Guest post by Lisa Bullock
I’m competitive. Super competitive in fact – get out of my way if you’re in front of me, if you’re wearing yellow, if you’re younger than me, and especially if you’re on your phone when you should be working out!
Not all of us are competitive and in fact, you don’t need to be to achieve your goals. You need to find whatever drives you however, if you want to push yourself a little harder, a little further! I am SO competitive that when I’m in the checkout for Costco and I’m packing my groceries, I race the checkout operator! Sad but true!
I’ve never played team sports (a tiny bit of cricket when I was younger, and I only stuck around if I could bowl. Anything that involves throwing hard objects at other people sounded like fun to me!) And I won’t apologise for not being a team player! When it comes to working out, I play a lot of mind games with myself to get more out of the workout. I visualise a friendly rival (or a not so friendly rival) and imagine them training with me.
Could my pushups be deeper? Did I bring enough intensity? Could I have done just a few more squats? Added a bit more weight? It’s never about doing anyone else down, it’s about using different kinds of motivation to push yourself harder. There are so many little mind games you can play to improve your fitness and your performance and different tricks will work for different people.
A few years ago I did a charity walk for Oxfam – a global charity that runs Trailwalker events in countries like Australia, India, Hong Kong etc, where a team of four people walk or run 100km (62 miles) in 48 hours. Our goal was to complete the distance in 21 hours. My challenge was two-fold, I don’t usually like endurance training, I train with short, sharp workouts. The other challenge was how I would cope with a team event.
It was early autumn and still very hot weather. I may be an Aussie but I don’t like heat! Not extreme heat anyway. The day dawned bright and hot – really, really hot! It was 110 degrees by noon and I was wilting. There was bushfire danger in the area we were hiking through and part of the track was closed so we were forced to stop for a late lunch and to plan our change of route. As soon as we stopped I knew I was in trouble, I couldn’t eat and my blood sugar had dropped dramatically. I started to vomit. Yeah, I know! It’s one of my life skills and if I don’t practice I’ll lose it! So here I was, the new and improved Fit Lisa and I was back to my old tricks, walking AND vomiting!
I had texts from clients and friends coming in non stop through the day encouraging and motivating me to push through the nausea and the headache. There was NO way I was pulling out. A huge number of walkers (and runners ) pull out at the half way mark and I just was not going to be one of them. Later in the evening a huge weather change blew in, with storms, torrential rain and the temperature plummeted to 30 degrees. Six hours later I was still upright, still walking and still vomiting. I was desperate not to let my team members down and was beside myself about how I could keep going.
While it was of course, ALL about me, unbeknownst to me my team members were really struggling too. All of us had to call on deep reserves of strength/pride/sheer stupidity to keep going. We unanimously decided to sleep for three hours and then go on with a change of clothes and see how we fared. Huge lesson learned – you never know what you can do till you’re tested. And I guarantee, you can ALWAYS do more when pushed.
We took our break, we battled the cold, and the wet, and the mud and finished that event in 26 hours and it was a huge achievement for us all. In the end we were delirious with lack of sleep; abseiling down muddy embankments, crawling up muddy tracks on our hands and knees because it was so slippery you couldn’t stand. After the first 40 miles it’s not about the physical, it’s all mental! To make it to the next giant gum tree, to overtake that annoying person in front of me wearing a yellow shirt (why were they annoying? They were in FRONT of me – duh!), to make up a song that would distract me long enough to get to the next checkpoint. All of these were little tricks that I played in my mind, to get a bit more out of myself when it would have been so easy to give up.
And by the way, if you ask me to participate in another endurance event like that, the answer will be a polite NO. Well, possibly not that polite!
Never think that a physical challenge is only just that – the benefits of training your mind to persist and commit when things get tough is a huge benefit in the rest of your life. Find what pushes you. A Facebook friend recently posted an awesome tip – if she’s really struggling with motivation, she calls on her “10 minute rule”. She commits to the first ten minutes of a workout, and lo and behold, her energy comes back, she’s happy to keep going and she’s able to give herself the gift of a great workout. So go find your “yellow shirt” motivation! I’d love to hear about the mind tricks you use to get more out of your workouts. Comment below and share with us all.
Let Shawna and I motivate YOU to be your best with great workouts from Female Fat Loss over 40. No heat, rain or mud required!
Lisa Bullock is a Personal Trainer based in Melbourne, Australia. She’s run her successful fitness business for over 15 years and has trained over a 1000 clients helping them reach their health, fitness and wellness goals. Married for 27 years and mother to a daughter (22) and son (19), she is a proud proponent of the philosophy “keep on keeping on”. She believes that consistency is key to achieving goals. Lisa loves weight training with a passion; she’s boxed for over 12 years and sees no reason to stop soon! She’s faced her own health and weight issues and come out fighting. “I believe in training for the long haul” she claims, “I fully expect to be doing handstand push ups when I’m 60!.”