Most people don’t realize that bodybuilding isn’t just a physical sport – it’s actually very much a mental one. Bodybuilders, powerlifters and those training recreationally must have both the mental and physical sides figured out if they want to get anywhere with this sport. Most guys have the physical side down – they show up at the gym, go through the motions, etc. However, mentally they just aren’t there. They are thinking about other things like what their work or what they are going to do when they leave the gym. The same effort you put into showing up physically needs to be put into being mentally present. Since a lot of guys struggle with this, we’ve put together a list of tips on how you can up your mental game.
1 – Learn More About Your Role Models
We all have our favorite bodybuilders – Arnold, Coleman, Yates, etc. We definitely know how they look and what sort of training routines they did but we don’t know the mental side of things. Spend some time watching interviews and documentaries on these guys and you will definitely get some interesting tidbits on how these guys kept themselves sharp mentally. Remember that these guys spent years getting to the level they achieved so they definitely have had times where they didn’t feel fully engaged. One thing is for sure though – they all recognize the importance of staying motivated and being present during every workout.
2 – Always Be Learning
Most guys stop researching bodybuilding after they have been lifting for a while. It makes sense given that they have made some progress and seem to have things figured out. However, bodybuilding is a constantly changing sport. There is always new research coming out that changes the way people train, not to mention helpful new supplements.
For example, 10 years ago everyone thought that testosterone boosters were useless. However, in the last few years new products have been hitting the market that use natural ingredients with scientific research backing them. The result? People are able to get a nice boost to testosterone production without the nasty side effects of steroids. If you don’t follow the community, you don’t hear about exciting changes like this! If you are a bit behind on the testosterone booster craze don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Click here to check out our dedicated testosterone booster page which outlines which products you should be buying.
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3 – Find People in the Same Boat as You
It can be difficult to stay focused when you are surrounded by people who don’t care about bodybuilding. They will encourage you to skip workouts, eat junk food and won’t appreciate the hard work you are putting in. This is why it’s helpful to join bodybuilding communities where you can get valuable feedback and encouragement for what you are doing. Even if you don’t have close friends who lift, by joining a community you will be able to post your progress pictures and get valuable feedback on your training.
4 – Set Realistic Goals
We all know that new guy who starts lifting with the goal of putting on 50 pounds of muscle in one year. It’s not surprising that 1 year later he simply isn’t lifting anymore. 50 pounds of muscle in a single year is a near-impossible goal for someone who is genetically gifted and taking tons of steroids, so as a natural bodybuilder it’s simply impossible. Instead, do some research on what realistic goals are and strive for those. Putting on 2 pounds of muscle per month, for example, might not seem like much but after a year that equals 24 pounds and will make you look a hell of a lot better.
5 – Turn Your Phone on Airplane Mode
Smartphones can actually help bodybuilders in many ways. First of all, they allow us to track our training programs and diets. Also, we can use them to play music which helps motivate us. However, if you are in the gym texting and browsing the net you will be hurting your results. Every time you take your phone out to do something other than recording data you are distracting yourself. It happens all the time – guys take phone calls while training and end up taking a 10 minute break between sets instead of the usual 1 minute. Do yourself a favor – turn your phone on airplane mode to focus more.
6 – Always Remember Why You Started Lifting
We all have days where we don’t feel like going to the gym. It’s easy to get bogged down with all the random crap that comes up in our lives, but that doesn’t mean you should lose focus on why you started lifting in the first place. Any time you don’t feel like going to the gym just think back to what motivated you in the first place. Maybe you were tired of being the skinny weak guy. Maybe you wanted to uncover that six pack. Whatever it was, ask yourself – are you ready to give up on that goal? This sort of thinking will motivate you to put the excuses aside and get to the gym.
7 – Create Some Friendly Competition
One of the most useful traits men have is our competitive drive. You see it all the time in team and 1v1 sports. However, with bodybuilding it can be difficult to unlock it given that it’s primarily a solo sport. We recommend finding people who have similar goals to you and create a friendly competition. See who can increase their bench press the most, or put on the most muscle. It might sound stupid, but we do it all the time and have found that we make far greater progress this way. It helps if you guys train together some of the time as well so if you are falling behind you will be motivated to pick up the slack and catch up!