8 Mental Fitness Tips To “Work In”

As a transformational coach with a driven passion to help transform the mindset that is required to create a life you desire, I am also a fitness enthusiast and am fully aware of not only what it takes to build better lives but also the body composition for healthier and stronger bodies. Pre-pandemic, I’ve spent a lot of time in the gym and couldn’t help but to see how fitness challenges are parallel to our life challenges with the same goal and that is a more beautiful, stronger, better result, albeit life or a physical body. This awareness led me to apply fitness principles to navigate my challenges in life so that I’m achieving health and wholeness, whether I’m working out or working in! See how these fitness tips for physical challenges can be used for mental challenges as well.

1. BREATHE. While working out I constantly have to remind myself to breathe. Why? Because the oxygen fuels the body, enabling it to endure the activity. It's easy to forget to breathe as we brace ourselves when met with a challenge. This is self-preservation. It's best to let go, release and breathe through the difficulties. Holding your breath can lead to panic as it can make the challenge more difficult, tiring you out faster and tempting you to give up and possibly pass out!

2. STRETCH. Stretching the capacity of a muscle makes it stronger, gives it more flexibility, decreases injury risks, and gives us better overall muscle tone. Stretching our minds through exploration and innovation, we grow in our knowledge, reasoning, and understanding. The same holds true spiritually. Stretching our faith increases the capacity for greater callings or assignments God desires for us that builds our faith. Let's be intentional about stretching by exposing ourselves to new experiences and embracing challenges outside our comfort zone.

3. DON’T SACRIFICE FORM. In weight training, how the weight is lifted is just as important as lifting the weight. Proper form should not be ignored as sacrificing form can cause injury, thereby stagnating your growth. How we look at our challenges without this new mindset can discourage us and cause us to have a bitter disposition leading to developing unhealthy coping mechanisms.
4. MIND/MUSCLE CONNECTION. Muscle growth requires better quality muscle contraction through a mind to muscle connection. Muscles aren’t developed by moving the weight stack up and down, but by a forced contraction from lifting the weight. Progression doesn’t come by merely existing, disassociating or avoiding. Feel what you must feel to get through what you must go through. Being present in your life is to be keenly aware, connected and engaged which makes for a more meaningful life.
5. CARRYING WEIGHT. See your problems and trials in life as weight in a gym against which muscles grow. Character growth comes only through resistance and the gift of that growth gives you power.
6. SPOTTERS. Spotters in the gym are people used to assist someone in pushing weight further beyond their limits. A confidante you can trust is a healthy addition to your journey. Therefore, be wise and discerning in who you choose for assistance. I wouldn’t want a spotter who I supposedly trust to keep me from harm, allow the weight to fall on me!
7. DIET/NUTRITION. What we consume through our eyes and ears is just as important as what we consume in our diets to nourish our bodies. Guard your mind by being selective with what you choose to allow inside your thoughts. Whether we know it or not, external forces have psychological influences that may significantly impact our lives.
8. PERSONAL TRAINER. Having a fitness mentor is optional but very helpful, especially in the beginning stages of your fitness journey. However, a spiritual higher power to assist you and prepare you through training for the challenges ahead to keep you on course, alert and strong is imperative to endure the journey.
If you can remember that life is a marathon and not a sprint, then you can rest knowing you have a lifetime to build the life you desire. It would be wise to commit to the process because what if it isn’t about the happy ending, but about the story?
You have a race to run. Let's finish well and finish strong!