Strong Body Strong Mind

Last week, one of my clients told me about an training exercise he did while in the military. The training exercise was 48 hours of straight physical and mental effort, including marathon distance hikes and runs, climbing, shooting, and swimming across rivers. With no time for sleep, push through extreme fatigue in order to complete the challenge. If he had never done it, he admits he wouldn't believe he could do it. Since he did it, he now knows that he can.

While the military might be an extreme example of pushing the limits, the principals applied in this type of training describe another reason we civilians should workout.

Becoming faster, stronger and fitter means pushing yourself- and that can be uncomfortable. Pushing through boundaries not only strengthens the body, it also strengthens the mind. Being mentally tough during a workout and pushing yourself is excellent practice for tackling challenges and overcoming obstacles in other aspects of life.

My husband is a good example of using a workout to exercise mental toughness. He doesn't love exercise. He might rather not exercise at all. He knows that overcoming the intense urge to not workout, and pushing past the boundaries of comfort during a workout, makes him a stronger person. Because he practices mental toughness on a relatively regular basis, he is better equipped to take on challenges at work.

To improve your mental toughness (and fitness level) pushing yourself during a workout is key. Here are three ways to challenge yourself in a workout:

Time your run or bike. Map a route on an appropriate running or walking distance for your fitness level. Time how long it takes to complete that route. Record your score. Test yourself one or two weeks. Push yourself to improve your time.