Fit Tip: 5 Tips Pushing Through A Tough Workout

Posted On Feb 8, 2021 By Lisa Traugott

A woman exercising with headphones.

One year for Christmas my mother gave me a joke gift – an “Easy” button. You would push it and it said, “That was easy!” Wouldn’t it be great if we all had an easy button? Totally could have used it for the last year as 2020 was pretty tough. While I can’t offer you that, I can give you some tips to get through a tough workout, when you’re muscles are ready to quit but your brain doesn’t want to. These are five tricks my clients have found useful to get through their workouts.

  1. Count backwards.

    Let’s say you have to do 15 reps on a squat rack. By the tenth rep you begin questioning why you thought weight lifting was a good idea. Count backwards the last five reps (5-4-3-2-1). It tricks your brain into realizing that the end is near.

  2. Distract yourself.

    This is very helpful when you are trying to get through timed planks. Sometimes I have my clients sing the alphabet or I’ll ask them about the latest drama at work. When they are thinking of other things they are not focused on how hard an exercise is for them. At the gym where I work we have pictures on the walls of our clients on stage at bodybuilding competitions. Sometimes I’ll have my clients look at the picture of the physique they are looking to achieve and have them focus on it when they are doing an exercise they find particularly tough. It reminds them of what their goal is and why they are putting in the effort now.

  3. Break it into chunks.

    Getting on a treadmill for 30 minutes can be overwhelming. Focus on finishing it one minute at a time. Tell yourself, “You can do anything for 60 seconds.” Once you break past that mini-wall it’s usually easier to keep going until you finish.

  4. Breathe.

    There is power to breath. It centers your mind and the oxygen gives strength to your muscles. When you are at the toughest point of lifting, exhale. Here’s an extra trick – breathe through your nose. A recent study that followed runners discovered that those who used nasal breath had more oxygen get to active tissues than runners who breathed through their mouths.

  5. Listen to the right music.

    Music can motivate you. Adele might work when you’re home relaxing, but when you’re at the gym pick music that will make you move faster. My personal playlist is eclectic. When I’m weight lifting I like to throwback to 90s gansta rap, but when I’m on the elliptical it’s kind of fun to listen to the theme song from Frozen. There’s always something fun about listening to your favorite songs, and that’s a bonus mind-body connection for you to associate pleasant experiences with exercise.

That was easy!