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  • Writer's pictureTom Foxley

How To Crush Every Training Session

Today, I’m going to teach you how to leave your training sessions with no regrets.

You’ll learn how to go all in on workouts when it really counts and lose that disappointed feeling you get when you hold back.

If you’re like a lot of the athletes I speak to who haven’t started mindset training yet, you aren’t leaving the gym knowing you’ve crushed workouts.

You probably feel disappointed and frustrated.

Maybe you have plateaued.

Your sessions are probably filled with negative self-talk.

So the fun has disappeared and the growth has stopped.

It’s time to go all in on your training sessions. Training - and let’s face it life - has never been about half-assing it has it?

You only get one shot at this, and to become the athlete and person you have the potential to be, you have to go all in.

If you want to make your life count, you’ve got to go all in.

Here’s what we’re going to cover:

  • Why you need to seek out hardship

  • A 2 minute positivity tool that transforms training sessions

  • Flipping the script when shit gets tough

  • Becoming the type of person who thrives under hardship

Seek out more hardship in your life

One of my first major revelations in mindset was that I shouldn’t be trying to avoid hardship. Instead I should be seeking out as much of it as I could possibly handle.

This new approach changed my life.

And it changed the results I got in training too.

I became more resilient. My mindset became stronger. I became more positive under challenging situations.

Surprisingly to me at the time, the skills I learned through seeking out hardship, became essential in everything I did in all areas of my life.

When you perform rewarding behaviours, your body releases dopamine - a motivation and reward neurochemical (brain chemical).

When your brain is flooded with dopamine, you’re more likely to repeat whatever released that dopamine again.

That’s one of the reasons that your phone, sugar, and sex become so attractive to you: the dopamine release.

There’s a hack though: by telling yourself that effort is a good thing, and that you’re taking yourself closer to the goal, you can encourage a dopamine dump into your brain…

…even if the thing you’re doing doesn’t naturally release much dopamine!

So make doing difficult things your goal, and you will do more of it in the future, and crush more workouts.

This is something I’ve applied time and again with my athletes. I encourage them to go toward hardship rather than shying away from it.

I said it so much that for a long while, ‘Embrace Hardship’ was our motto.

The 2 minute positivity hack

Every week I speak to athletes who tell me about their self-talk in training sessions.

“Man, I suck at heavy lifts…”

“I’ll never get that technique dialled in…”

“I just feel so scared…”

The common theme in all these calls is a negative outlook.

Negativity sucks the soul out of performances.

Sure, once in a while you’ll build up such a self-loathing, that you’ll surprise yourself with a good performance.

But most often, telling yourself you're weak just makes you weak.

You cannot - and definitely should not - just say positive affirmations over the top of negativity.

The conscious mind will never overpower the unconscious mind.

Positivity and self-belief is something which can be trained, though.

You don’t do this during the session. You do it at the end of the session.

When you’re packing your gear away, grab a notepad, or the notes in your phone, and write down as many things as possible which were wins.

A win is anything that moved the needle toward a better version of you, made you feel proud of yourself, or helped you overcome a mindset challenge.

This is called an AMWAP - As Many Wins As Possible.

When you begin to count your wins, and not your scars, you will find a little more positivity in your training, and you’ll start to believe in yourself a bit more.

Sticking Points

In a sweltering office on one of the hottest days of the year, Chris Hinshaw made a point so obvious that it blew my mind.

Chris is an endurance coach for top level CrossFit athletes, and I was interviewing him on the Limitless Athlete Podcast.

Before each session, Chris will encourage his athlete to identify the Sticking Point - what the athlete determines will be the toughest part of the hour or two to follow.

Together they will make a plan to overcome it.

Sounds simple right, but how often do you actually do this?

More appropriately, how often does a workout take you by surprise?

You’re doing fine, then BOOM - you’re floored.

You need to identify in advance your biggest challenge, then come up with a plan for how you’re going to deal with it.

By imagining this process and then writing it down, you’ll be visualising successfully overcoming the hardship too. It’s a win-win.

I used this approach in a 52km ultramarathon in the Welsh mountains. I knew it would be at about 45km in - with a massive climb still to come - that I would be at my weakest.

Because I identified this point in advance, left an extra energy gel for this moment.

I also knew I was going to remind myself what percentage of the day I had left ahead of me.

This was enough to get me through.

Build Character on top of fitness

Marcus Aurelius was the most powerful man on earth when he penned his private diary which eventually became ‘Meditations’.

The Emperor of Rome started this personal journal with a list of character traits he admired in others, and that he had picked up from mentors.

From my grandfather Verus I learned good morals and the government of my temper.

From the reputation and remembrance of my father, modesty and a manly character.

From my mother, piety and beneficence, and abstinence, not only from evil deeds, but even from evil thoughts; and further, simplicity in my way of living, far removed from the habits of the rich.

Aurelius, with all his importance, power, and responsibility, knew it was his character, not his skill set which was responsible for his position.

As the journal goes on, Aurelius speaks of the challenges he faced and the ways he practised the character he needed to overcome the difficulty.

Just like Aurelius’ strenuous meetings, every training session is your opportunity to forge your character.

Identify who you need to become to attain your goals, and practise being that person.

It’s character which creates success, not luck, talent or even skill.


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