Three Easy Tips for Pain Tolerance

avoid painThe following is a future article I wrote for Bodybuidling.com. Whenever I write for another publication, you get the see the nicer, no-profanity version of me. It’s not my regular voice, but more my “professional” one. I don’t know when this piece will be published, but in the meantime, you all can have the first look to it:

How to Increase Your Pain Tolerance and Take Your Training to the Next Level

In order to get our physiques to the next level, we must increase the intensity in our workouts. The best ways to break plateaus is to learn how to train in the discomfort zone and beyond. Going easy is not an option. Whether it’s CrossFit, HIIT, sprints, 20 reps back squats or a double-drop set arm routine, the biggest obstacle you will face in a high intensity workout is when the awful muscle burning sensation starts to set in. When the pain comes, you either tough it out or quit. By having a low tolerance of pain, you will miss out on all the bodybuilding and anti-aging hormones that are generated when training near the red-line zone.

No wonder most people remain looking the same even after putting tons of hours in the gym. Their capacity for staying in the pain cave sucks.

Your body has the ability to withstand loads of hurt and extreme levels of fatigue. The problem is most gym goers don’t have a strategy on how to deal with the pain when it hits them. After reading this article, you’ll be more prepared to handle and manage the pain to your advantage. By elevating your skill to suffer, you will lift more weight, run faster and longer and get your name on top of your CrossFit white board. Not only will you perform better, but a little pain will help you look better the next time you’re wearing next to nothing at the beach.

Here are 3 mental tips to teach you how to deal with the discomforts in your upcoming battle in the gym. By managing your perception of pain, you will take your body to places you have never been before or thought you could never achieve.

Get ready to feel unstoppable.

Tip #1 – Understand the benefits of the pain. Before I go on, I want to state the difference between physical joint or muscle pain and the pain of the burning and breathlessness from a workout. If you are experiencing any sort of acute or sharp discomfort, STOP what you are doing immediately. You probably have an injury and you need to rest. Any sort of activity may aggravate the problem and make the situation worse. High-pain tolerance training is not about working through an injury. It is about working through the physical discomfort and stress from a challenging task. I hope this distinction is clear.

So having said that, understand when you are doing a workout and your legs are burning and your lungs are pounding, you are at the right place where good things will happen. Understanding the benefits from the suffering will help you stomach the agony.

When you work out this intensely, your body goes through a neuroendocrine adaptation or hormonal change. Your body begins to release human growth hormones, testosterone and other fat-burning hormones to enhance your body composition. In order to get these amazing physical benefits, you have to push your body as close to your limits as possible. Taking a slow jog or casually pumping up with pink dumbbells just won’t get you these hormonal advantages.

Knowing that the burning and gasping has fantastic benefits should make the misery less painful. You want to train yourself to get a positive association of the uneasiness. It won’t make the suffering go away, but it will at least help reassure yourself that if you feel awful, you are at the right place. I know this doesn’t sound fun but it is only through this physical discomfort that change is possible. You’ll realize that all the great things you’ll get from the pain will just outweigh the suffering. It will enable you to push a little further.

Most of the time that “little” push is all you need to motivate yourself to grind it out instead of quitting.

Tip #2 – Get Angry. Many scientific studies have shown that anger can raise your pain threshold. I’m not suggesting you to train in an anger state because that can lead to being out of control. When it comes to training, you never want your emotions to get the best out of you.

However, anger as a last resort can be a powerful coping skill when you find yourself quitting prematurely. Sometimes when I’m feeling unmotivated, I know I am very susceptible to giving up when I know I can go further. When I catch myself in this wimp mode and stop at the very first sign of discomfort, I get so upset at myself for almost wasting a training day. Instantly, I can transform myself from being a pansy to paint to being an unstoppable machine.

Being upset at myself fires me up to the point that I can bulldoze through a workout no matter how difficult it can be. The discomfort is still there, but training while being pissed off can override the negative sensation of your muscles hurting.

This is an example of how I used anger wisely. If you channel your rage to help you focus and finish a workout, it can be a powerful way to elevate your pain tolerance and defeat any thoughts of quitting.

So get mad to look better.

Tip #3 – Recall Your Past Painful Workouts. When you commit yourself to training with more intensity, pain will be inevitable. When the suffering comes, so will memories of workouts that were equally as difficult. Quickly go through your mental Rolodex of past training sessions that were just as uncomfortable.

By doing so, you will recall workouts that were not only just as painful, but way worse than the one you are currently battling against. Knowing that you got through bigger challenges will help make the current workout seem a lot easier.

Reflecting and comparing your past accomplishments in the gym will immediately uplift your energy level and lower your perception of pain during your current workout. Revisiting your past victories will give you the concrete proof that you have the ability to endure and outdo pain. Once you see that you are reminded of your superior skill to handle physical stress, it will motivate you to push through the WOD and finish in the strongest manner possible.

Welcome your memories of your past accomplishments in the gym. They’ll make you feel invincible so you’ll be able handle the anguish from any HIIT or CrossFit WOD. Once you remind yourself how strong you were in the past, you’ll bust your old personal records with more impressive ones.

Use the past to help you look more awesome in the present.

In summary, our bodies have the capacity to do amazing things. What hold us back are our mental barriers. By learning how to push through our perception of discomfort, we can get to the next level of athletic performance and body composition.

Losing Motivation with Mental Toughness (Part 1)

motivationI used to train this one athlete who made fantastic gains with me. He gained about 8 pounds of pure muscle on his thin frame, but also made strong progress with is mental toughness as well. This client suffered from self-confidence issues, especially with his life goals and pursing chicks. However, his newly founded muscles and stronger mind give him the encouragement to live a better life. Continue reading

Mental Toughness and Health Issues (Part 3)

solved(This is the conclusion to my long journey to finding a cure for my high blood pressure issues and to get off dangerous prescription drugs. Again, I would like to admit that after nearly 20 years of looking, I got lucky when I met my new brilliant physician Dr. Keroack. In fact, it was completely by accident.)

So finding the solution to my hypertension problem was purely inadvertent. I was seeing a new doctor and my visit with him had nothing to do with high blood pressure issues. I went to him to get a blood test after a friend of mine recommended Dr. Keroack to me. Continue reading

Mental Toughness and Health Issues (Part 2)

high 2(This is part two on my secret confession on my health issue. Like many of you, I have struggled for years to get myself of prescription drugs. For me, it was hypertension medicine. For you all, it could be statins, anti-depressives, or some other kind of pharmaceutical. Whatever drugs are hidden in your cabinet, I’m sure you don’t like digesting in your body and would prefer to be drug-free. However, getting off them is very difficult and a long process. The journey to be healthy and drug-free will test your perseverance skills, but once you find the solution to your issues, it will be worth all the struggles. In my opinion, there is no such thing as a safe pharmaceutical drug. All of them have dangerous side-effects that can kill you.

Here is part 2 to my story.)

When I first diagnosed with HPB and my doctor prescribed drugs for me, I assume I would get of the drugs immediately. I figured I would add some positive changes in my life and i would be off drugs quickly.

I never was so wrong. I had no idea it would take me nearly 20 years to be free of harmful prescription drugs. Continue reading

Mental Toughness and Health Issues (Part 1)

healthFor the over 15 years, I have struggled with hypertension. When I was first diagnosed with the health issues, I knew nothing about it. My doctor prescribed drugs for me because he said my blood pressure was approaching a dangerous level.

That shocked me out so I took them without thinking twice about it. Since I was always working out and relative healthy, I assume the drugs would be a temporary solution.

As a couple of weeks went by, I asked my doctor if I could get off the drugs since my blood pressure was now normalized. He looked at me with a deep gaze and said my blood pressure was a sign that my heart was having problems and that I need to be on the drugs for a bit longer. Again, I was frighten by his comment. I never consider myself as having a weak heart as I was in my early 40’s. Once more, his fear arousal approach coaxed me into feeling it was OK to take the drugs.

After the fear has settled down about a month later, I did some research and found out how dangerous hypertension drugs were. I was bodybuilder-health freak at the time so I made it my goal to get off the drugs as soon as possible. Continue reading

Enough With Your Excuses (Part 2)

excues 2(This is part 2 in this blog about shutting up and just training. I been wanting to write about the philosophy of stoicism so here was the perfect opportunity. I just had a tough workout and I wanted to whine and complain the whole time, but I didn’t. By keeping my big mouth shut and suppressing my negativity from infecting my workout partner, I would say the WOD was a success. Not just for finishing the session, but for not reverting back to my former self when I was a chronic whiner.)

Working out and training without making excuses is a huge step towards your resilience skills. Keeping your mouth shut may not seem very beneficial, but in my book, silencing negative remarks is monumental.

Most people are not only mentally weak, but they can’t shut the fuck up and stop themselves from constantly complaining. Verbalizing your list of can’t-does will disable your actions and pollute your intentions. Once this bad habit of being the constant whiner becomes ingrained in your personality, it becomes very difficult to break. Extremely problematic. Continue reading

Enough With Your Excuses (Part 1)

excusesI had a very challenging Olympic lifting workout last month with a new gym friend. His name is James and he has a lot of experience with the lifts and I need all the help I can get. The workout wasn’t planned and was improvised when we at the gym training at the same time.

When I first start to train with somebody new, I make a lot of effort to show I can handle anything thrown at me. That’s the problem of living a former life of being weak. Pathetic memories are still vivid and I’ll never be able to completely rid myself of the bitter after taste that almost ruined me. Continue reading

Increasing Your Pain Tolerance for CrossFit (Final Wrap-up)

handle(Here is the final wrap up for this continuing investigation on how to be impervious to pain during your CrossFit or HITT WOD. I’m glad this intensive research has helped many of you tolerate your agony and manipulate your suffering to your advantage. Below is a review of the 14 mental strategies that you can use to up your game when it comes to elevating your ability to handle physical stress.) Continue reading

Increasing Your Pain Tolerance for CrossFit (Part 13)

break(This is possibly the final suggestion on how to lower your perception to pain, at least for now. I’m sure I’ll discover and experiment with other mental tools to help you deal with your upcoming discomfort. This is a never-ending pursuit that I will continue to investigate. In the meantime, you have a myriad of strategies to help you fight through the suffering of any high intensity or CrossFit WOD).

Tip #14 Break down the WOD to workable segments. The worse part of a CrossFit class is walking up and seeing a dreadful WOD on the whiteboard that you know is going to suck royally. The immediate reaction is a sick feeling in your stomach and a hidden desire of wanting to run away and hide. Continue reading