Bodybuilding is something that takes time, commitment, and discipline. A bodybuilder needs to take training to extremes to gain muscle, not only does it require physical strength, it also requires an incredible amount of mental focus to help you push beyond your physical limitations.
The last excruciating sets are the ones that cause the biggest muscle gains.
Poor mental focus and depression may prevent you from gaining muscle
Most bodybuilders talk about strength plateaus which are common, but when it comes to strength training, mental fatigue can prevent you from making gains, we have all had phenomenal days in the gym where the weight moves easily and the pumps are insane, but for some of us, those days are few and far between. You can blame a lot of this on mental fatigue.
Symptoms of mental fatigue
- Loss of energy
- Mental anxiety
- Poor strength
- Lack of initiative and drive
- Wanting to quit halfway through a workout
- Failure to push yourself beyond your limits
Several studies have shown that a person suffering from mental fatigue and depression will prevent a person from working out to their full potential. One study was performed by the American Psychological Society.
The study involved two groups, one was mentally fatigued, the other group was completely rested, each group was given the task of exercising for a full 90 minutes, the study revealed that the mentally fatigued group gave up 15 minutes before the end of the workout.
Another conclusion was that the perception of effort occurs in the brain, they study speculates that mental fatigue lowers the brain's inhibitions. Mental fatigue may have an effect on dopamine levels in the brain which may play a key role in motivation and effort.
Stress and bodybuilding
Most studies show that exercise and strength training can lower stress levels, however, the biggest obstacle is getting to the gym and training. If you train at home, you may be even more distracted and lack the commitment to train.
Things you can do to improve motivation
Find a training partner: Someone who has similar goals can help maintain both of you motivated this will give you a solid commitment to training and motivate one another.
Train with a clear and focused mind: Just from my own personal experience I like to train first thing in the morning, very early before work, this gives me a clean slate and I don't think of anything but me and the weight.
Sometimes we can't train when we want and we are forced to train later in the day or at night, this can create a separate set of mental issues, especially if you are thinking about work or personal issues.
If you can, try and take care of all your commitments before you head to the gym, if not, this will set up an environment for failure, instead of focusing on your workout you will be focusing on things you have to do after the gym.
Avoiding certain foods: Eating certain foods during the day or before a workout can put you in a bad mood, cause depression and make you weak. Try and avoid sugar, artificial sweeteners, complex carbs, trans fats and processed foods, believe or not those foods can contribute to mental anxiety and depression.
Consider taking a nootropic supplement: A quality nootropic supplement can enhance your mood, give you energy, and reduce symptoms of fatigue and depression, there are many nootropic supplements that are made specifically for athletes and bodybuilders for the purpose of improving mental focus and energy.
Train in a gym with a positive environment
Train in a gym with a positive environment: Surrounding yourself in a positive environment with positive people can make or break your workout. If your current gym is depressing and gives you bad vibes move on and find something better, preferably one with a positive and motivating atmosphere, your should consider a gym your second home.
In order to make physical gains, you need a healthy mind to succeed, take things one day at a time and stay focused.
Staying focused will help you bust through strength plateaus and pack on some serious muscle when it comes to bodybuilding pushing you to the limits is what is needed for ultimate success. Remember your biggest enemy is sometimes your mind.