Control your mind, don’t let your mind control you!

Get out of that bed!

It`s 4.00am and the alarm clock annoyingly awakes you, strange way to think about it really because it was you that set it to go off at that time! No one else, and of course it`s time to get out of bed and head to the gym…or is it?

As you rub your tired eyes wishing you were still asleep it`s time to play the daily early morning mind battle game between the two voices in your mind, those being Mr. Positive who likes to see you going to the gym and will encourage you all the way and Mr. Negative who doesn’t like to see you going to the gym and will talk you out of going all the way! So who will win this daily mind battle today you wonder?

You awake with good intentions as usual, stare at the ceiling in disbelief for a few minutes as your groggy mind tries to clear enough to comprehend this situation, your mind then clears, then it’s time to prepare for this daily ritual. 

As you push the bed sheets off yourself Mr. Negative invades your mind for the first of many visits this morning and reminds you “It`s raining this morning, you know you`d rather stay in bed a couple more hours, so why don’t you just go back to sleep?” Good ideayou’re thinking as you pull the sheets back over yourself. Thankfully, now it’s time for Mr. Positive to make his first appearance in your mind this morning telling you “What are you doing? It`s not raining in the gym and you don’t need any more sleep! Now get out of bed and hit those weights, no excuses!”  

Just as you push the sheets off yourself again you hear “But you don’t have to be at work till 7.00am, take it easy and sleep longer, you know you want to” says Mr. Negative as you agree and pull the sheets back over yourself again and close your eyes and attempt to fall asleep again. “That’s true, you don’t have to be at work till 7.00am which means you have plenty of time to have a great workout! Says Mr. Positive coming to the rescue once more.

You push the sheets off yourself again and place one leg out of bed seriously preparing to actually get ready this time. However, Mr. Negative has other ideas “Ok buddy, don’t do it, it`s too cold out there this morning, stay in bed longer, you can make up for it tomorrow” good thinking you agree, yes, you’ll go tomorrow instead, after all, you don’t want to over train do you! Mr. Positive brings you back to your senses yet again “Excuses! Excuses! Excuses! Now get out of bed and go to the gym, it’s not too cold in the gym!”

Now you’re actually out of bed, it took a while you but you finally made it, the most positive step so far this morning, which of course doesn’t go down too well with Mr. Negative who reminds you yet again “But just listen to that rain coming down! It’s a really terrible morning, tomorrow will be better, just go back to bed where you belong at this early hour, take it easy” you fall for it again and climb back into bed thinking yes it really is bad out there, think I’ll just go back to sleep a little longer. Mr. Positive comes back just in time before you fall asleep again “If you don’t get up and go to the gym it really will be a terrible morning! What are you waiting for? You know how much better you feel afterwards, now move it!”  

He’s right you’re thinking, it really does start your day in a positive manner and sets the tone for the rest of the day, and with that thought in mind you finally get out of bed, get ready and head out to the gym. Nothing can stop you now right? …We`ll see.

Go straight to the gym!

So, the first battle is over, that being getting out of bed and leaving the house. Congratulations! You’ve passed that test, but now the second battle now begins, that being will you actually make it to the gym? But of course Mr. Negative hasn’t finished yet, he’s persistent, you have to give him that! 

As you’re driving to the gym now firmly focused on your training session you hear that familiar voice again “Take a break from the gym today, you know you’re hungry, so call at the fast food place and eat breakfast instead, you have to drive past it to get to the gym anyway!” That’s true, you are hungry and it is on the way to the gym, and you really don’t feel like your protein shake this morning, that has suddenly become very uninteresting and not appetizing in the slightest so you think you’ll stop and eat breakfast instead. As you’re about to turn into the diner Mr. Positive brings you back to your senses one last time this morning

“Wait! What are you doing? Eat that junk food and your whole day will be ruined! Keep going and get in that gym!”

Mr. Negative finally gives up knowing he`s been defeated once again. “Ok buddy you win this morning, but you haven’t heard the last from me! I’ll be back tomorrow morning to try and talk you out of it again!” Mr. Positive puts him in his place “Yes and you’ll be defeated again, so just disappear, you cannot win!” You drive straight past the diner and head to the gym with no more negative distractions, and with your healthy protein shake in hand you just know you’re about to have a great session that will result in you feeling positive the whole day at work and already know you can’t wait to hit the gym again next morning, and that’s even before you’ve started this morning’s workout! Your mindset has changed for the best, you’re now in a very positive frame of mind as you’re about to start your workout. 

Put some effort in!

Ok, so you’re now inside the gym, now what? There’s one final battle to overcome now that’s what! The fact that you made it to the gym is very good, but it`s not enough. If you aren’t going to put any effort in you may as well have gone for that breakfast or indeed stayed in bed! You got this far so don’t waste your time by going through the motions. Make this a productive workout.

As you enter the gym you look around, not too many people in there at this early time, one guy is really going for it on the treadmill, one girl is pushing herself hard with the weights but everyone else is sat around looking at their cell phones or talking to their training partners or friends they have met in the gym, basically they look and act like they wish they were still in bed! Hardly a motivating environment this morning.

As you sit there looking around for inspiration before you begin your first set, you are distracted by one of the many TV`s showing the news and music videos, you’ll just watch the headlines before starting your workout, 10 minutes later you’re still watching the headlines! You can’t hear what they’re saying because of the music playing in the gym but it`s almost hypnotic to you at this early hour, you don’t realize just how distracted you are.

This creates a perfect situation for our old unwanted friend Mr. Negative to make a final comeback today, his voice creeps back into your mind! “What did I tell you? Told you to stay in bed, now you’re in here wasting your time! Leave now and go and eat that junk food, you know you’re hungry!” Yes, you think to yourself, you are hungry, might be a good idea to leave and come back tomorrow instead. But faithful as ever Mr. Positive pulls you out of it yet again! “Ok, you made it this far, now get to work! Just because everyone else in here is sat around doing nothing doesn’t mean you have to!” 

With one final attempt, sensing defeat this morning Mr. Negative reminds you “What about checking your phone for texts? You know you don’t want to miss any important texts” You are yet again distracted as you check your phone for texts, but there are none “Of course there aren’t any! Its 4.30am who is going to text you at this hour? Your friends who don’t workout are most likely asleep! Now put the phone away and get lifting these weights!” says Mr. Positive.

You know he’s right, and you begin to start your session for real and never think twice about questioning why you came here at such an early hour this morning. You know it’s hard but if it were that easy everyone would be in there and everyone would be in top shape, but they aren’t all in there and they all aren’t in top shape!

You have a great workout, then leave and head to work feeling very productive and very satisfied with yourself this morning. Mr. Positive reassures you “See what I told you? I knew you’d enjoy it. Why did you ever doubt me? See you tomorrow my friend”  Yes you will you say confidently, and without any further doubt in your mind there’s no more interference from Mr. Negative, he’s been beaten yet again and he’s already moved on to try and spoil someone else’s morning. 

The moral of this story is…Your mind is a very powerful thing, so don’t let the negative distract the positive because if you do I guarantee you will regret it later! This can apply to anything in life of course, but in this case it’s about not talking yourself out of going to the gym early morning (or any other time for that matter). But if you really want something bad enough… No excuses! Just do it!

Helpful suggestions and advice

Now, if after reading this somewhat amusing short story you can honestly say that none of this applies to you, then congratulations! You are lucky, and part of the minority who doesn’t need motivating and has the discipline and complete control over their mind when it comes to getting up early, getting out of bed and driving straight to the gym and having a productive workout without distraction or experiencing our old friend Mr. Negative trying to talk you out of going.

But, for the majority who can identify with this story let’s see what possible solutions there might be to help you overcome this early morning dilemma.

1)              Surround yourself as much as possible with people that understand your love of working out and agree with it, that’s not to say avoid people who don’t understand or don’t workout, but if your list of friends only consists of the latter you won’t find much support from them as they simply don’t understand the benefits you get from working out, and as a result the motivation required to get up early and workout simply won’t be there as readily as it would be if you surround yourself with like-minded gym friends. You are who you hang with, so beware negativity can rub off on you and possibly ruin what enthusiasm you have for working out.

2)              Find a training partner who is as serious about working out as you are, that way you will both encourage, motivate and help one another be accountable to keep showing up creating productive workouts, you are more likely to want to go knowing your trainer partner is depending on and expecting you to be there. If your training partner isn’t serious about it and sees your training times as nothing more than an excuse to socialize then neither of you will benefit and never achieve anything. You can socialize after, but try not to let your training sessions be used this way. Again, don’t look for excuses not to go. Obviously if you’re feeling unwell that’s an entirely different matter, but not to go because you simply can’t be bothered to make the effort to get out of bed is a complete waste of your time.

3)              Consider hiring a certified personal trainer, not a cheap service of course, but a very sensible and positive one as they’ll keep you accountable. Most trainers will get you to pay in advance and if you don’t show up you lose your money! Before you think this is unfair just think of it this way, you are hiring the services of a professional who will keep you on track and get you to your goal, but if you aren’t serious about it you’re wasting their time and yours and of course your money, after all, it was you that asked for their help, they didn’t ask you. Would you like to be waiting on someone and they doesn’t show up? No, of course you wouldn’t. So bare that in mind before you commit to hiring a trainer. Bottom line is…you are expected to show up.

4)              If you’re a beginner with very little experience the chances are you’ll soon get bored with your attempts at working out simply because the time in the gym will be a frustrating one not really knowing what to do for the best. The gym to a beginner can give an intimidating feeling of being lost in an iron jungle! This is another great reason you might think about hiring a personal trainer, someone that knows what they’re doing and can design a program to best suit whatever your fitness needs are, also keeping your workouts and indeed your mind fresh and productive. Your time is valuable so don’t waste it struggling and wandering around lost in the iron jungle.

5)              Nowadays we seem to be a society where 90% of the population can’t function without a cell phone permanently attached to their hand! Unless you absolutely must workout listening to music from your cell phone why even bring it into the gym? If you’re worried about leaving it in your car or locker then at least turn it off. Working out to music is one thing, but if all you’re doing is constantly checking for texts it’s a huge distraction your mind doesn’t need. Like in the story you just read if it`s early morning who would be texting you at that hour anyway? Your friends who don’t workout will still be asleep or getting ready for work and your early morning gym friends will be working out. After all, you’re most likely only going to be in the gym around one hour so give the cell phone a break, you can check your phone after your workout, but for the most part it’s just one more huge distraction your mind doesn’t need. Focus your mind on your workout, not the phone! 

Can you relate to any of this story? What is your own personal mind battle when it comes to keeping motivation going? Is the diet or the training the toughest for you?

Author: Nigel Taylor

I`m Nigel Taylor – originally from England – owner of The Backyard Gym in Round Rock Texas. We specialize in personal training, kickboxing cardio and self-defense. With over 25 years experience as a personal trainer, I know what works! From weight loss to bulking up to toning up, I can help you get your desired look and achieve your fitness goals. I can also offer you the privacy of a 100% private personal training studio in which to enjoy and get the most out of your workouts.