How we interpret this input and then act on it is what sets people apart, this is the essense of mental toughness.
Simplified, the muscles say to the brain, “okay, I’m tapped, that’s it, nothing left, better stop”. That’s the sensory input.
The brain then creates its perception of what’s really happening, kind of like “okay, muscles talkin’ to me, out of gas, not likin’ it”.
Then last, and most important, we decide how to act on the perception. Yep, here’s where the toughness part comes in. “Oooh, my poor muscles, they’re not happy, this isn’t fun, I really don’t need more reps, call it good here”.
Or, we can choose to interpret our perception differently and to act differently, like “yea, burn baby, I rule the world, nothin’ stops me, dig more you muscles, dig more!”
So really, what’s the difference? Same weight load, same body, same reps, same sensory input to the brain. The difference is how we deal with the information fed to us, and how we deal with the information is usually a function of motivation.
Motivation is generally a function of a) believing that our goals are highly meaningful, and b) believing that we have the power to affect a positive outcome of our goals. So think about it, basically this is about the pull of your motivation overcoming the drag of your fatigue sensory input.
So be mentally tough, focus on the goals, not on the barriers!
For masters athletes, motivation dwells in the mind.
The mind has to be strong, and that comes primarily from having a strong sense of motivation.
Motivation comes from desiring a specific outcome or future state, and feeling convinced that we have the absolute power to affect that outcome. This is precisely why so many people love health and fitness, because the individual is in total control and there’s very little other people can do to screw it up for you. We can’t say that about too many things in life, it makes our fitness goals a great outlet for feeling and being in control of at least one important life dimension. Here’s another important thought…