“I always train much harder with you than when I train by myself”. This is a phrase I hear all the time from my personal training clients.
When lactic acid builds up in the body your brain tells you to stop doing what you’re doing. Your brain recognises the pain and tells you enough is enough. There is a big difference however between reaching absolute failure, when you physically cannot perform another rep with good form, and stopping when you feel lactic acid.
Put simply it is human nature to want to take the easy route out. There is something in your brain, something inside all of us, that tells us take the easy option with training and stop when the going gets tough.
There are those of us that will always take the easy option and those of us that will always take the more difficult route. Who do you think gets the best results with their training?
Those of us that take the more difficult option, be it the extra reps or the harder finishers, don’t always have this inside us. For most of us it is something we have learnt and developed over time. It is the ability to self motivate and push yourself further and further.
So for those of you that really struggle to push yourselves in the gym what are the solutions? How do you get that mentality?
- Train with a training partner or hire a personal trainer that knows how to get the best out of you. You can always do more even if it’s 1 extra rep. Having someone to drive that home can be invaluable.
- Write down your goals and the key points necessary to complete them. Set yourself a deadline and make it public so you can’t back out.
- Take on challenges with friends or colleagues. This can be something long term or based on a workout-to-workout basis. Timed challenges at the end of a workout or who can complete the most reps with a given exercise for instance, loser buys dinner.
- Learn to divert your brain away from the lactic acid pain that is felt when completing higher amounts of reps. If you focus your thoughts onto a specific area then normally you will feel pain in that area. Learning to detach the brain has helped me no end to push myself with my training and is a technique I picked up from Eoin Lacey from The Irish Strength Institute.
In conclusion, there is always something more to achieve. There is always a higher level we can push our bodies to. We just have to give it the correct stimulus in order to adapt. One of the most gratifying parts of personal training is seeing how good someone feels when they have accomplished something that they thought was way beyond their particular skill set. Taking someone from out of shape and overweight, to lean, strong and body confident is the reason I became a personal trainer in the first place. Part of that journey will always be to instil a gym work ethic within them that wasn’t previously there.