It seems that these days most people think of weightlifters as knuckle dragging orangutans that have too much testosterone. This stereotype has become a pretty big idea that most people have. The truth is, it takes a lot of mental strength to become a lifter like any other athlete.
Lifters need to be able to push their bodies as far as they can take them to build strength. Imagine if you go to the gym and lift the exact same weight everyday, because you knew you could easily lift it. You would see gains at the beginning, but eventually, those gains would be significantly diminished. You need to be able to know when to increase your weight to maximize your time in the gym.
It is also key that you mentally prepare yourself for a heavy lift. If you do not have in your mind that you can achieve your lift, odds are you are not going to achieve it. The perfect example to think of is from an episode of the “Joe Rogan Experience”. He did an interview with Courtney Dauwalter, an ultra marathon runner. She was talking about how she ran a 100-mile race in preparation for the MOAB 240 a 238-mile race. Towards the end of her preparation race, her body was so tired that her vision started to blur to the point she could only see her feet. She pushed herself to finish the race and came in first.
If this story does not show the mental fortitude it takes to be an athlete then I don’t know what else does. This also brings me to another point for why you need mental fortitude. You need to be able to push yourself. For anyone looking to gain strength, you will reach a point in most of your lifts where your body will start to tell you that you cannot lift anymore. The truth is, this is the best point to be at to gain maximal strength. If you cannot mental block that out and make yourself get a few more reps in, then you will miss out on this time and time again. It is easy when the going gets tough to just quit when your body wants to, but if you really master the power of controlling your thoughts in this situation, you will achieve so much more in the gym.
Just because it is important to mentally push yourself, does not mean to forget the physical push. If you’ve been benching 135 lbs, do not go to the gym next time and put on 225 lbs because you “mentally” think you can. Staying safe in the gym is just as important as reaching your goals and you can do so by having a spotter or better yet—get a personal trainer who is there not only to spot you and make sure you are safe, but also wants to see you succeed.
After applying these tips to your fitness journey, you can be on your way to a healthy mind and a body you love.