When you think about improving your fitness and health, what do you think of? Is it eating enough calories and macronutrients to support your goals? Or is it training and exercise? Or it might be a mixture of both. And yes the training and nutrition side are both extremely important, but the inner game of fitness, the mental side is also vital to your success.
What Is The Inner Game?
The inner game takes place within your mind. It’s where you battle against obstacles, such as self-doubt, fear, giving up, and many more obstacles.
These obstacles will always be there. But if you incorporate some proven strategies to deal with them. You can almost certainly win the inner game of fitness.
Part Of Winning The Inner Game Of Fitness Is Cultivating A Growth Mindset
If you are growth-minded you believe that your most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work. You believe that talent and ability are overrated. This shift in mindset creates a love of the game of life. And builds character that Is vital for achieving great things in all areas of your life.
On the other hand, if you’re a person with a fixed mindset you either believe you’ve got it or you don’t. You blame your circumstances for your own failures and you refuse to take responsibility for your own life.
Fitness Makes You Better At Life
For me personally, fitness taught me that if you do the right things you can achieve radical transformation in the physical sphere. It also taught me that if you can transform your fitness and health, you can transform your life.
6 Ways You Can Conquer The Inner Game Of Fitness
When you think about fitness & health do you only think about the training and nutrition side of it?
I know I did when I first started.
But there’s also one other aspect of achieving your fitness goals.
Conquering the inner game. Or the mental side.
And to achieve meaningful fitness success I believe that two-thirds of your success comes down to the training and nutrition side and a third of it comes down to developing the right mindset.
This is because you can learn about all the nutrition and training methodologies. But if you haven’t got the right mindset. You’re not going to go very far.
Here are 6 methods that I use to develop the right mindset towards my fitness goals and how you can too.
1. Develop A Strong Why That Will Help You Stay The Course When Life Gets In The Way
Why do you want to get fit and healthy?
It could be for reasons such as:
Improving your longevity.
Reducing the chances of developing a whole host of diseases that you predispose yourself to if you neglect your health.
To set a good example for your family and friends.
And any other reasons that you can think of. There are many.
2. Compare Yourself To Who You Were Yesterday, Not Who Somebody Else Is Today
Just focus on becoming a little bit better every day and eventually these small changes add up.
Because if you can just get 1% better every day. That means that over the course of a year you’ll be 365% better! Or improved more than 3.5 times as much. Then if you keep this trend going year after year.
Your fitness and health will improve dramatically.
3. Do It For You And The Person That You Want To Become
If you can find intrinsic motivation and get fit for you. It becomes a lot easier to see the process out.
But as soon as you start relying on other people to praise you and to fantasise about your results. Just remember this. No one cares about your results as much as you do.
Some people will actually be jealous of your results. Because it holds up a mirror to them. And makes them confront their own inadequacies. That they’re failing to live up to.
These people will try to lead you astray.
This is resistance and don’t let it stand in the way of your love of the process and becoming the best version of yourself in and outside of the gym.
4. Visualise Yourself Achieving Your Goal
From the book Hard Goals by Mark Murphy – ” The more you can picture a goal, the more intensely it will be encoded in your brain and the more it will insinuate itself into your life and consciousness, thus making the achievement of that goal a virtual necessity.”
Imagine yourself on holiday standing on a white sand-covered beach. You’re in tip-top shape. The washboard abs are prominent. The delicate rays of the sun are kissing your face. You’re full of energy and you’re the complete opposite of a neglected, disease-riddled body. You feel like a million bucks.
Imagine that for one moment. Alternatively, visualise yourself looking in the mirror and seeing that the beer belly has gone. The second chin has vanished. And your jawline is as chiselled as a blacksmiths sword.
Whatever your why is. Try to envision a scenario where you’ve done the work and the results you hoped for are really coming into fruition.
I’ll give you a quick example.
Say that your why is to play football with your kids. Envision yourself in the park, fitter than all the other parents and in the best shape of your life having fun with your kids kicking a ball around.
5. Focus On One Day At A Time, We Can All Get Today Right
From my experience, just focusing on one day at a time, being present in the moment and giving it all you’ve got is highly practical. And once you realise that you can get it right for one day, you can repeat it over again and create a domino effect of small wins day after day.
And just like compound interest. Your health will compound. This will yield a return that completely enhances your whole life for the better.
6. Have Patience – Any Meaningful Transformation Will Take Time The Key Is To Have Enough Patience To Stick The Process Out
Without a doubt this is the most important factor in achieving your fitness goals, Because physical transformation takes time.
For most people, it will be 3-5 years before they get the physique that they really hope for.
And if you’re constantly focusing on the goal. You’ll make the process seem much longer than it needs to be.
” Don’t Aim At Success – The More You Aim At It And Make It A Target, The More You’re Going To Miss It ” – Viktor Frankl
It’s extremely important to find ways to enjoy the process. Because the process leads to the results.
I’ll give you an example of what I mean. If you were going to follow standard fitness advice and have an all or nothing mindset, that has you workout 5-6 times per week and on top of that do lots of cardio, with a belief that this is the only way of training that yields results.
On the other hand, if you did your research and followed an enjoyable approach to fitness and nutrition where you fit it around your life instead of making it your whole life. That has you work out 3-4 times per week and that allows you to include some of your favourite foods in your diet.
With the latter approach, you can enjoy the process while achieving your goal instead of making training and nutrition your full-time job.
Can You Sacrifice The Present For The Future? A Key Habit To Win The Inner Game
The common denominator to achieving fitness success is simply your ability to give up instant gratification in the present for better outcomes in the future. Things like committing to working out instead of spending the whole night eating potato chips on the couch. Or choosing the vegetables and fruits over the crisps and chocolate. Or choosing the healthier, fitter and happier version of yourself instead of succumbing to gluttony and becoming anything less than your best self physically, mentally and spiritually.
The Marshmallow Experiment
In this one particular situation at Stanford University, an experiment was set up called the marshmallow test. In short, this test was done on 4-year-old kids.
A marshmallow was placed on a plate, on the table in front of one of the children and the professor would walk out. The child was told that if he/she could just delay gratification and not eat the marshmallow. They would be given another marshmallow shortly after.
The results were striking.
The children who delayed gratification ended up doing better in their career and in their whole life as opposed to the group that ate the marshmallow.
The main take away from this experiment? Your ability to delay gratification is of fundamental importance in order to achieve your future fitness and life success.
Follow An Enjoyable Workout Program & Schedule
This seems obvious. But if you’re following a workout program that you don’t enjoy and that doesn’t fit in with your lifestyle, then you won’t stick the process out.
For instance, if you’re a busy individual who works 40-60 hour weeks you’ve also got a busy family life and on top of that, you’re following a 6-day workout split routine that has you train for an hour at a time. The chances are that you won’t stick to it. This is because it’s going to be very unsustainable to follow a program like that especially in those circumstances and it’s going to add unnecessary stress to your life.
And it’s not necessary.
For most people, just training 3-4 times per week is enough. And 45 minutes per session is all it takes to get in tip-top shape.
Make Fitness A Part Of Your Life, Not Your Whole Life
I love training more than the next person. But if you’re constantly focusing on your next session and the results to be derived from it. Its going to seem like it takes a lot longer than it needs to.
And this doesn’t just go for training either, make your nutrition part of your life too. Whatever you do, don’t be that guy who eats out of a Tupperware box at his kids 3rd birthday party.
Winning The Inner Game Of Fitness Helps You Win The Inner Game Of Life
For the former Mr Olympia, governor of California and current actor. It all started with fitness. He then went on to achieve tremendous successes in all areas of his life.
You can too. You just need to start.
Because when you start to improve your health and fitness you start to believe that you can achieve success in other areas of your life.
It’s so cut and dry with fitness, you either do the work and get the results and improve your health, or you don’t.
Its as simple as that.
And once you come to the realisation that achieving fitness success is an investment to your health, it’s easy to stay consistent.
The Bottom Line On The Inner Game Of Fitness
- Achieving your fitness goals is hard. It takes grit, effort and patience. Developing the right mindset is just as important for achieving your goals as the nutrition and training side. To achieve great fitness success you need to do them all well.
- Only compare yourself to yourself. Achieving real physical transformation takes time. If you compare yourself to others you’re setting yourself up for failure.
- Knowing your why for achieving your fitness goals is arguably one of the most important factors in helping you see the process through. This is because you’ll have times when you don’t want to train, you won’t want to track your calories, and you’ll even feel like giving up. As long as you have a why to help you see the process through when you veer off track you’ll most likely stay the course.