It’s amazing how good we are at fooling ourselves. Once even more amazing is how we do it so much that we can’t even tell that we are doing it half the time. As a trainer I can tell when my clients need to be pushed and when what they are doing is too easy for them. The funny thing is, their view and experience of what’s going on is very different from what I view from the outside. So when I see my client can safely complete a given set of reps, the weight generally goes up. This continues to happen until we find a weight that challenges the body enough to elicit the response we are looking for ie. strength, muscle development, fat loss etc.
The big disconnect comes when I ask them to increase weight to something they’ve never done before. I get “Are you sure?”, “You can’t be serious, I’ve never lifted that, I can’t do that”. Now, I can tell that what they’ve just lifted isn’t heavy enough. I can see their technique, how heavy they are breathing, how much they are sweating. So to their statement I ask “Why do you think you can’t lift this weight?” and the answer is almost always “I don’t know”. Somewhere along the way they become afraid of lifting passed a certain weight but when asked why, there is usually no actual reason. They just have never done it, and by default assume they can’t do it. It’s not that something actually happened one day and they got injured or that they have attempted it and know they physically can’t do it. Not even close. It’s just in their head they’ve created a story in which this particular weight just can’t be lifted.
We do this ALL THE TIME. We create stories in our head about something and keep telling it to ourselves over and over until we actually starting living our lives based on the FAKE story we’ve made up in our head. Think about that. It’s like watching the a TV show, convincing yourself that’s how real life is, and then living your life based on the TV show you watched. Go around for a day and act like the Kardashians, it’ll take you about eight seconds before you get punched in the mouth. It’s not real!
Your brain will create limitations based on passed experiences. So if you never lifted more than 30lbs for a goblet squat then you’re always going to think that’s what you can lift. However what you brain says you can do, and what your body can actually do are two different things. The whole trick with working out is pushing back that mental limit just a little bit every time you work out. Because that day you decide to pick up that 35lbs dumbbell squat your butt ass to grass, guess what just happened. You pushed your limit back. Because now, the next day, your brain knows it can do 35lbs, so you repeat your effort until it becomes less difficult. Rinse, Lather, Repeat.
Do not think that you are incapable of doing something simply because you haven’t done it before. Free your mind and you shall free your body. And for the love of god stop watching the Kardashians.