We all know the feeling that tends to creep up on you when you are about to go to the gym as planned but realize that you just don’t feel like it today. All those heavy lifts suddenly seem a pretty bad deal compared to a chilled hour of Netflix on your sofa. You really want to stay in today, but your conscience is pricking you. You obviously know the consequences of skipping too many workouts, so what do you do to make sure you stick with your long-term goals for your training?
The main thing to realize is that you need to hack your brain or it will most likely get the better of you. And in order to do this, you first need a little basic knowledge about the biology of your brain. Actually, the modern human brain consists of three different layers or brains, and when it comes to classic struggles of conscience as the scenario mentioned above, particularly the second and third brains are of interest: The second brain is referred to as the limbic system, and this is where our emotions lie – in particular the ones that like things to be easy and fun. Because of this, humans are biologically wired to choose safe, well-known options and conserve energy. Consequently, Netflix seems a much better choice than sweating in the gym, muscles screaming and all. However, around the limbic system we have another, more modern brain called neocortex. This brain is unique to primates and humans and is where our thinking lies. And this is also your strongest weapon when trying to beat the carefree impulse to eat that bag of chips, stay in bed or watch Game of Thrones all day.
"Motivation is like food for the brain. You cannot get enough in one sitting. It needs continual and regular top ups."
Basically, there are three things you should remember in your daily struggle against your baser instincts:
1: Stop waiting for motivation.
Any goal will inevitably contain a certain amount of suffering or sacrifice along the way. Too many people postpone the things they want to do because they just don’t feel motivated. Your limbic system is whispering to you that skipping one workout wouldn’t do any harm to your long-term goals because the limbic system would rather do something much more fun. This is when you must hack your own brain by using your neocortex instead. Simply remember the rational part of you that knows full well that skipping another workout will be bad for your long-term training goals and embrace the fact that in reality there is no such thing as motivation. You are more than capable of doing something even though you don’t feel like it – so do it.
2: Comfort yourself that with occlusion training you will be able to train with less weight and for a shorter period of time.
Your workout will be over before you know it, and then an hour of Netflix may be well-earned. Remember that the important thing is to build consistency: instead of skipping a workout entirely, it is better to train for a shorter period of time. Many BfR users also report a psychological rush that might best be described as elation or pride when seeing and feeling the unique pump which arises during occlusion workouts. No matter how you felt prior to your workout, you will surely leave the gym feeling content and relaxed, with endorphins swimming around your body.
3: Choose to do your workout at home.
If you can’t be bothered to make it to the gym, why not train in the comfort of your own home? It will enable you to ‘cheat’ your limbic system by simply choosing an easier option. (Remember that your brain prefers things to be easy and comfortable). With the BfR products, this is all possible. As an example, the new BfR Glute Builder enables you to perform a wide range of exercises for your legs and buttocks – and you don’t even need any weights.
Once you get the hang of catching yourself or hacking your own brain whenever it only wants to do what is easy, there is no stopping you. It is all a matter of understanding the psychology as well as the biology behind it all and exploiting that knowledge to your own advantage on a daily basis. And the more you do it, the easier it will become. Building the right mental state will enable you to take it to the next level!
Links for further inspiration:
The structure of your brain, read more here.
Mel Robbins on motivation, read more here.
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