Weakness and Mental Toughness for the Competitive Athlete

      There are two huge aspects of athletics that, in my opinion, separate the men from the boys.  The first is weakness. There are many ways to look at weakness, however, I like to define it as anything that holds someone back from reaching their true potential. This can be a specific exercise that they struggle with, it can be failure to focus on recovery and not just training, it could be a certain aspect of fitness such as endurance, or it could be some aspect of their personal or professional life. To really reach your true potential, its important to analyse all aspects of our lives and single out these weaknesses. To do this we must look at things objectively with complete and total self honesty. One great way to do this is to keep not only a training and nutritional log, but also record sleep, mood, and significant events that effected that day and training. Writing everything down will allow you to see where you are lacking and what your weaknesses are.The biggest and most common mistake an athlete can make is not recognizing and treating weaknesses.

The second aspect that i feel is monumentally important in fitness as well as life, is mental toughness. I see mental toughness not as beating the person next to me or always winning, i see it simply as conquering inner demons. These inner demons are what tell you to stop when the training gets hard, painful, and heavy or when your lungs are on fire. Physically the body can most likely do more, but the mind is weak and wants to take the easy way out. Mental toughness is what keeps us going when you feel like youve got nothing left. I see two huge demons in the box everyday that effect all of us, fear of failure, wrecking on the box or not being able to do another rep, and fear of the unknown meaning things you havent done, weights you havent lifted, or exercises youve never done. These two things if left uncontrolled will block gains. The beauty in mental toughness is that although it is not easily gained, it is a very simple thing to gain. Keep moving when your lungs are on fire, do one more rep when you dont have anything left, jump on a higher box, try a heavier weight, control your fears, and go as hard as you can. Every extra rep, every ounce of sweat and pain is a gain in mental toughness.

"Those who conquer others are strong, those who conquer themselves are mighty."