Think about this: you’re running, it’s hot, you’re tired and up ahead you got that last hill you need to face so you’re making sure you got the right song on your iPod that’s gonna get you up that hill and onto home sweet shower!
But wait… the Rocky theme song you’re blasting into your head suddenly goes silent and all hopes of throwing your hands up into the air once you’ve reached the top are swept away and you’re left standing there in the middle of the hill/steps/mountain/whatever your nemesis may be, with nothing but heavy breathing, a silent head and a sweltering body. All the motivation just completely zapped out of you. Run over. Victory delayed. Motivation gone.It didn’t have to be that way you know. The battery didn’t have to die like that, leaving you alone to tackle your nemesis. There is in fact, a better way. A way to get even more out of your runs (and strength workouts) that you’ve never imagined possible.
There’s… chanting. (Unexpected and anti-climactic I realize but stick with me here, chanting isn’t for crazies and meditators anymore, it’s for all of us!)
How many times a day do you tell yourself that You can do it, or I’m motivated and strong, or Ooooohhh raaaahhhhh, I rock, I’m strong, this hill has got nothing on me, or even This is my time, my goal, my achievement. Not often right?
Of course not. We’re not prone to naturally think positively about ourselves. Most people have the tendency to talk down, to be disappointed in and berate themselves. That’s just bad energy to surround yourself in.
But to tell yourself you’re great, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to; well that’s power. To constantly tell yourself, over and over, that you’re strong, motivated, dedicated and committed while you’re exercising is taking the right step towards slowly breaking down your mental barriers and helping yourself to achieve your fitness (and life) goals.
Don’t get me wrong, I realize chanting may sound a little cheesy and new-agey (two things I try to avoid sounding like) but there are times when I must bow to a higher power, and that power is something I feel when I’m talking to myself and saying that I’m strong, I can do this and I deserve it. Take it from me, a work-in-progress negative self-talker recoverer, this positive chanting stuff helps. I’m no Mary Poppins yet but I’m working my way up to at least three steps above Eor status; sad little donkey that he is, if ever there was a need for positive reinforcement.
There is a boot camp instructor out in California (I know what you’re saying… of course in California!) who uses chanting in a militaristic fashion to motivate his clients and honestly, it works. I’ve tried it on my own clients and what ultimately starts to happen is that look of pain and annoyance at having to do yet another squat thrust actually turns into a smile, a laugh, and eventually a little itty-bitty chant may escape their lips. It’s fun to experiment with and if you need help in coming up with one, try this:
Life’s too short…. this is for me…. I want it so I gotta work for it…. I’m motivated… dedicated… rejuvenated! I will make it… I will take it… this time I’m not faking it! Power to perform… power to succeed… I have what I need!
Just shout it out, have fun with it and don’t take yourself too seriously! (At the very least, you won’t have to worry about your iPod poopin’ out on you during your run!)Anne Marie Costanzo is a nationally certified personal trainer and owner of Little Black Dress Personal Training. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (914) 841-1121.