The SMMF: Mental Training – Gym Jones Style
In the past few years there have been many articles written about mental training workouts. Many of them are based on the concept of “mental toughness”. This concept is not new, but it seems to be gaining popularity nowadays. Some believe that mentally tough individuals will perform better than those with weak mindsets.
Others claim that these same individuals will become depressed or even suicidal if they don’t work hard enough at their workouts.
It’s all nonsense. You can get stronger and faster without becoming mentally tough. I’m going to show you why.
I’ll start by saying that most people who read my blog post on the subject of mental training workouts are already mentally tough. They’re strong, fast, agile, and powerful. They’ve got a positive attitude and are willing to put in the effort required to improve themselves. If anything, they probably need more motivation than anyone else.
However, some people aren’t so lucky. These folks may be young, old, fat or skinny; they may be male or female; they may be straight or gay; they may live in one city or live thousands of miles away from civilization. The only thing they all have in common is a complete and utter lack of mental toughness. They’re the kind of people whose minds are so weak that they can be broken with just a few words.
Now I’m going to tell you why mental toughness is a myth.
Exhibit A: The “Toughness” Myth and Common Excuses
Vince had been power cleaning 315 pounds when he decided to drop it on his chest. He lay motionless on the ground, not breathing and with no pulse. His training partner David gasped and shouted for help, but nobody came.
By the time the medics got there, it was too late. At the age of 34, former powerlifter and gym owner Vincent T. Zandier had died while cleaning his equipment.
How could this have been prevented?
Easy. All someone had to do was press the emergency button that was located just a few feet away from where he was cleaning the bar. Nobody did it.
Why didn’t they?
Because they were all too much of a bunch of pussies to do anything.
Ever since Zandier’s death, the gym has implemented a new rule: If you drop a loaded bar on yourself and you’re still breathing but not moving, someone needs to press that button.
If you’re reading this blog post and you have a weak mind, then you might be excused for not pressing that button. You might even tell yourself some silly lie about how it wouldn’t have made any difference anyway. But make no mistake about it: YOU are a coward. You have no business working out at a hardcore gym if doing the right thing is going to put your precious little feelings in jeopardy.
Exhibit B: The “Disregard” Myth and Common Arguments
When I first joined the Army back in 2008, I was at a very low point in my life. My father had just died from a long battle with cancer, my grades at university had fallen below a 3.0 GPA, and I was drinking heavily on a regular basis. I also happened to be dating a girl who would soon become a stripper and an unwed mother because she wasn’t careful with her birth control.
In short, I needed a change. So I signed up for the infantry and went to basic training.
Within weeks of getting specialized training on my chosen weapons (the C7 and C8 rifles), I was sent to Afghanistan. It was there that I served the remainder of my six-month tour in a harsh environment where I had to dig holes in the ground and constantly watch out for the Taliban.
I saw many people die while I was there. Friends, enemies and civilians alike. I’ll never forget the first time I had to kill someone. I was only seventeen at the time and I didn’t think I’d be able to do it when the moment came, but my training took over and I pulled the trigger.
Since then, I haven’t had any problems with taking a life.
So did that experience make me mentally stronger?
Not at all. War is what made me realize how weak I was. It’s not the external hardships that break you; it’s the internal ones. It’s the fact that when you’re struggling with a decision, you don’t just think about what is best for you: you think about what is best for everyone else.
There are several common arguments I see crop up on the subject of willpower. Many people try to use them as an excuse as to why they shouldn’t have to press the emergency button. Here are the most common ones, and why they don’t hold water:
“The person saving you is probably just going to pass on the terrible genes.”
I’ve seen this one crop up a lot. In fact, it’s the main argument of a user named “dumbfakesweat” when I called him out recently. Here’s the thing: I don’t care how smart you think you are, if you’re so opposed to pressing that button, chances are you’re suffering from some delusion. That kind of thinking does not a happy healthy relationship make; and as we now know, a happy and healthy relationship is what leads to a successful and productive life.
“The person saving you will resent you for making them sacrifice their life.”
Here’s another common one. It seems to crop up mostly on the female profiles where the woman states that she would never press the button to save a man. The reasons for this are usually that men would make bad partners due to their past behavior.
Now, I’m not a psychologist, but it seems pretty clear to me that some of these women have some serious trust issues stemming from past experiences. Again, I’m not a shrink, but it seems to me that someone who would press the button to save a complete stranger wouldn’t let past experiences affect their decision making in the future.
“Pressing the button wouldn’t really save your life.”
Now we’re getting into some obscure territory. A small minority of people state that since they don’t know the specifics of the machine and how it works, they aren’t willing to risk their lives on an unknown factor.
I would argue that these are the people who want to live, but they’re so consumed by fear that it’s overriding their common sense. By not pressing the button and succumbing to their fear, they’re making it very likely that they will die.
None of the reasons not to press the button are logical or reasonable. None of them take into account the fact that you are more likely to live if you press it. The only reasons people give not to are from their own personal issues that they need to deal with. This is why it is vital that everyone presses the button and saves lives, because if everyone made the selfish choice, then the fabric of our society would come undone.
Have a nice day.
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