Have you ever wondered what the “secret” is to fitness? What is it that helps the dedicated stay focused, regardless of the challenges and tough situations life throws their way? How do they stay consistent one month to another, one year to the next? How can you finally achieve the body and good health you’ve always wanted?
The truth is, there is no definitive secret. When it comes to achieving your fitness goals, it’s your mindset that is the ultimate determinant of your success. The physical changes and results you seek are on the other side of mental training. You must first develop a fitness mindset.
What is a Fitness Mindset?
What is a fitness mindset? A fitness mindset is a growth-oriented mindset that enables you to embrace challenges, overcome obstacles and stay on track. It’s a collection of thoughts and beliefs that shape your ‘thought habits’. It keeps you moving forward and making progress in your fitness efforts, even when you experience setbacks or lose motivation.
With this mindset, there’s a recognition that strength isn’t the absence of struggle - it is the product of it.
Fitness is so much more than the number of miles you run out on the trails, how much weight you can lift, and how many races you’ve finished. Fitness is a lifestyle that has the power to shape the way you navigate the world. It influences every choice you make, from the foods you eat and the activities you enjoy to the people you surround yourself with and how you structure your day.
And this is just a small glimpse at how a fitness mindset can transform your life. When your mindset is locked down, it helps you overcome emotional struggles, learn more about yourself, and appreciate what your body is capable of. The benefits of a fitness mindset reach far beyond the physical workout itself.
Do You Have a Fitness Mindset?
So, if having a fitness mindset is a collection of thoughts, beliefs, and habits, what does that look like lived out on a daily basis? How strong is your fitness mindset right now? Here’s a list of ways you can develop a fitness mindset that's focused on growth (and signs you're on the right track).
You never shy away from a challenge
Regardless of where you’re at on your fitness journey, you can count on one thing to remain the same: the challenge. The challenge of showing up and giving it whatever you have to give that day, in spite of rejection, setbacks, obstacles, and disappointments. Repeat, repeat, and then repeat some more.
But that’s what those with a fitness mindset enjoy the most (yes, even crave). They chase the satisfaction only hard work can provide and never shy away from a challenge. With each conquered obstacle, you develop greater confidence, resilience, and grit. Constantly seek out your weaknesses and make it a goal to work on them daily, then watch how much your life transforms.
Your fitness goals are deeply rooted in your ‘why’
What is your ‘why’? What was it that motivated you to start your fitness journey in the first place? What is the reason you’re so passionate about continuing to pursue your goals? The answer to these questions is your ‘why’.
When you change your approach to challenges and use your ‘why’ as the driving force, the pieces will naturally fall into place. Motivation comes and goes, but your ‘why’ is steadfast and powerful. It gives you the focus to override all the unhelpful excuses we give ourselves. It creates a solid foundation from which you can take inspired actions that will ultimately lead you towards achieving your goals.
You understand that no one else is going to do the work for you - and you’re glad for it
The frequently used saying “Everything in life is earned, not given” is more than just a simple phrase — it's a way of life. Those with a fitness mindset understand that the real issue (and solution) is deeper than a workout. The gym teaches us to be accountable for ourselves, since the results we see are directly correlated to the dedication and effort applied over time.
Positive change is rarely comfortable. It requires you to shift your perspective, shatter your comfort zone and take responsibility for where you’re at right now. But the reward is a powerful mindset of perseverance that helps you reach your full potential.
You have a realistic perspective on failure
On the surface, failure is an ugly word. It's something most people go through their whole life fearing and avoiding at all costs. The notion that failure is a positive - even desirable - outcome goes against the grain. However, those with a fitness mindset understand it is an essential prerequisite to success.
When you're seeking to improve your strength, for example, you must first push yourself to failure to define your limits (e.g. testing your one-rep max on a lift). "Failure" is in fact the goal. If you only do what you know for certain you can achieve, how will you ever push beyond those limits? Learning to embrace failure, even striving for it, is what stimulates new growth.
You embrace the process, however long it takes
If you have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable and learn to welcome failure as lessons, it makes sense that you can't always rely on motivation to achieve your fitness goals. Those who achieve the most are the ones who go a step further and not only enjoy the results of their hard work, but the process itself.
The truth is, your training will never get easier. You just get better, stronger and (hopefully) learn to love the process. You build the identity of someone who is willing to do the work.
So, it would seem there isn’t a “secret” to fitness after all. It involves something much more powerful and potentially life changing: your mindset. Build an unbreakable fitness mindset, and your body will follow.
Cortney Rohde - Mudgear "Fanatic" Brand Ambassador
Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT)