Have you ever said something like this?
I wonder if it's really true though. While a gym environment loaded with external motivation of peers and coaches CAN elicit a killer workout, I think we underestimate how much determination we really have. And while I know that some of us are born with an insane desire to achieve and that discipline comes easy, I believe we are all hardwired to want to work hard in our fitness.
Think about the last time you walked around saying how sore you were from the workout you did two days prior. Weren't you proud as hell for what you were able to accomplish? Weren't you thrilled about how hard you worked? What if you could generate this pride completely on your own, on-demand?
We may not be giving ourselves credit for our inherent mental strength.
It's not so much the physical work that might scare us but our lack of confidence in our mental fortitude to push through when the rubber meets the road and no one is watching. We wonder if we have that bit of grit that helps that helps us fight through discomfort instead of stopping right at the first sign of it.
We need not be an athlete or competitor to deserve or complete a hard, gritty workout.
You are fit right now, not in six months once you've run a half marathon. If you're like a bunch of the women I begin working with, you think in absolutes - you're either super fit and adorning a six pack or lazy AF and out of shape. But, come on, there's a lot of in between, right? You may not work out as much as you'd currently like but you're likely much more active than you think!
Walking the dog several times a day, going on weekend hikes with the family, picking up and putting down your kids all day long, hitting the pavement for a jog when the inspiration strikes you...you're an active woman!
Now, I know you might not be crushing crossfit workouts, running marathons and doing tough mudders every weekend but you're more ready than you think to dial into a gritty workout like a short, intense (for you) metabolic conditioning circuit.
So, what are metabolic workouts?
They're a bit different than a smooth and steady cardio session on the elliptical or doing some curls and tricep extensions in the weight room. Think about it as an intense wresting match where you're using every fiber of your strength to get free, or, the feeling you get when you have a 35 lb kid on your back and you're hoofing up a tough incline on the end of your hike. Now, think about doing that for 15-20 minutes. This is metabolic training. We're not just working aerobically, not just working anaerobically, we're doing both.
It's not going for a long run and reaching that runner's high where you could keep going for miles on end. It's also not lifting the heaviest amount you can for 1-3x reps. It's an ongoing intensity that lasts the whole workout.
A simple way to spot check if you're training metabolically - Follow my Chase the B.U.R.N. method.
You should be Breathless, Unable to Speak, Really Sweaty and Needing to Rest for the entire workout. If you're heart rate is up, you're not able to hold a conversation with a friend, you're generating a lot of thermic heat and you're being forced to rest often...you're doing it right!
How do we get around the mental barriers that might stop us from digging deep in a workout in the shadows of our basement? A few tricks...
Training metabolically is a total mind f*ck, it really is. I wouldn't want to sugar coat it for you. Like anything, the more you do it the more comfortable you'll feel with the discomfort of the workout.
1. Get confident with the moves.
I recommend that if the mental block is your ability and you feel like you don't know how to to do the moves, this is the perfect time to pay for one or two personal training sessions to work through exercise form and make sure you're moving your body safely. Information and practice builds competence, competence builds confidence and confidence is key here in metabolic training.
2. Be ok with rest.
Know this: you will need to rest. Most of the women I train hate this - at first. They feel like a failure because we are conditioned, say with running, for example, to believe that when workouts become easy, we're in shape. What you can know about metabolic training is that as you get stronger and more confident, you're effort will improve and you'll always be pushing to the point of needing to rest. So, these workouts never get easier. They progress with you.
3. Get your mind right with some tricks.
In my annual #GrittyUp challenge, we talk about how to mentally push ourselves in our workouts. One trick in particular that many Be PowerFULL trainees use while sprinting and we want to give up: we start counting and focus on the rhythm and start-and-end points of a 1-10 counting chant. We'll also plan our playlist well and focus on the lyrics or beat of our favorite tunes as we're considering
Another great trick that one came from my sister. I lived with her one summer between college semesters and at th time, we were training together for half-marathon. At the end of our run, we had to take on this grueling hill that seemed to last forever...and we hated it. She said she'd picture someone she wouldn't want to her fail, standing at the top of that hill. It always gave her the grit to push.
We all have that person, don't we? Put them front and center in your mind's eye, hold onto that image and get it done. Prove it to them that you won't give up. Now, this trick isn't about holding onto anger and resentment with others, it's more about using them as bait to prove something to yourself in the heat of the moment.
Instead of thinking about how much time is left in the workout, focus on every single rep. Feel the movement from start to finish and keep the form impeccable building up the mind-muscle connection. Be in the moment rather than time traveling to a place that's scary, like focusing on failure or weakness.
Read to get metabolic, mama? Only one more day to download my FREE Metabolic Mamas resource for women with over a dozen metabolic workouts to get more efficient and effective with your fitness. If you want to improve your physique, save time and improving your mental grit, this is the perfect resource for you.