Embrace the Burn: How to Push Through the Toughest Workouts

Thursday, March 5, 2020

We have all been there; that point in our workout where we have to decide whether to quit or keep pushing. When it comes time to make this choice, make sure you are prepared. Use the four strategies below to power through even your most challenging exercises and workouts.

Music
Want proof music can help drive up motivation and make hard work go by quicker? Try wearing ear plugs and workout in silence. Even the thought of this may make you squirm. Take your music to the next level by matching the style of music to the intensity of your training. For heavy strength days, you may enjoy some heavier rock/alternative or standard pop music. If fast cardio intervals are scheduled, try some upbeat hip hop or dance music. Get your playlist, turn up the volume, and get to work!

Breathe
Though it is the most necessary aspect of life in general, breathing is often overlooked while exercising. If you allow yourself to huff and puff through a workout, even easy movements become unnecessarily more difficult. On the other hand, if you focus on controlling deep inhales and exhales, you will be able to more effectively manage difficult exercises and workouts. As much as you can, work to take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. This sequence can improve air flow, lower your heart rate, and help you get through your hardest workouts.

Compartmentalize
Trainers hear it all the time from clients. They say, “I have to do that for how long?!” One full minute may feel like an eternity when your heart is pounding out of your chest, but focusing on only 10 second increments, done six times, makes the work much more manageable. Next time an exercise or workout seems overwhelming on paper, break it into smaller chunks in your mind. By compartmentalizing, we boost our confidence in our ability to complete the prescribed amount of work. Breaking down workouts into shorter, more manageable efforts could be the key to completing your next challenge.

Embrace The BurnEmbrace the Burn
If programmed appropriately, each workout should progress you towards an end goal. Though that particular goal may vary, achieving any goal requires change, and change is challenging. We must challenge our current capabilities in order to create new levels of fitness, strength, endurance, etc. Often times within a workout, participants get “lost in the moment” and allow their current discomfort to distract them from their end goal. Next time your workout gets particularly challenging, and your muscles and lungs are burning, recognize this momentary discomfort as necessary to spark change and achieve goals.

Everyone has different tolerance levels when it comes to pushing through a hard workout. Using these tools can help all of us increase our efforts and see results. Next time you find yourself needing an extra push to make it through, make the right choice and keep moving towards those goals.


Nick Rozek Greater Green Bay YMCA
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist