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Don't Play Mind Games: Mental Health & Fitness

If you ask your average person about the mental aspects of health and fitness, they probably won’t have much to say—or, even worse, they’ll tell you it doesn’t matter. Unfortunately, this way of thinking keeps people from reaching their goals.

This seeming paradox leads many people to endure a form of suspended action. Which comes first, working out to strengthen the mind or the mental strength to step into the gym? Instead of getting caught up in the chicken or egg debate of a healthier lifestyle, there are a few things that one can do to improve their mental health with regards to physical fitness and use it to their advantage.

Start Small and Start Right

When we're starting on a fitness journey, or coming back from a break from one, it can be easy to take on too much in too little time. As humans in a modern age, we expect results fast. And if we don't see results, we often self-sabotage, thinking that our goals were never attainable or that physical and mental change isn't worth the overall effort. Before you get into a cycle of self-doubt, jumpstart your time at P1 Fitness with a positive psychological and physical mindset. 

Set attainable goals: emphasizing unattainable goals can tank your motivation. Sure, it might seem worthwhile: we want to set big goals for ourselves because it feels great to reach them. But setting smaller, attainable goals is satisfying in a completely different way. Those smaller steps can lead to more significant leaps toward that big goal.

Be constructive with your feedback: When you make a conscious choice to talk to yourself positively, your mind reacts the same way that it would respond to positive reinforcement from another person. This builds muscle memory (good mental habits) in the brain and provides real mental benefits. Likewise, when constructive feedback is consistently given with compassion, it reinforces good behaviors and makes you more likely to repeat them. By building a healthy relationship with yourself through positive reinforcement and constructive criticism, you can confront those fitness obstacles knowing that you have just as much chance of success as anybody else.

Know When to Seek Out Mentors

Ultimately, mind games and secretive self-inflicted suffering are counterintuitive to mental and physical health. If you’re struggling to get into better shape, the most powerful thing you can do is get yourself out there and ask for help. Health concerns rarely resolve themselves without some form of outside intervention; progress on your fitness goals is largely dependent on having an objective source of support beyond yourself.

Consider your training environment: It’s important to exercise for your physical health, but moving your body is equally important to your mental wellbeing. Over the past two years, many of us went from getting our exercise at the gym to suddenly working out from home. Unfortunately, that quick shift may have left you without the proper social support or environment needed to continue your fitness journey in the way you wished. With two years to make adjustments, most people are happy to work out primarily from the comfort of their own home. However, for those who relied on the help of a personal trainer or rigorous workout routine, there are still options to get that in-gym experience at home.

No More Mind Games

We know how hard it can be to get your foot in the door of the fitness world. It's important to remember that the mental game is more important than the physical game when it comes to getting started and staying motivated.

What we mean by this is you need to keep your mental health at the forefront of your mind when you're setting fitness goals, making plans, and executing those plans. We believe in pushing our bodies and minds in the healthiest, most sustainable way. This means never putting too much pressure on yourself because that pressure can lead you away from your ultimate goals for your overall health.

That's why it's so crucial that you take care of yourself mentally and physically when starting a fitness program, whether you’re a seasoned athlete or just beginning to take care of your nutritional and exercise needs. If you find yourself struggling to fight the mental warfare of a balanced exercise regimen, the P1 team is here to help you put those mind games aside.

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