What To Do with Negative Thoughts While Exercising

May 28, 2015

Have you ever had those workouts where your mind is consumed with negative thoughts? I’ve had times where I feel like I’m not going to make it. I’m either tired or discouraged, and I feel like I’m just doing the motions waiting until it’s over.

Your mind is a powerful tool. There are occasions where I’m physically fine, but negative thoughts creep into my mind and I keep telling myself that I can’t do it. On those occasions, I end up slowing down during the workout or stopping until I can get it together.

When I first started working out at Crossfit, 3 years ago, the amount of negative things I thought were debilitating. I remember thinking:

  • This workout is way too hard.
  • You’re never going to finish this workout.
  • You’re the last person to finish this workout. You suck!

I couldn’t even finish the very first workout I did at Crossfit. We were doing a modified Crossfit workout, but halfway through the workout my negative thoughts consumed my mind and I just gave up. I was disappointed in myself. I couldn’t believe I had just thrown in the towel. That day I decided that I wouldn’t let my negative thoughts consume me.

So, here are a few tips for training your mind to think positively:

Tell Yourself You Can Do It

During my workouts, I have to consistently tell myself that I can do it. This may sound stupid, but the best thing you can do is say it out loud. When I’m beginning to think I can’t do it, I start telling myself, “You can do it! You can do it!” When I train my sister sometimes I ask her, “Do you think you can you do it?” If she says “ummm…”, I tell her to repeat after me, “I can do it.” I consistently remind her that she can do it. She has trained her mind to think positively, and now she makes workouts look easy. She never gives up anymore.

Count Down Your Repetitions

When I think that I’ll never be able to finish the workout, I always remind myself to take one repetition at a time. It helps me to countdown. If I have to do twenty reps, I countdown. It makes me feel like I’m making progress and that I only have a few repetitions left before I’m done.

Don’t Compare Yourself

When I’m at Crossfit, it is so easy to compare myself with others. There will always be someone stronger and better than me. It’s inevitable. But I shouldn’t let that consume my workouts. Just because I’m not as fast as someone doesn’t mean I suck. I’m working out for my own reasons.

I workout because it really helps me feel good. I like leaving workouts feeling good, not feeling bad because someone was better than me. So, it took hard work, but I had to learn that people were at different levels than me and that didn’t mean I sucked. Even though many times people around me help me work harder. I always try to remember that I’m working out for me. Not for the people around me. It’s my health and my workout. It’s ok for me to take it easy on some days. It doesn’t matter what people think about me, and it’s ok if I’m the last one to finish the workout—even every time.

I can’t say I’m perfect at always thinking positively, but I’ve gotten much better. I use my workouts as a time to encourage myself and tell myself that I can do it. After a workout, I feel like I can conquer the world and my workouts are full of positive thinking. When you change your thoughts and your motives, it really helps you finish strong.

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