Mental Toughness at Fitness Competitions

aug 31

How can you excel at fitness competitions? Understand the difference between threats and challenges. Champions see competitions differently—as challenges. You control a challenge, threats control you. Threats, in sports and in life, are often illusions. They exist only in your imagination. If you don’t win or perform well, what happens? Just that: you don’t win or perform well.

Walking onto the floor for a tough workout or a big competition involves taking a risk. But what do you risk? Bruising your ego. We pretend that losing is the end of the world. It just doesn’t work that way. If we go out there and compete to make something big happen, without fears or doubts, as if we relish the opportunity, we can leave our egos on the sideline. You can always learn and improve from one competition to the next.

So show up to each fitness competition with a clean slate and be ready to excel. You have all the tools and techniques. You’re training is completed. Now do what you know how to do. This is no more difficult than what you’ve already done. Immerse yourself. Compete! The world is at your fingertips. Grab it. Use your love of the sport and competition as your motivational fuel. Embrace the challenge of the moment, whatever it might be.

Let yourself revel in the whole experience more. Include some family, friends, and have fun seeing other competitors in a competition. Say to yourself, “I’m just here to do my best and cherish the challenge. I don’t feel pressure because I apply it.” At the end of the day, sports is for most of us about staying healthy and enjoying what our bodies can do. When you are at peak performance, it feels wonderful. Take some moments to savor that.

jim afrewmow
Dr. Jim Afremow
is a sports psychology expert and the author of The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive (Rodale, 2014). He helps athletes to think gold and never settle for silver in the quest to be the best they can be. His Twitter handle is @goldmedalmind and his website is


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