Attitude is tough to master, and I ain’t just talking about the butt burning Barre exercise… the brain teaser that is our own personal narrative can be way more of a challenge.
It’s that age old idea of the angel/devil sitting on your shoulder, of course what we rarely acknowledge is that both the angel and the devil are in fact ourselves, and we can actively choose how we are going to talk to ourselves. Yes, that’s right gang, we control our own narrative.
Getting through the door
This might be biggest challenge. Between telling yourself you intend to work out and actually getting your ass to class lies a long road of self chat. Lets get right to the point and agree that this is the one you cannot bargain or negotiate on. Flat out. Get into class, even if you aren’t sure how its going to go, even if you have decided you’re going to go easy, or even just ‘go through the motions’. Don’t barter with getting here. Pick up your kit bag, get your keys, walk out the door and get here. DO NOT converse with yourself. DO NOT negotiate with the inner-exercise-terrorist within you. No talky. No way. Talk to the hand (do we still say that?). Shut it down.
After you’re through the door, everything else is debatable but getting here is not.
Getting through the exercise
How do you finish the sometimes excruciating set when its so simple to just have a little break or ‘rest’? Its hard, it hurts, you’re tired. All are reasons you will feel the ‘need’ to stop. How can we do an attitude switch-up in a matter of seconds from ‘running on empty’ to ‘raring to go’?
You have to decide what your most effective self-talk is at this stage, and this might involve some trial and error. Is it focus chat or focusing on your inner monologue? Counting to the end of the set, to the very last rep and don’t cut it short. Complete it. Should you put your focus where the pain is, and embrace it? After all that’s what you’re here for. Think of that burn literally firing up the power and strength in your legs/abs/arms. There’s always a technical checklist to fall back on to keep your focus. By the time you’ve ran through it, you’ll be infinitely closer to that nemesis exercise being done.
Do you need a bit of a metaphorical face-slap? “Come the eff on [insert name]! You are bigger/better/more than 10 reps of an arabesque sequence. Don’t let it beat you.”
Or do you need an inner cheerleader? Fill your mind with pompoms, and straddle jumps. Chant it to yourself… You Got This! Lets Go! Alright, okay, you WIN!
Find what works for you and remember, your mind will always want to give up before your body will.
Getting through the class
You know your own tactics and tricks better than anyone else (although, so does your instructor ;).
Leaving class during your ‘least favourite’ parts is entirely your decision. Will you ever get stronger if you do? Unlikely. Very unlikely. Is the reason its your least favourite part that you aren’t as good at it as you are other parts? Probs. To get good, you have to get at it. Fact. What I’m saying here is don’t excuse yourself for no reason. You know you’ve managed to get through an hour without needing to pee, you also know that water bottles come in all sizes, so if yours doesn’t hold enough, maybe get a bigger one!
Saying all of that, we’d be lying to ourselves if we didn’t own up to creating distractions even when we don’t actually leave the class. Faffing is a sure fire way to shave off a few reps. Mat faffing, weight & strap futzing, adjusting clothing, fiddling with hair, tissues, leg warmers et all, and more ironically tippey-tapping on that watch that tracks how ‘effective’ your workout is. All of these distractions, they all get play, you will use them at some point, but when all is said and done does any of that get you what you want? Do you get that feeling of walking out of class and knowing that you owned it? That you owned every part of it, the good, the bad and the downright catastrophes. That you stayed the course and gave it everything you had. Surely, that is far more satisfying than managing to get one over on yourself. So next time you walk in to that class, your inner mantra is just this… Stay in the game.
Getting through the aftermath
Aches and pains aren’t just physical. The effort that it takes to get out of bed after a killer class is directly proportional to the effort it will take to book another one of those classes. You might ask yourself the seemingly reasonable question of why would I do this to myself again? Well, because training your body is just that, training it. If you trained a dog, you wouldn’t expect the pooch to know how to “sit!” on demand after just one time would you? Bodies are the same. You have to explain to your body through repetition what you expect of it. Be patient, be reasonable, but be tenacious. Keep going.
If you wake up the next day and decide to cancel all foreseeable classes, park yourself on the sofa, and commence the revelling in your post class ouchies know that you are halting the training process. Now, you know I love a good rant/vent/release. I’m not saying you have to grin and bear that Barrdio-butt, no way! Indulge in as much post-class vocalising as you like, you earned it, but don’t get lost in it. Tell yourself to get moving, get rolling, get walking, and get booked into another class to stay on track.
Getting booked again
In a seamless segue, here we are at the rebooking point. How can something so simple feel so complex?!
Yeah I liked that I worked out. Yeah it was hard but I felt great that I did it. But it was hard work. And I don’t have a lot of time. But I am going to do it again, even though it was really hard work. And today/this week I’m not feeling 100% so its probably not a good idea, but next week I probably will, then at least I have a chance to mentally prepare myself.
Aaarrgh. Don’t let the doubter talk you down, if you’ve done it once, you can do it again. After a few, you’ll have it in the bag.
If you’ve had some time off from training coming back is challenging. Physically there will be a less endurance which is to be expected, so make sure you approach class with a post-break attitude. Consider which class to book, which activity is appropriate. No matter how much you want to just pick up where you left off this will not happen. If you can take the emotional hit of going into your regular class and knowing you aren’t going to be able to do it like before, have at it. If you know that this will upset your workout chi, just take a different class for a few sessions and work your way back in with a PMA.
Sometimes we hit a wall in training. This is not a physical wall. Switch it up. Take a 1:1 to reboot. Don’t torture yourself with a class that is not working for you. Choose another. Just when it’s all going swimmingly, you have that one class/workout thats just a raging sh*tshow and it ruins your vibe entirely. It can feel so deflating to run up a series of wins and then hit a big fat MISS. This feeling is the chink in the armour that the neigh-sayer in you is looking for. Getting back on the horse after a ‘bad class’ takes all the attitude you got. Flip that devil on your shoulder the bird and just like the Beatles said Get Back!
Attitude adjustments/having conversations with yourself will consist of motivation, having a serious word, giving yourself a break, holding yourself accountable, being strict, being kind, but above all always being honest. Give yourself the T, the whole T and nothing but the T.
I’ll see you in class.
Big love, N