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Great Performance in the Gym Is a Habit

I’m also sure that you’ve suffered times when, no matter how badly you wanted to hammer out great sessions, you just couldn’t seem to get your act together.

Training at your highest level of performance—and doing so on a consistent basis—depends on how well you manage your emotional state and mental focus. I’m certain you’ve felt totally unstoppable many times and in control and powerful in the gym. Being in that state of mind has helped you produce some awesome workouts.

I’m also sure that you’ve suffered times when, no matter how badly you wanted to hammer out great sessions, you just couldn’t seem to get your act together.

Why can we perform so brilliantly one day and so poorly the next? For that matter, why can we feel so strong and powerful during one set of a particular exercise and extremely weak and uncoordinated on the very next one? Our training performance is often determined by our state of mind at a particular moment.

True champions can perform at peak more consistently than others. They can perform so well because they’ve learned the importance of controlling their mental state and have mastered how to do it.

Some effective bodybuilders may not even be aware that they have a set of rituals or certain idiosyncrasies when they’re at their very best, but I can assure you that they do. Those who consistently and efficiently lift impressive weights have developed a pattern of behavior for doing it.

You more than likely follow a pattern of behavior when you are strong and powerful. Do you think certain thoughts to get yourself fired up? Do you say certain things to yourself when you feel especially strong? Maybe you do certain movements with your hands when you are training at your best.

If you make yourself aware of exactly what your patterns of behavior are when your training performance is at its highest, you can make sure you call them up before every set of every exercise and before every exercise of every workout. Power, strength and performance in the gym can be “turned on” almost like a light switch.

Do you think I feel like training hard and heavy every single day? No way! I’m just like you. There are days when I’m distracted by everyday challenges in life. There are days when I’m fearful of training heavy. Just like you I have days when I’m just not as determined or motivated to train as other days.

I’ve learned what I can do to turn myself on instantly. I’ve taken the time to consciously figure out what I do with my body and my thoughts when I’m at my best—and I duplicate them before every set. Those rituals instantly fire me up and get me into a strong and powerful state of mind. Because I’ve done it repeatedly throughout the years, I don’t consciously think about it anymore.

If you don’t have any identifiable empowering behaviors, you may consider creating some. That may be just the strategy for helping you boost your power, strength and performance in the gym.

I recommend that you develop your own power rituals and practice them over and over. With enough time and effort, you can call on your brain to help you produce awesome workouts every time. Power, strength and peak performance will no longer be left up to chance. You’ll control your own bodybuilding and training destiny.

Train hard—and think big. You are a mass machine warrior!

Editor’s note: Skip La Cour is a six-time national bodybuilding champion, a success and leadership coach and the creator of the Mass Machine Bodybuilding and Training Program. Learn how you can become a Mass Machine Training warrior by visiting Sign up for the free weekly bodybuilding and training newsletter, and you’ll receive a free e-book.

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