The Workout Hump

Posted in Health and Fitness by Elizabeth on November 12, 2010

Rah! I am invincible!

In almost every workout there is a hump. That apex point at which you consider ending the workout there or pushing onward until the end you originally set. Or perhaps, rather than ending the workout, you consider taking the intensity level down a few notches. Skipping the last set of reps on that dead lift, going from an 8 minute mile to a 9:30, or taking an extra long break in the middle of your century bike ride. I say almost every workout because there are those times that you are just on. You drive that workout into the ground because you own it, the pre-run runners high effect.  Those are our invincible days and yea, they rock.

But the rest of the time there’s that nagging hump. Unless you’re dealing with an injury, this hump is all in your head.  So much of workouts are mental and this hump demonstrates your mental power on that particular day and at that particular time.  When you mentally start to negotiate with yourself about your ability to finish or your need to slow down, there are ways to win this fight.  At the moment midrun that you are thinking to yourself, “I can stop here and still feel like I did something today,”  or the moment midlift when you are thinking “I can only do 2 and a half sets today”, there is another voice to be heard.  It says, “but you know you can run for another 15 minutes” or maybe it just calls you a wus.  Either way it is the truth factor, that part of the brain that reminds you if you stopped now, you’d be doing less than you truly can.  Sometimes this voices loses because its not the most polite voice.  But it’s there and listening to it means getting over the hump.

I’ve found the best way to listen to that truth factor is to change what it is saying.  Rather than calling yourself a wus for even considering backing down from your original goal, shift your thought process to something more positive.  When you hear the truth factor, remember that it is trying to tell you how much you really can do.  Call yourself a champion, picture yourself as Rocky, or Michael Johnson, or your athletic hero of choice.  If there were ever a time to puff up your ego, now is it.  Or even something as simple as concentrating on your breathing or the tick, tick, tick of the water bottle on the machine next to you gives you that steady comfort of a pattern that you don’t want to disrupt.

over the hump!

In my pilates classes there are sometimes moments when I think, if I lift my head, neck, and shoulders off the mat one more time I might get stuck like that.  It’s at this time that I focus on the flow of the controlled breathing and think about controlling my muscles with my robot mind (the robot is invincible!).  Last night I was in a pilates session when my legs were feeling like cement logs right when the instructor hit me with the truth factor.  In her Finnish accent she exclaimed, “Isn’t it great that we only have two legs!  Could you imagine doing this four time!”  All of a sudden I was over that hump, the side leg series became that much easier, and yes it is great that we only have two legs!

So in your next workout, don’t succumb to the hump.  Take hold of that truth factor and make it yours!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: