We have all been told I am sure at certain times in our lives that “It is all in our mind” that “We can do anything that we put our minds to”. Well turns out these people were right! Tim Noakes, M.D., author of Lore of Running, has long argued that it is the brain that allows or limits endurance performance rather than the body. His “central governor” theory says that “the brain is there to look after you and to make sure whatever you do, you do it safely.”
So you know that point in your workout when your body is saying “ok enough already!” What it is really saying is “hey you!, I get it you like to work out but let’s leave a little in the gas tank just in case…”
So how do you overcome this brain fatigue… to push harder to toward true physical fatigue?
You have to train your brain. In order to grow and make gains you have to get a little uncomfortable. This is true with many things. Continuing to do the same things over and over again will only get you the same result over and over again. To truly improve you need to try something new and push past that comfort zone. Pushing past when your brain tells you are tired and giving it just a little more effort is what will give you the biggest gains and help you build towards a new and improved status quote or comfort zone.
Routine plays a big part in the mental game of moving past your comfort zone and getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. If you make working out a part of your routine and know that at a certain time you are going to workout and push hard you are more likely to mentally overcome the challenge because you planned for it. You mentally prepared yourself ahead of time for the challenge. When things become routine we are more likely forsake things to ensure the routine stays in tact… a dinner invite out, a telephone call, time on the couch. We find comfort in the routine itself.
The cycle then is really simple. By making tasks routine such as working out we are able to mentally prepare ourselves to take on the task and push ourselves to do better or outside of our comfort zones to reap the reward of improvement.
Next time you are pushed to your limits … you likely have a little more you can give… your brain is lying to you!