Listen to any Olympic athlete talk about what makes them a champion, and you’ll find one thing in common - the mindset. Sure, their training and diets are dialed in and they get plenty of sleep every night. But what separates them from the average healthy human is the hunger to win and the discipline to do things the right way, even when nobody's watching. And that last part, is really the key.
When I was 18 I became fascinated by the Champion Mindset and what it meant to be a man. The Champion Mindset was a term I started using back then, and while it’s widely used in sports and motivational speeches, it has always meant something more to me than winning a trophy or making money. Those are just more things that get in the way of what actually matters.
Everyone wants to know what’s in it for them. Would you still workout if it didn’t burn calories? Would you run, sweat, climb, lift, stretch if there was no real benefit outside of the feeling you got during it? If not, then maybe you should find a different hobby. There are plenty of things in the world that you can do for a healthy body, and life is too short to spend it doing things you hate doing just in hopes of some arbitrary end result.
What sets the champion apart from the guy on the sidelines is the drive to do extremely hard things, even if they didn't pay off in the end. The Champion Mindset is about loving the pain of the work. The sweat and tears are rewards in and of themselves. The trophy is just proof that it happened. A Champion is not just the winner by chance, they ensured their victory through blood, sweat, and tears. You don’t have to love hard work and sweat the same way the Champion does, but the more you can ask yourself “Can I do more?” rather than “Are we there yet?”, the sooner you’ll find the results you’ve been looking for.
We are often just a few steps away from making our next breakthrough, both in the gym and in life. Just a few more reps, sets, or workouts make the difference between a strong body and a weak one. It’s often a choice we make to stop short of hitting our goals. Something in our minds allows us to self-doubt, telling ourselves that we’ll never actually do what we promised we would. Don’t sell yourself short, and don’t let that voice in your head come out on top. When you step foot in the weight room, whether it’s your first time or your hundredth, your only job is to put 100% effort into every breathe, rep, set, and exercise that you do. When you leave, only you will know if you did your best. Your effort effects nobody else - only you. And when you cheat in the gym, you are the only one that loses.
Moving forward, strive for the champion mindset. Strive to be better, and do more. Don’t sell yourself short, and don’t make excuses. Even those in the worst situations are often the happiest people among us. Perspective is key. You can always work harder than you did today. And finally, make sure that you can put your name on today.