Mental preparedness > mental toughness

Mental toughness reminds me of the whole “just tough it out” mindset, where feelings are repressed and bypassed just to push through and get something done.

There might be a time and place for this approach (I’m thinking of emergency or one-off situations) but this isn’t a recipe for long term training success.

When you’re facing a tough session or the day just feels harder than normal, rather than just hoping for the best and white knuckling it through (relying on “mental toughness” to get through), fall back on the preparation you’ve done.

In our GoFit sessions, I talk about strategies for moving through the session, scaling options and opportunities, intended intensity etc so the crew is prepared for what’s to come. They have a chance to think it through, get their head around the movements, and plan a strategy for themselves. 

I also remind them of all the work they’ve done before – they’ve prepared for this. All the practice in the previous sessions, all the knowledge we’ve shared and skills developed, has all helped prepare them for this session that might feel a bit harder, mentally, than they’d like.

Mental preparedness is like physical preparedness. You don’t get up and just hope to physically tough it out; you don’t jump in at 1000 right from the start. Your previous training has physically prepared you for certain loads, movements, and intensities. Your warm up physically prepares you for the session you’re about to do.

Your mental preparation is similar. You know how to learn new movements. You know what different weights feel like. You have practised movements before. This is all part of preparing yourself mentally for a session. 

So if you wake up and feel like you can’t or you’re not ready for it, rely on your mental preparation to get you through rather than “mental toughness”.

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