“Small wins matter more because they are so much more likely to occur compared to the big breakthroughs in the world. If we only waited for the big wins, we would be waiting a long time. And we would probably quit long before we saw anything tangible come to fruition. What you need instead of big wins…. simple forward momentum” ~ Hendrie Weisinger
- Weekly Challenges
- Book Recommendation
- New habit Formation
- Why high-intensity exercise?
- Stress vs. Pressure
- The Three Phases of Mental Toughness
- 5 Tips & Tricks to be more mentally tough!
Listen below to learn more:
Betterhumanology Podcast: Season 2 Episode 30
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This Week’s Better Human Bullets
I have found that the clock in high-intensity exercise is the genius behind the sport and also the downfall of many.
Just like any good idea; communism, capitalism, or public restrooms, they are all good in theory. However, once you throw in the human element the theory starts to crumble.
It wasn’t that long ago that the only question I got in the gym was “How much do you bench?”, as if the bench press is some extraordinary test of fitness or strength. It is neither. Now, if you participate in high-intensity fitness, the question is “How fast can you do X workout?”.
Having the clock as a benchmark is great, but it can also be terrible for you.
What do I mean? I have seen guys in the gym sacrifice all shoulder mobility and all proper form for a 400 lb bench press. They just want so badly to get that number… they will do whatever it takes. But is that where you want to be headed because of a clock, or silly benchmark? Will you sacrifice full range of motion and perform half reps to get a ‘faster time’?
The answer is, no.
We are going to turn your bad clock into a good clock, we are going to practice rest timing.
- Rest Timing Workout
- 15 min AMRAP
- 10 Thrusters
- 10 Kettlebell Swing
- 10 Burpees
MENTAL TOUGHNESS CHALLENGE
- Develop and Utilize an “If/When, then…” statement
Psychologists have known about this tool for a while now. Research suggests that people who use if/when-then planning are between two and three times more likely to achieve their goals — whether they’re related to weight loss, fitness, or work and productivity —than those who don’t.
“If/when, after my business lunches, the server asks if I’d like to have dessert, then I will order mint tea.”
“We become prepared, first, to notice the favorable time or circumstance and, second, to associate it automatically and directly with desired conduct.”
More on these “If/When…Then” statements:
New Habit Recommendation for Sleep:
- Wake up Early
- Tip: Lay Everything out the Night Before
Other Resources Mentioned in the Podcast:
- Breathing Ladders
- Studies on High-Intensity Exercise…
Thanks for listening!
All right, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the betterhumanology podcast. My name is Jerred Moon and this is actually a solo cast this evening. It’s just gonna be me covering and going deep on a topic that I very much love to discuss, and study, and go deeper on. And that’s gonna be mental toughness. We’re talking about tips, tricks, and strategies. And we’re getting real micro here. Not the big picture stuff. Not the long term mental toughness approach. I think I’ve broken that down a lot in recent episodes as kind of that micro view of mental toughness and that macro view. So that macro being able to do something for the longer duration, building those long, long lasting habits that actually matter. But today we’re flipping the coin over. And we’re going real micro, real tactical, how to be more mentally tough in a workout in the shorter duration stuff or an event, stuff like that. And I think it’s gonna be a lot of fun to cover some of these things.
But I won’t let us get off without at first, you know, going over all of our challenges like we do each and every single week. So we’ll start with a fitness challenge. And this one’s pretty interesting. I like to challenge a lot of athletes to do this whenever I can. Because over the years I found that the clock, the clock in high intensity exercise is really…is kind of the genius behind doing these timed workouts, doing workout for time. And you know, it’s pushing yourself either against yourself, against other people. But it’s also the downfall of the high intensity exercises, the clock, because it’s a great idea. But then you put the human element in any good idea, whether it’s communism, capitalism, or a public restroom. As soon as you put the human element in there, the good idea starts to crumble away.
So having said all that, you know, I’ve seen a lot of people sacrifice mobility, form, you know, all sorts of stuff just trying to get a faster time. And I don’t think that, that’s a good thing. And so what I challenge athletes to do and what I want to challenge you to do in this fitness workout is a rest timing workout. I haven’t given you this specific one before. So it’s gonna be 15 minutes as many rounds as possible. You’re gonna do 10 thrusters, 10 kettlebell swings and 10 burpees. And to be honest, I don’t care what the weight is, because it doesn’t really matter since it’s the 15-minute AMRAP. And what you’re gonna do is you’re gonna rest how much time. You’re gonna time how much rest you’re taking during the workout. That’s it.
So if you have a stopwatch on your wrist or somewhere close by. Anytime that you’re hands are on your knees. Pretty much if you’re not moving a barbel, swinging a kettlebell or doing a burpee, that means you’re resting. And so in that 15-minute AMRAP, I want you to time. You know, start the stopwatch and then stop it whenever you start working again and see how much time you accumulate just resting. And the goal would be overtime, not to be insanely intense and just never stop during a 15-minute AMRAP. But the goal would be to get you to a place where you don’t stop during a 15-minute AMRAP. You learn how to pace yourself in such a way that you’re moving continuously. How to pace that works for you instead of the short 30 to 45-second burst and then you get burnt out, and you know, you’re dead and the rest of the workout sucks. It’s really…this rest timing really helps you develop a good pace for yourself.
All right, and next we have your mental toughness challenge. Now this one’s a little bit different than what I would normally recommend for mental toughness challenge. But I recently stumbled across this work and some studies. And I just had to share it because I think that it’s extremely powerful. So straight up, what I want you to do is develop and utilize an if-when-then statement. And I’ll explain that a little bit more in just a second. But psychologists, they’ve known about this tool for a long time. And the actual research studies that have been done suggest that people who use if-when-then planning are anywhere between two to three times more likely to achieve their goals. And it doesn’t matter if it was in the different studies it didn’t matter but it’s related to weight loss, fitness, work, productivity. It didn’t matter. It was two to three times more likely to achieve your goal if you had an if-when-then statement.
So let me just give you an example of one. So if when after my business lunches the server asks if I’d like to have a dessert, then I will order a mint tea. So it’s that simple. So what happens, the waiter comes out asks if you want a dessert and you already have this pre-trigger in your mind that no, I’m going to actually order a mint tea instead of having the dessert.
Now, my recommendation would be you probably already know where weakness is in your life. So you’re not gonna probably develop an if-when-then statement all across the board for everything, even though you could, because they’re really easy to come up with. And it’s almost funny how easy these things are. But it just helps you so much to have this plan, this trigger in place. So an event happens and you’re, you know, you become prepared first and notice that you know like a favorable time or circumstance. And second, to associate it with a desired conduct or activity. So develop and utilize. That’s the important part. Utilize an if-when-then statement. And like I said, tackle your weaknesses.
Like for instance, the example I gave about dessert there. I don’t really eat dessert so that’s not a big deal for me. But you know, there are other things that I could use an if-when-then statement on you know, when are you gonna, you know, write this? You know, maybe just to be more disciplined. When are you gonna write that article? When are you gonna finish that article? It’s like, okay, if or when it is, or you know, if I am eating lunch and I finish early, then I will use that extra time to finish writing this article at End of Three Fitness.
You know they are these really small triggers but it needs to gravitate around something that you want to achieve. And they’re extremely powerful. I’ve been sharing this with a lot of people and I think that it really does make a difference. So go ahead and develop one for a weakness you have and utilize it this week…
Moving on to the book recommendation, I’m going to recommend the book, “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek. Great book. You can probably guess from the title kind of what it’s about. But it’s really a book more on leadership and starting with why, starting with the big questions, because the book really resonates with me. Because for instance, let’s just take it to my business End of Three Fitness. Even though it is a business, the why cannot be simply to make money, even though it is a business, because most people, me especially, not very motivated by money in the long run. Like if you really need money, it’s motivating for a short period of time. But if your work is not fulfilling, you don’t feel like you’re actually doing something or moving the needle somewhere. It’s gonna fall apart and crumble, eventually.
And I think, start with why helps you answer those questions and gives a lot of great examples on why you should answer those questions as having that big why first with anything that you’re doing in leadership in helping communicate that to other people. So they know what your mission is and they can get on board with it. So I think if you struggle with the why. Why am I doing what I’m doing? Or you wanna understand a little bit more about that concept, definitely snag the book “Start with Why” by Simon Sinek.
All right, and we’re also moving to a new habit. So this week we will move into February. We finished out January. The new habit we’re working on, the tips I was giving you were all about sleep, and for a good reason, I wanted you to dial in your sleep. I wanted you to start getting better sleep. It’s really good for your health. It’s really good for your recovery. It’s really good for absolutely everything. So you get that dialed in first. And then the next habit I want you to work on this month and the month of February is waking up early. And the reason I started with sleep first is because I am not of the mindset that you should wake up early and sacrifice sleep.
Now, there is this gray area where, you know, where does discipline, you know, the balance of discipline versus you know, just getting that extra sleep. And sometimes, yeah I’ll wake up when I haven’t had enough sleep, but just to be more disciplined. But I’d rather be disciplined the night before, go to bed early. That way I can still get an ample amount of sleep and then wake up early.
So that’s why we worked on sleep first and now it’s waking up early. And simple tip I have for this week in developing that habit, is just if you’re gonna go work out or do morning routine or whatever, just lay everything out the night before. Have it all set up 100% ready to go before you get in bed the night before. And I know personally that increases my chances of waking up early like tenfold, as opposed to me having to like rifle through chores or whatever to get all my stuff ready to do what I do in the mornings. And I really feel like you should wake up early not just for the hell of it, like just waking up early. I think you should wake up early to develop a new habit, to better yourself, to read, to train, to do something that makes you better. And that’s why I think everyone should be waking up early. And maybe it’s not early for you. Maybe that doesn’t work with your schedule. Maybe it’s just waking up earlier than you normally do. Maybe you have, you know, shift work, or crazy hours, or whatever. But I still think that you should wake up earlier than you do to work on yourself a little bit before you officially start your day.
All right, guys, that does it for challenges, book recommendation, and new habit formation. Now we’re gonna kinda get into tonight’s topic, and that’s mental toughness. Like I said, we’re going micro, we’re getting into tips, tricks, strategies. And this is really simple stuff but I wanna cover it. Maybe you haven’t heard some of it. Maybe, you know, just a different way I will say some things that will resonate with you in a better way. But I have to start with mental toughness in general. You know, I think this best applies in high intensity exercise. And a lot of people don’t enjoy high intensity exercise mainly because of the words high and intensity. You know it sucks but to be honest it’s, I mean, it’s great for fat loss. It can increase your anaerobic capacity, your VO2 max. I mean, it enhances your vascular function. It positively influence oxidative stress inflammation and insulin sensitivity.
There has been a ton of studies and I’ll link to them in the show notes, on high intensity exercise. It’s really good for you. And I honestly think that everyone should have some form of high intensity exercise in their training program. And I’m not talking about going for one rep max in weightlifting. I don’t think that, that’s…that might be demanding on the central nervous system. But it’s not legitimate high intensity exercise, not in my opinion. And so having that high intensity exercise, that metabolic conditioning, at least, once or twice a week, I don’t think it’s something that you need to be doing every day.
That’s another thing when you’re reading studies. And if you do ever read studies about fitness you can’t be like, “Oh, it says high intensity exercise is good for you. That’s what I’m gonna do, six days a week.” And that’s also not how it’s supposed to be done. And that’s also not how it’s typically done in these studies. They do it 2 or 3 times a week over a course of like a 6 to 12-week time period. And then they produce all these results. So I only bring all that up because I really think that high intensity exercise is where mental toughness, these tips, and tricks, and strategies, are going to apply the most. But they can translate and transfer to life and really any other realm of fitness that you might have, or be doing.
Now, to start talking about mental toughness inside of fitness. I really wanna start by reading a passage, and we’ve talked about this multiple times in the podcast. I don’t think I’ve ever read this passage before, but it’s the difference between stress and pressure. And I’m gonna read the story. We covered it a long, long time ago but I’m gonna rehash it here, because what I ultimately want you to do is I want you to be able to be the person, like if you listen to this episode, my goal for you when the episode is over is to be the person who is feeling pressure at the beginning of a high intensity exercise or something that you need to be mentally tough through as opposed to the person who’s feeling stressed. And to be honest, I think, if I was working out with 10 guys or coaching 10 guys, or you know, and girls, I would say 9 out of 10 of them are just feeling a little bit of stress towards the workout. They’re not feeling the pressure. But I have to tell the story or read this passage to truly illustrate what that means. And some of you probably heard this before but I’ll go ahead and read it.
“Early in the 14th century, Altdorf a village in the Swiss confederacy falls into subjugation to the Austrians and the tyrannical overlord Albrecht Gessler. To establish his dominance over Altdorf, Gessler raises a pole in the village square, hangs his hat on top of it and demands that the town folk show obedience by bowing to his hat. Under the threat of execution, the villagers all bow. It becomes a way of life in the village until one day when a famed marksman named William Tell arrives from a neighboring town with his young son.”
“Tell, known for his incredible strength, skill, and rebel spirit, walks past the pole and refuses to bow. Gessler’s guard arrest Tell and his son Walter who are then sentenced to death. But Gessler, knowing of Tell’s fame, devises a more cunning punishment. One that is sure to instill greater fear amongst the villagers and provide an interesting spectacle. The rebel is granted a single shot to hit an apple placed on the head of his son. If he succeeds, both will be released. If he fails, father and son will be immediately executed.”
“With the crowd looking on, William Tell and his son are brought to the village square. Walter is walked to the outer edge and given the target to hold atop of his head. Tell remains on the other side. The marksman, rebel, and father take a single bolt from his quiver, places it on the string and draws it back against the tiller creating the tension. He then takes careful aim. Before releasing, he no doubt breathes deeply to calm himself as he faces the most cruel and difficult of challenges. Most likely his young son’s breath is shallow as he attempts to steady himself and the apple perched on his head. Perhaps the son closes his eyes. Tell locks his aim and releases the bolt, which speeds across the field splitting the apple in two.”
“The father and son both simultaneously experience a flood of relief.” However, they actually had very different experiences in the preceding moments. While he stood taking his aim, William Tell felt pressure. His son felt stress. What’s the nature of the difference? William Tell is in control of the performance. His son is the one with the apple on his head, hoping his father knows what he’s doing. We feel pressure when the stakes are high, when we must perform at our best. We feel stress when we have no control.
So the only reason I wanted to read that is I think it’s an amazing illustration, really the best illustration of the difference between stress and pressure. Obviously, stress is this, it’s almost like worrying is useless, it’s wasted energy. Because if you can do something about it, do something about it. If you can’t do something about it, don’t worry about it. And this is just amazing. And so, what I wanna take you from is maybe you’re the son with an apple on top of his head before a high intensity exercise because you’re like, I have no game plan for what’s gonna happen once the clock starts, once I start lifting this barbel, once I start running as fast as I can. I have no real game plan. You know, you just kind of let your mind go off to the races. You have no mental preparation whatsoever.
I want to take you from that person to being William Tell who, yes, he knows what he’s about to do is really crazy. But he has to perform and he has the ability to do so. He feels the pressure so he has to just focus in on all of his training. Because he was an amazing marksman. He has to go back to his training. “Okay, I know that I have all the stress but I need to focus on what my training is, on my tactics, what I’ve practiced. This is what I’m gonna be focused on,” as opposed to just letting his mind wander, and you know, blindly pulling it back and closing his eyes and hoping he hits the mark. That’s not where I want you to be.
So typically, when I’m describing mental toughness to someone and I’m talking about it in this micro view, this is like just mental toughness over the next 10 minutes in a workout, or 20 minutes in a workout, or even 3 minutes in a workout. I really feel like there are three phases to be actually mentally tough. Because anyone can do a 10-minute workout at 70% to 80% of their perceived effort and it’s not that challenging. But to really go to that red line 100%, is very different. And then I think it’s three phases. First phase is the plunge. And it’s in my opinion your ability to act. So really deciding to jump is the hardest part when it comes to mental toughness. Deciding to go there, that’s 70% of it right there is the decision. You made the decision that, “Okay, yes, I’m gonna do this.” But I mean, sometimes you just have to grit your teeth and worry about the rest later. But you need to take the plunge. You need to make that decision. So that’s part one of the three phases of mental toughness in a micro situation.
The second is the suck or the ability to stick. So you’ve jumped. You’ve taken the plunge. Now the trick is to really stick with it. So you know, don’t get out as fast as you got in. And I’m talking like in a literal sense if you are to jump into cold water. Most people if they’re jumping into ice water, their natural reaction is to get out as fast as possible, right? They don’t get comfortable with being uncomfortable. So in high intensity exercise, just deal with it for a little bit. Don’t freak out. Stick with it. You’re gonna go to that red line place that’s uncomfortable, meeting your self-position and just let it sit. You can’t hold it there forever but just get comfortable with, a second, the fact that how painful it is. Just get comfortable with that. See what it feels like. What’s your mind is saying? What’s your self-talk? What are you going through? Just stick and be aware of what’s going on.
And the last phase of these three phases is the aftermath, and it’s the ability to endure. So most things that take mental toughness are not necessarily over when you stop. So the worst of the pain may be over, but there’s still time left in which you’re uncomfortable. Now, this is another great time to look back and analyze yourself and see how you respond. It’s almost like pilots doing a debriefing after a flight. If you don’t kind of rehash what happened and go over, what was I thinking? Where could I have been better? And I’m not talking technically proficient better, I could have done thrusters better. I’m talking about in your brain. Because yeah, I want you to have good form on your thrusters. But if you can go back and you’re like, I’m mentally weak here when things get tough. Guess what gets better? Yeah, your workout gets better. Yeah, you become a better father, a better mother. You become better at everything in your life. You become better at business. You fix your brain. You know, where your weaknesses are and you fix those things. It translates everywhere. It’s not just fitness.
Now, those are just the three phases of mental toughness in a micro view to me. You have the plunge, the suck, and the aftermath. Now, having said all those things we can kind of get to the tips and tricks that I have for actually executing in the workout. And I have five of them, so let’s get started.
All right, so the first one’s pretty easy. I call it execution or making the deal. Because I mean, you can be pumped. You can be ready to go. You have the workout written on the whiteboard or a piece of paper, or maybe it’s on your phone. I mean, you’re ready to destroy the workout. There’s just one problem you actually started going and your muscles and lungs are telling you, stop. You know, so you stop. Maybe you know you could have done one more rep. You could have kept going. But how do we deal with this, this stopping, this going too fast out of the gates and not performing at your peak. And the answer is executing the deal, making a deal with your brain.
So studies actually show that if you make a deal with your subconscious, your brain will actually listen. So they did a study and it is primarily done on people who had extremely busy brains that led to insomnia. People couldn’t sleep, had trouble sleeping because their brains are just always running, always going. And then they would tell their brains, you actually say this to yourself, “Look, I promise I will think about this thing, X, Y, and Z thing tomorrow morning at this time.” It’s almost you know, hop back to the beginning of this episode, the if-when-then statements. If you tell that to your brain, like there’s a lot of research on this stuff. Look you can’t get it out of your head. You’re thinking about this project you have at work just over and over and over again, right? You know, you could deal with it. “Look I promise I’m gonna think about this and figure it out tomorrow at 5 a.m. when I wake up.” Your brain will actually relax and let you go to sleep and maybe not right away. This might be something you have to work on. But these are what the studies have shown.
So I think that the same principle applies when you’re really trying to push yourself in a workout. When things are really tough, you need to tell your brain, “Look, I know this sucks but let’s just do 5 more repetitions or 10 more seconds.” Because you’ll really be surprised by how much your brain will relent and let you go just a little bit further, when you’re making these deals with it. And they’re just these tiny, small deals. So what you’re actually doing every time you do this is building up your mental toughness and your overall threshold. That’s how mental toughness works. Every time you stretch that rubber band a little bit, you get a little more elasticity and you have pushed your mental barrier a little bit further. That’s the new benchmark for your mental wall. So you make these micro deals with your brain to just go a few more reps, 10 more seconds. You do this over the course of a week, over the course of a month, over the course of a year. You are10 times more mentally tough when it comes to doing high intensity workouts than you were at the start.
All right, the second one is positive self-talk, and this is something we’ve covered many times on the podcast. But I wanna cover a little more detail. Because some of you, you hear me say, okay, go have positive self-talk and maybe you just take that and you’re like, “Okay, I’ll be more…I’ll talk to myself in a more positive way during my workouts. But I was a bit skeptical about positive self-talk many years ago.” And you might say, like, you know, being positive or thinking happy thoughts isn’t gonna do anything. You know, you kind of discredit it in your mind right away. And you might think no amount of internal banter is gonna change how you are gonna do on a workout.
So that’s why I have to bring it to the scientific side, or you know, a little bit more physiological, psychological aspect for anyone who’s…maybe has that thought, or if you’re doubting it, or whatever. So in your brain you have the amygdala. And the amygdala is the structure in the brain most associated with fear. So when you’re afraid you’re likely to have worry thoughts. You know, physical sensations or like a faster heart rate, sweating, increased respiratory rate, and behaviors like trying to escape the situation that made you afraid in the first place, the fight or flight response, if you will.
Well, recent studies have shown that humans, in general, are very optimistic creatures. You might not think that. But even if you don’t think that you’re like a super optimistic person, it doesn’t mean you don’t have some level of optimism in your life right now. Because to be honest, there’s a small part of you, right now, even if you’re like, “You know what, I’m not very optimistic,” you’re hoping for a better future. I mean, you’re working a job, you know, hoping for advancement without actually knowing it. You’re pretty sure that’s gonna happen. Maybe you wanna make more money. You believe deep down that’s gonna happen. You know, things are gonna get easier as life goes on, or you’re gonna get a better, higher paying job. You kind of think that these milestones are just coming as you progress through life, and maybe you’re putting the work in no doubt. But you have this ultimate optimism that’s gonna happen even if you’re pessimistic in your day-to-day life. You have this higher level of optimism that says that, you know, you’re going to the next level eventually.
And you work out in a belief that there is a better version of yourself in the other side of the pain and sweat, right? I mean, that’s why we workout, that’s why we train. If you didn’t believe this you wouldn’t do it. If you didn’t think that what you are doing didn’t produce some sort of results, you won’t do it at all. So there is some level of optimism. I can always, always tell, like, take a pessimistic person and prove to them that they’re at least somewhat optimistic even if they didn’t know it. But this constant optimism of the future self has proven to be incredibly powerful. So when you think of positive future experiences, things not achieved, but things you know you will achieve like your goals, your brain operates at a different level of optimism. And you might be saying, “Okay, why are we talking about optimism?” Like, “Why does any of this matter?”
Well, this level of optimism actually helps the amygdala to downplay negative emotional responses. So now you’re taking a substantial amount of fear and anxiety out of any situation. So nervousness is decreased and your mental focus can now increase. And all we’re doing here is a little positive self-talk. So let me say that in a better way. Positive self-talk in your mind has a direct effect on the amygdala, physiological here, not just psychological, physiological response, the amygdala. So you’re being way more than that guy who’s just pumping himself up in front of the mirror. You know, that’s not what I’m talking about.
No we’re actually reducing a physiological response that hinders your performance. So most workouts will not cause an extreme amount of anxiety or nervousness before you start, but it may. It could, depending on what level of fitness you’re at or how many times you’ve done it. But I can guarantee that if you’re moving fast and not like at a mediocre pace, you know, any workout is gonna be challenging. And eventually your brain will start with negative emotional responses. Your brain will start with, slow down. And you know, it might start making backwards deal. “Hey, let’s…instead of 20 minutes, let’s do 15.” And you can’t listen to any of those things. This is where you have to start with the positive self-talk.
So we’re not just saying over and over to ourselves, “You can do it.” You know, like, you’re not being a cheerleader for yourself, while you can use that phrase and that’s perfectly acceptable, you also need to visualize yourself completing the workout. Even though it may be painful now, think about how rewarding it will be when you’re finished and you’ve taken it to the limit. I’ve never seen someone finish a workout, barring any injury, and saying, “Man I really wish I didn’t push myself,” or, “Man I really wish I didn’t do that workout.”
So think about how good it will feel to relax, to catch your breath after you finish. Think about how much your mind is actually improving. How it’s becoming tougher and how much better you’ll be after the workout is over. So couple of those visualization techniques with your positive self-talk, and things are really getting compounded here. And it doesn’t really matter what kind of positive self-talk you use but use it. Because the second you aren’t in control of what your brain is saying is the second your brain starts to say whatever it wants, and you don’t want that. It will most likely be, you know, a psychological response to a physiological stressor. That’s why your brain is freaking out most of the time. And that’s most likely is gonna be negative. You know, the further and further you get away from comfort, the more negative your brain tends to be. So how do you combat that? Simple positive self-talk, don’t beat yourself up. Be positive in your self-talk before a workout and especially during workout.
All right, the next one I have is setting micro goals. And it’s something I also like to call surviving in minutes and seconds, and how to do that. Obviously, we’re talking about high intensity in the workout, so surviving in minutes and seconds. I mean, it’s extremely easy to get caught up and overwhelmed with just about anything. And Tony Robbins actually had a great example once, he pointed out that we can easily become overwhelmed with something especially if that’s something that we don’t wanna do. I mean, that’s typically the case. And he gave an example of how an individual, you know, he asked an individual, “Why don’t you go to the gym?” And they responded with like 16 different inconvenient reasons on why they couldn’t go to the gym, “The commute.” “I have to take my son to this.” “I have to do, blah, blah, blah.” Excuse, excuse, excuse, excuse. But then he asked the same person how many steps are involved in picking a place to go out to eat and the individual basically says there’s two, you pick a place and you go. But going to the gym wasn’t that easy. There’s all these excuses because it’s something that you don’t wanna do. But going out to eat is something you typically do want to do.
So be aware of that. But keep the example in mind. I mean, that’s not exactly surviving in minutes and seconds. That’s just part of it. But we’ve all experienced surviving in minutes and seconds. I’m sure you guys have heard of the theory of relativity, but the very simple example is taking your time to test, what’s…I’m sure most everyone listening to this has, so if you have one hour to take a test, during the test you’re focused. Like for instance, you’re focused on question number 24. And you’re thinking critically about options A, B, or C. And I mean, unless you wanna fail the test, you’re not thinking about, you know, where you’re going tomorrow, what you’re going to do tomorrow, or what you’re doing later this evening. You’re living minute per minute. That hour is longer than any hour you’ve ever spent on your couch watching TV. Like I said, it’s the theory of relativity.
You know, another example would be doing something you can’t stand, so maybe it was a class you took, or a job you hated, or a project you worked on, you live for everything and it gives you a break from those situations. I know I’ve been in those situations before where you’re just working on something that you don’t truly enjoy, and the only thing you’re actually looking forward to is a break from it.
I mean, even Navy Seals. You talk to any Navy Seal who’s been through BUD/S in their training. I mean, most of them say that they can only focus on the next hour to get through that. If they started looking at, “Man I have to do all this crap. There’s no way I would ever like I have to do…there’s many weeks of this.” There’s no way they’d get through it. They could only focus on one hour at a time. And so, that’s really the challenge here, is living in minutes and seconds in anything that you’re doing. So you set these mini goals, these tiny objects. And we kind of talked about them earlier in some of the previous examples. But if you have a long workout, never, in your head should come around, if you’re doing a really hard 20-minute workout, like, “Oh, I have 18 minutes left. Oh, I have 17 minutes left.” All you should be thinking about is, I’m gonna do these next two reps, or these next five reps. Only ever allow your brain to focus on that next set, that next rep.
And that is so much harder to do, very easy to say, so much harder to execute. I mean, you’re seriously trying to take a mindset with tunnel vision, and typically, tunnel vision is a bad thing. But if you know the outcome of where the tunnel is going, which is having on a really intense and done a good workout. Then it’s okay to go into a tunnel, have that tunnel vision. So set these tiny micro goals of, you know, 10 seconds harder here, 5 more reps here. But the hard part is not just saying that, it’s doing it. It’s actually blocking out, not thinking about how much time is left, ignoring the clock, 100%, ignoring the clock and only taking as much focus, extreme focus, on your next sets and reps. So it’s setting those micro goals and achieving them in very short time increments…
All right, this next one is really simple. It’s basically breath control, or your breathing. So if you’re not careful, your breathing can get really out of sync with your body. I had this problem for a long time. And this lack of rhythm, it causes a mild panic in your brain. And so, I mean, it’s actual panic. It’s called panic breathing and your brain starts to freak out a little bit when you get your place…when you get to that place. But you need to start focusing on your breathing. It needs to really be a huge focus. It helps you. It will help you with setting those micro goals, we talked about previously, is really being very aware and in the moment focusing on that breath. Because you know, if your breathing does get really out of whack, you’re not getting enough oxygen. Your body is gonna stop you, like there’s not gonna be mental toughness that’s gonna really cover that physiological effect. So I mean, it would have to be pretty dramatic for your brain to actually shut your body down. And I don’t expect to be seeing that in any workouts. But you do need to focus on what you can control and what you can control is your breathing tempo.
So you may have like a relatively paced respiratory tempo or a very fast respiratory tempo, based on the type of exercises you are performing and the intensity level, either way, just focus on the in and the out. Be in control of your breathing. Try to take deep breaths from the belly not from the chest. And that’s all you need to practice. This one’s really simple. I don’t wanna make it more complicated than it needs to be. So voluntary control of your breathing. I’m not gonna give you a tempo or something because that’s actually [inaudible 00:34:59].
I also don’t wanna say, in through the nose out through the mouth, any of that crap. Because that doesn’t really matter once things get really hard. So make it easy. Focus on the breath and control it as much as you can. Don’t let it control your body. You need to be aware of what breaths you’re taking. Amazing exercise for this that I like to program as often as I can, breathing ladders, kettlebell breathing ladders and ascending and descending kettlebell breathing ladder. And you could Google, End of Three Fitness breathing ladder, and I explain that in great detail. But essentially, you do one rep, one breath, two reps, two breaths. All the way up to say 20, and then all the way back down to 1. And it’s an amazing exercise just to learn how to breathe, because once you get to a higher rep range, it’s gonna be very hard, especially if you’re working with heavier weight. But you’re gonna learn how to control your breath the more frequently you do them. And it really just helps a ton, like an unbelievable amount, with the getting better at high intensity exercise.
All right, guys, and the last tip here is going to be muscle relaxation. So you might be asking how can your muscles be relaxed during exercise, but what I actually want you to do is relax your face. I’m sure you’ve, you know, everyone has some sort of workout grimace, a pain face. But we’re going to try and minimize this as much as possible. Because it wastes energy and it puts your mind in the wrong place. Because to be honest, when I am actively thinking about doing this, really that grimace, with that pain face. You don’t need to actually be doing that. You really don’t. And when I take that away, I relax my face. It gives me this incredible ability to focus more either on my form or just being more in control, going a little bit faster. That face, like, it cues your body and your brain to be in this panic or pain state, when really you can just…it’s a simple cue, relax your face. And it’s an incredible cue that could help you really go a lot further in high intensity exercise .So let’s keep our energy expenditures in the right place, which is not your face. So the next time you’re doing a high intensity workout, really, really focus on that. Become a micro manager of your energy. And you’re gonna actively think about controlling all of the things we’ve talked about, you know, breathing, relaxing, setting those micro goals. And if you just focus on some of these, one of these, doesn’t matter. You can try applying all of them, one of them. But it’s gonna really put your mind in a different place and you’re gonna be able to tackle high intensity exercise a lot better.
And that pretty much covers everything I had. Make sure you go to endofthreefitness.com. If you wanna see the show notes, we’ve made a huge effort to try and beef those up this year. You know, make more links available for you guys to read over some of the research that we do for the episodes and whatnot. And if you’re enjoying the podcast, you know, head on over to iTunes. Leave us a five star review and a positive comment. But other than that, that’s all I have for tonight. Until next time.