Challenges come in many forms.

Whether it’s through work, family, or friends we all go through ups and downs. Being the nerd that I am, I researched some common challenges when it comes to fitness. After countless articles, the most difficult challenge for people who are just starting out…is showing up. Which in some cases it’s true, but showing up is just the tip of the iceberg.

The real challenge is when you’re in the middle of a workout. When your lungs are burning, muscles are fatigued, you’re trying to control of your breathe…and you still have a few sets to go.

What do you do?

It’s within that moment your mind goes into the fight-or-flight response. You’re probably thinking: what the heck is a flight-or-fight response?

Fight-or-flight response, also known as acute stress response, is a physiological reaction that happens when you’re in the presence of something terrifying. This is triggered by a release of hormones and prepares your body to either stay and deal with a threat or to run away. You’ve probably experienced this when you see a growling dog or when looking down a dark alleyway. In summary, the mind prepares the body to either “fight or flight”.

Pretty cool right? But check this out: 

The response can be triggered by both real and imaginary threats. Which means fight-or-flight pops up even when you are not in real danger. So when you see a workout that looks difficult or you’re in the middle of a run and you start to feel tired, fight-or-flight pops up and tells you to stop! This is the biggest hurtle you will face:

Your mental toughness!

The mind plays a big part in fitness. Without practicing your mental toughness (or grit), you’ll fall by the wayside easily. It’s up to you to know when fight-or-flight is working for you or against you. How do we do that? Analyze it.

When the responses pop’s up, think to yourself: “Am I in real danger or am I just afraid to fail? Will I let that workout freak me out, or will I go head on and give it everything I got?”

Our brain is an awesome thing, but when you see something that is different or that can test your limits, you brain will tell you to stop. If we want to achieve our goals, we have to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. Sp the next time you see a workout that looks scary and your brain is telling you to skip it, you just have to say: “I appreciate what you’re trying to do brain – but it’s alright, I got this”.

How do you exercise your mental toughness? Leave a comment below and let me know. Also if you like this post, make sure you share it with friends and family.

Till next time – stay classy,

Photo by Crossfit Road to the Games: Birds of Prey

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