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How Jen Widerstrom Talks Herself Through a Tough Workout

Every workout is an emotional journey. The highs can make you feel you could hoist a car over your head (and forget all your stress); the lows, well, you just want to quit on the spot. And just because I'm a fitness pro, that doesn't mean I'm exempt from this seesaw. To show you what I mean, I want to share exactly what went through my head one recent morning as I got to the gym for one of my favorite classes, a mix of cardio intervals and strength moves. My hope is that through this example you'll see that we're all playing the same mental games to push through, because that camaraderie is reassuring. Plus, maybe some of my mental chatter can help you crush your next workout (and avoid making mental mistakes at the gym).

lazy workout

9:55

Ugh. I don't feel like moving. Today it's just going to be too hard to get this body fired up.

9:58

OK, bailing's not worth it—it'll make me cranky. Focus on the aftermath. You'll feel so good—too good to pass up.

10:11

What can my body handle today? I did so well yesterday, but can I do that again?

10:16

Forget it. I'll just pretend I came to buy a protein bar and I'll skip and go tomorrow.

Nevermind

10:17

Crap. Tomorrow is too busy. I have to do this now. One day off has a way of turning into four.... OK, seriously–get out of your head, Jen. Stop being emo about it. Just go.

10:20

Oh, here's what we're doing today! I see running. OK. Kettlebells, fine. Jump rope, I have the wrong hair tie. Annnnnnnd dead lifts, thank god! I love a barbell! Oh, the hot guy is here. Bonus!

10:28

Blech. Why do I get so nervous about how I'll perform? I feel a little stupid for worrying about people thinking I'm weak. The clock is running. Go! Man, there is some bad form in this room.

10:36

I'm cruising on the deads! Tight grip, lean back. Wait, what pants am I wearing? Hot guy is on my six o'clock, so my stuff better not be see-through.

Drake srut

10:41

Look how good you're doing! Much better than you gave yourself credit for today. Pay attention to that.

10:43

Getting to well past halfway now. Don't slack off. Be like you teach. Train like you teach.

10:45

Argh. Too many mistakes on my double-unders. Go, go, go, damn. I tripped. Shake the arms and go. Stop wasting time. Yes! Forty in a row! Don't overcelebrate, stay steady. Forty-nine, fif–S**T. Tripped again. Ha. I always get too excited at 50.

10:46

Focus. Calm. Clear. Breathe. Hell, yes. Counting just to 20 over and over got me past 80 double-unders. Best round so far!

crushed it

10:47

I want to end this thing as strong as I started it. I will end this thing as strong as I started it.

10:48

Hey, that girl's form got better! Go, girl! OK, eyes off everyone else. Eyes off the ground. Jen, proud posture. Come on. Stay in your grind. Calm. Clear. Breathe.

10:49

I feel like people are watching me. Who cares? Do you, Jen? Focus on improvement. Not judgment.

10:50

I'm proud. Happy. I feel like a freaking Power Ranger. Like a ninja.

kick workout

10:51

I should get mental more often. This feels freaking great. (Thank you, endorphins.)

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