When we are trying to get continuous improvements in our fitness, whether its improvements in body composition or muscular strength, in order to do this we need to challenge ourselves and sometimes that can be tough.
So, I like to use on myself and my clients a little mind tool I call ‘The Million Pound Question’. Before we discuss ‘The Million Pound Question’ it is important that you understand the term ‘Progressive Overload’
Progressive overload is defined as ‘the gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during training’. Which basically means you aim to perform a little better in your training session than you did in the previous session. The combination of progressive overload, rest and nutrition then leads to ‘adaptation’ and this means that physiologically, you have progressed in your fitness levels. Many athletes take this principle so seriously that if they turn up to train and they cant perform better than they did in the previous session, they go home and rest on the basis that they have not fully recovered so have not fully adapted.
Progress isn’t always linear
Progress isn’t always linear, especially for the recreational athlete. There are so many influencing factors that effect our speed of recovery such as: sleep, stress, illness, nutrition, and toxicity. However, sometimes its none of those factors and it just comes down to good old fashion ‘motivation’.
When we are trying to get that extra rep out or run that little bit faster, sometimes we just don’t feel like giving it that extra umph! There are days when we just don’t feel like breaking out our comfort zone and we cant wait to finish the workout. Now if it is because we are poorly, injured or for any other good reason then we should probably listen to our bodies and take a break. However, if it is because we are just feeling a little lazy or unmotivated then we need to give ourselves a little kick up the backside. So here is a little technique I have used with my clients, my training partners and on myself.
The Million Pound Question
Whenever I have negative self talk that says run a little slower, drop some reps, or skip some sets then I ask myself this simple question:
If there was a suitcase with one million pounds in it, and all you had to do was finish this workout to be awarded the suitcase could you manage it?
If the answer is a definite yes, then I know I’m just being a wimp and I need to carry on and get the job done! Try it. It works for me and I know it works for others.
Now lets finish this with a couple of my favourite motivational quotes!
There is no change without challenge.
Life begins outside your comfort zone.
The greater the challenge, the greater the triumph.