The Mindset Needed for Weight Training:

Growth vs. Fixed Mindset

In today’s modern technology saturated world we are constantly stretching our attention span. We can find ourselves multitasking on several devices, in several conversations, trying to knock off items of our to-do list all at the same time. Training is a time to let go of daily distractions, stress and singularly focus on developing our natural human movement. 

The first key to the proper training mindset is to be present in the moment.  Focus on lifting weights.  Let all the other distractions go, and concentrate on your movements.  If you are going to get under a squat bar or pick up a deadlift and your not in the present moment, chances are bad things are going to happen.  If you have ever experienced true strength training you know that your mind cannot be anywhere else when you are under the bar.   When training you get a natural release of dopamine (the feel good chemical in your brain) so take advantage of it!  When you get that release and start to feel good, that’s the perfect opportunity to let the distractions go and hit another set.  If you’re not in the present moment chances are you will get hurt.  One of the greatest benefits of weight training is that it will put you in the present moment.  It will force you to be where your feet are.  In a world full of distractions the weight room is a place to practice singular focus.

In the book “Mindset” Dr. Carol Dweck claims that people either have a fixed or growth mindset.  She argues that successful people have more of a growth mindset.  When training it is imperative to have a growth mindset.  You are not going to get bigger, faster, stronger, lose weight, tone up or lean down in a couple of weeks.  Your results depend on how much time you are willing to invest.  If you set strict ceilings for yourself such as “I need to be this strong by this specific date” or “I struggle to lose weight so it impossible” - you a working under a fixed mindset.  You will undoubtedly become discouraged and could self sabotage your progress.

Knowing that you need to go into your fitness journey with a growth mindset is the first step in establishing life-altering results.  Understand that physical health is a life long process, not an over night success story.  You really want to get stronger? Squat every week for 10 years and then let’s see your progress.  You want to lose weight? How many months in a row have you tracked your macros? Understand that your commitment to your body will be a learning and a growth process will be the first steps in developing a growth mindset.  There are going to be days when you struggle to see progress.  You can’t see any more muscles in the mirror, the scale stays to say or you cant hit the weights the program prescribed.  If you take this as a temporary experience and make adjustments as necessary the progress will not stop.  Take the growth mindset into understanding the process that a fitness journey requires. 

Training and weight loss can become complex.  It can also become frustrating.   The ultimate goal should be to build a lifestyle around your health.  Part of lifestyle is to build a proper mindset.  Trying to build a mindset is just like building muscles, it takes proper training and time.  Start by trying to focus on what is in front of you at the present moment and learn along the way. 

A successful lifter needs to take on a certain mindset. The lifter needs to be “psyched up” for the lift but not too excited. Finding that perfect balance will allow you to achieve what is known as optimal arousal. If you want more information on optimal arousal I encourage you to look up Dr. Bryan Mann of Missouri University.  For most of us we simply need to be present and into the moment.

Josh Spicer