How to Psych Yourself up for the Gym

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Sometimes it’s hard to get in the zone, especially when you need to lift heavy or push yourself extra hard. Heck, sometimes it’s even tough to get to the gym. Next time you’re feeling unmotivated, try one of these mind boosters.

1. Talk it out

Repeat your specific goal—in your head and aloud. “I will squat X pounds,” you tell yourself. Write it down, and post it on your bathroom mirror or in your gym locker. The more you say it and see it, the more you’ll believe it—and achieve it.

2. Color me bad

Put on something that’s either bright or black. The brain often associates shades of colors with different meanings. Bold colors and black subconsciously heighten readiness and excitement. Dull, lighter colors, well, think about it.

3. Bring guests

Ask your girlfriend or a group of buddies to join you at the gym. Your urge to impress them (or not look foolish) will boost your intensity. Having family or friends cheer you on helps you draw strength the way a team does from its fans.

4. Brace yourself

“Bracing” is a technique in which you tense your muscles, clench your teeth, and slap yourself on the thighs, shoulders, and arms to increase arousal. It stimulates the central nervous system and specifically improves lifting strength.

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