Strength training is a mental game. Yes, it’s definitely physical as the bodies who have followed proper diet, sleep and training can show you. However, just as important is the mindset you take when training. Think about it, you roll out of bed in the morning. You wake up and get on the scale. You’ve gained weight, you’re now upset. You’ve lost weight, yet you’re working to bulk. Now you’re in the dumps and have barely been awake five minutes.
Or how about this example. You’re in a class environment like Crossfit. All of your peers just smoked you on a WOD. Or even worse, the new guy walks in to his first week of class and smokes you! And you’ve been doing this for two years. Never mind the fact others have been working hard outside of class to get better. Never mind the new guy who walks in with a tremendous athletic background.
Do you begin to make excuses for yourself? Tell yourself you’re not good enough? Start to believe you are a failure and quit training? Try a strength program, believe it’s to hard and stop? Or fire off the excuses of not having enough time. I got to work, I have to study, I’ve been out of town…blah, blah, blah.
Fixed or Growth Mindset
According to Ms. Carol S. Dweck in her book “Mindset, The New Psychology of Success“ we share 2 mindsets in life. Either we take on a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. Sometimes we may use both but never at the same time.
The view we adopt for ourselves affects the way we lead our life. It determines whether we become the person we want to be or whether we accomplish the things we value. According to Dweck, the fixed mindset is the belief that, “Your qualities are carved in stone. You only have a certain amount of intelligence , a certain personality, and a certain moral character.”
Under the growth mindset, we believe that our basic qualities can rise through given effort. It is believed that everyone can “grow through application and experience.” Meaning, the more work we put in, the better we will be!
Why There Is No Room for Fixed Mindsets
Having a fixed mindset in life can destroy you and any progress you have made in your endeavors. To be more specific, a fixed mindset will destroy any future progress you may have whether it be weightlifting, Powerlifting, CrossFit, gymnastics or other sports. Under a fixed mindset, you may start to believe you’ve already reached your ceiling. That you aren’t cut out for this. Others are just better than you or more genetically gifted. Yeah, maybe they do have better genetics or maybe they have worked their tail off behind the scenes. Quit worrying about what others are doing and take control of your life. Put in the work and don’t be the one making excuses.
Work harder. If you already are, dial it in. Look at your sleep, look at your nutrition, look at your training schedule. Where can you get better? Talk to others, more specifically, talk to coaches and trainers. If you don’t have a coach or mentor, get one. You need someone you can go to for advice and to bounce ideas off of when things aren’t going right. Read more books related to your goals. Read more blogs like this one. Never stop learning. Don’t become stagnant. You will fail this way.
Taking On the Growth Mindset
So, how do we take on more of a growth mindset? Going back to the CrossFit class example, we can try learning from others. Ask others what they are doing to get better. How are they training? How is their nutrition? No, you do not have to follow their path step-by-step but by taking just a nugget of information that someone is willing to share with you can make you a better person. If you gather a bunch of nuggets from others, you can piecemeal your own philosophy together and kick butt in life. The key is to not give up on yourself just because you are not as good as you want to be.
Think about your mindset the next time you get down on yourself. Is it your fixed mindset or growth mindset talking? Take the “growth” approach and put in the work so that you are better the next time round.