gym more about improving your overall mental health and wellbeing, learning about yourself and growing from it?
Just show up - the lifestyle mindset
For some, the gym is a place to get jacked and grow some killer abs.
For others, the mindset is more geared towards long-term health. To develop this mindset, your goals are likely to be more about consistency, balance and living a long and healthy life!
Maybe you’re looking to lose weight and stay fit so you can run around with the kids. Perhaps you want to improve your sleep and mental health or reduce the risks of developing chronic diseases. Keeping these reasons front of mind can really help with consistency and motivation!
Here are some tips for getting the most out of your sessions:
- Set realistic goals such as attending a class three times a week or eating more protein and veg etc. The key point here is that they are relevant and achievable goals. If you don’t think you can stick to this routine, then you’ll likely end up feeling worse and even resenting the gym.
- Look after yourself - be sure to get enough sleep, stay hydrated and look after your stress levels.
- Enjoy the ride - like most things in life, it can be two steps forward and three steps back. You’re not going to do your best work every day. So don’t let this get you down!
What is the athlete mindset?
The athlete's mindset usually has a very specific goal in mind, such as a competition. The mental preparation, discipline, and dedication that are required for competitive training are huge. Whilst physical training is essential for performance, many coaches and athletes believe having the right mindset is the difference between winning and losing.
As an athlete, you need a training (growth) mindset and a performance mindset to turn up the heat when it matters.
Training versus performance
The performance mindset is focused on the end result. How much did they lift? How fast did they complete the workout? Whereas in the training mindset, athletes aren’t always performing at their maximal effort, they are looking to refine and perfect their skills to reap the results down the track.
For a training mindset, there are three keys:
- Set goals which are both physical and mental.
- Welcome any mistakes you make as an opportunity to grow.
- Evaluate! How could you have done better? What do you need to work on?
For a performance mindset:
- Identify your best emotional state. What mindset are you in when you perform best? What are you thinking about?
- Build mental resilience. During the workout, if things don’t go to plan, then let go.
- Be present. Focus on the task at hand.
The transformation mindset
We’ve all seen these incredible transformation photos on social media. But how did these individuals lose that weight, hit that PR or grow that booty? The answer is simple…at least on paper.
If you’re on a path of transformation, it’s important to keep these in mind. You won’t feel like training every day, but you show up anyway. You might slip up and have a few drinks and a giant pizza, but tomorrow you’re back on track.
- Self-belief is crucial if you’re looking to achieve a certain fitness, weight loss or strength goal. You’ve got this - and don’t let anyone (including yourself) tell you otherwise.
- Determination is your friend. Be determined and clear in your goals. Write them down, tell your friends, post inspirational photos on your fridge and keep those goals in mind when you’re training.
- Progress is not linear. We are not perfect humans; we slip up and despite our best efforts, we feel like we’re not getting there fast enough. Don’t let this derail you! Choose progress and consistency over perfection.
And breathe…..the well-being mindset
The well-being mindset is the most holistic, as it looks to the physical and mental benefits of having a regular gym routine. Those with a well-being mindset see the gym as a place to grow as a person, reduce stress and reap the social and emotional rewards that follow.
To develop this mindset:
- It is important to understand how you’re feeling that day. If you’re tired and a bit off your game, it’s okay to take a step back and not push too hard.
- If you’re feeling good, then embrace this and enjoy the rush of endorphins as you train.
- This mindset is about developing self-compassion. Be proud of yourself for showing up and value the physical and social benefits of training, as these are all incredibly powerful for overall well-being and health.
Your next steps
Once you’ve thought about your mindset, you might like to seek some help from the pros. A PT will be able to give you some tips for getting back on track if you’ve slipped a little off course, and will definitely help to keep your motivation up.
Book in with one of our awesome PTs today to discuss training mindsets.