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27 October 2010 ~ Comments Off on The Two Mental Necessities for Fitness

The Two Mental Necessities for Fitness

You know what commitment is? THAT'S commitment.

Since we’re starting at ground zero here, I thought I’d offer up the two mental traits that help most in starting and continuing a fitness program. They’ll help you whether you’ve chosen Crossfit, HIIT, or a basic simple workout as your regimen of choice. These critical traits: commitment and intensity.


The first mental obstacle you must overcome to even begin a workout or diet program is the idea that you really don’t want to go to the gym in this weather, or that you can have just this one tub of Ben & Jerry’s. To really take on a fitness program you have to commit, and commit fully.

Make no mistake, exercise is work, and eating new or different foods can quite literally take you out of your comfort zone. You’ll have to push yourself to get down to the gym after (or during) a hard day at work, or to avoid just picking up the phone and ordering Domino’s. There are ways, however, to push through the commitment barrier:

  • Set goals. Make them achievable. Even “go to the gym 4 times this week” can count at first.
  • Reward yourself when you reach your goals.
  • Take a cooking class so you can better prepare healthy recipes.
  • Put your workouts in your calendar. Set an alarm.
  • Work with a personal trainer or find a workout buddy.
  • Get some great, inspirational workout music.
  • When you get bored with your workout, change it. (I’ll be helping with a selection of exercises.)

Above all, try and have fun with it. Make a game out of your goals, and be positive about both what you’re giving up and what you’re doing instead. A recent study showed that people who made a game out of avoiding tempting treats were more able to keep from eating those treats than people who equated avoiding the treats with torture.


The difference between just going through the motions in your workout program is intensity. Lack of intensity is why those guys at the gym have been going every week for years but have little to show for it. In fact, the more intense your workout, the shorter it can be. Some High Intensity Interval Training workouts can take as little as five minutes—but they can be the most intense five minutes of your life.

Even when you’re just beginning, though, you can use intensity to your advantage. Try this: as you perform a set, try and put more effort into each rep, until you’re putting everything you’ve got into it. Feel your muscles straining and burning. Concentrate on nothing but the movement and breathing proper form and getting that weight up. Squeeze out one last rep as you feel your arms or legs shaking with the effort…then squeeze out another. Leave everything you’ve got on the floor.

I’ll bet you that when you’re done, you feel pretty darn good.

Put commitment and intensity together, and you’ll be unstoppable.

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