Five Fatal Fitness Mental Roadblocks (And How To Overcome Them)

January 29, 2019

About the Author: Daniel Freedman

Most lifters have the drive and knowledge to eat and train their way to a high-performance body. But few succeed.

Why? They fail to do what’s most important and makes all the difference:
Win the mental game going between their ears.

Conquer these five mental roadblocks to stay focused. You’ll develop the consistent habits and skills needed to build and keep a high-performance body.

Roadblock #1: Fear Of Failure

Failure: Lack of success.

Failure is part of the game. It’s everywhere and in every facet of life.

Show me a quarterback who’s never missed a throw.

Show me an entrepreneur who’s never failed with an idea or a business.

And show me a successful lifter who’s never missed a workout, a rep, or cheated on his diet.

Failure happens.

Unfortunately, many lifters mistake one small failure for definitive proof that they can never lose fat, build muscle, or get strong.

So they immediately go into puppy mode and start chasing next shiny object or 7-day tea detox.

By way of antidote, here’s some tough love. We are not all special snowflakes. We all need to fail. It makes us stronger in the end.

We develop to become resilient. Accept that failure is part of the learning curve.

Find out what went wrong and fix it.  Own your failure and get back to it. You only fail when you refuse to get back in the game.

Roadblock #2: Looking for the Hack or Shortcut

Searching for shortcuts is a first class ticket to failure, especially if you haven’t done the required work in the first place. The short and easy road is often the quickest route to failure. Taking the hard and long road is the only real way to succeed.

So skip instant gratification and the Instagram selfie for the #fitfam.

You can’t undo years of bad choices with a 30 challenge, detox, or quick fix. Results don’t happen overnight. There is no easy way.

The best bodies take years of hard work to build. Here’s how:

  • Focus on building a necessary foundation of strength in major movement patterns before competing on the stage or platform.
  •  Don’t try an advanced arm specialization workout when you can’t do a chin-up or bench your bodyweight, let alone 1.5x your bodyweight.
  • Count your calories and learn the basics of portion control before hopping on the next fad diet.
  • Don’t cash in all your chips for an aggressive fat loss diet when you haven’t learned how to put the fork down in the first place.

Pay your dues and put in the work. You’ll be rewarded with the body and wisdom you’ve earned.

Roadblock #3: All or Nothing Thinking

The black or white/feast or famine mindset means you’re either all in or all out.

It’s not a healthy long-term plan for success.

When you bulk, you eat everything in sight and train like a demon.

When you’re cutting, your life revolves around counting every grain of rice and going as hard as possible until you hit the wall.
How often does that happen? 100% of the time. It’s inevitable.

This mindset can have its advantages. When you’re on, you’re on. You’re able to push harder than the average person and go all-in with extreme levels of discipline.

But only for a while. Then the backsliding self-sabotage starts.

Here are a few classic examples:

  • Intermittent fasting during the day…followed by uncontrolled binging at night.
  • The classic “dirty” bulk, resulting in tons of fat gain, followed by an aggressive cut, leading to the classic “yo-yo dieting physique.”
  • Cheat meals…followed by cheat days or weeks.

I’m all for creating habits that work around your lifestyle, but you must accept that you’ll need to make long-term changes if you want to see long-term progress.

To escape the feast or famine mindset, try the following:

  • Start be re-evaluating your goals from the ground up.
  • Define “why” this goal matters to you.
  • List the behaviors that will lead to success in your goal.
  • Focus on one goal every two weeks, then add to it and improve.
  • Hire a coach or use a training buddy as a source of accountability to stick to your plan.

Good habits take time to develop. Poor practices take dedication to break. With a sustainable plan of action, you can say goodbye to the feast or famine mindset.

Roadblock #4: Putting One Method On A Pedestal

It’s fashionable to take a dogmatic, hard-line perspective when it comes to getting jacked. You know the messages I’m talking about.

You need to squat, bench, and deadlift if you ever want to get strong.

CrossFit is the answer. (Or CrossFit sucks.)

You have to run to lose weight. (Or running sucks for weight loss.)

The truth is, any number of approaches can work if they are built on the real foundations of success: progressive overload, consistency, and discipline.

Most lifters run into problems when they stubbornly apply one method to the exclusion of all others or fail to adapt as their bodies change. 

One classic example? 

The former high school athlete who still follows his 5×5 BFS program from high school. This doesn’t take into account:

  • the 50 hours a week he spends as a cubicle drone.
  • the back injury he got moving his couch out of his mom’s basement.
  • the beer gut he grew while spending his 20’s failing to outgrow his frat boy ways.

Yes, the basics are critical. But your training must adapt to the changes in your body, your lifestyle, and your schedule. That’s how you make progress and remain injury-free. 

Learn. Grow. Adapt.

Again: anything can work given it fits your body, your schedule, is done consistently and provides progressive overload.

Roadblock #5: Waiting For Motivation

Don’t worry about motivation.

Motivation serves only the limited purpose of giving you a quick initial impulse to take action.

Counting on motivation is like answering those 2:00 AM texts from your ex. It always ends badly.

There is a better way. It’s the old-fashioned virtue called discipline.

You’re in control. You can be the master of your own destiny. There is no need to fall into the destructive mindsets discussed above.

You can do better.

You can do more.

Will you rise to the occasion?

If so, take the first step by using a workout that improves your life, rather than consumes it, like the Minimalist Muscle Blitz. Your workouts are perfectly designed for the busy, stressed out person looking to build muscle in as little as 30-40 minutes per workout.

Join the Blitz Today:


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