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  • Writer's pictureKayla Mauws

How Therapy Improved my Training Performance

Therapy has helped me grow as a better athlete, and coach. It’s helped me grow both physically and mentally. I can honestly say through my therapy journey I have become a better person.

I've learned to focus on ME: The more I work on myself to overcome challenges with my newfound mindset the more I have noticed improvements in my training performance. How? I’ve learned to focus just on ME. Who cares what faces I make, who cares what I look like, who cares what other people think of me or what I’m wearing. Honestly, most people are too worried about themselves to give a sh*t about what I, or anyone else is doing. For example, I used to worry so much about taking videos of myself at the gym doing exercises for my Coach to review. The amount of energy I wasted on worrying what other people thought of me when they saw me setting my phone up to video myself for a form review from my coach.. All that energy could have been put towards my actual training. Now, I don’t care what people think, I focus on myself.

Less distractions: Another thing I’ve learned is to put my phone on do not disturb mode. I used to have anxiety when I would get ping notifications. I always thought I needed to reply that very second, when really those things can wait until my workout is over. This has helped me be more in the moment with my training sessions. Less mind wandering, worrying about what else needs to get done, thinking about work I need to do.

Patience with progress: We all want progress NOW. It’s easy to be impatient. This can lead to skipping rest days, under-eating your calorie targets, and doing extra cardio. Ironically, all this does is cause even slower progress due to several factors (stress, fatigue build up, unhealthy relationships with food leading to binging). I am much more patient now which has helped me see progress quicker than when I had all those unhealthy habits.

Ego training: LOTS of people struggle with this, and to be honest it's still a work in progress for me, but that’s why I want to bring awareness to it. It’s not always better to do more. Quality matters as well, if not more. Your form, the range of motion, slowing the movement down for more time under tension all matter when it comes to both hypertrophy and strength training. Nobody cares how much weight you’re moving, once you get that in your head you will be much better off.

Pushing myself out of my comfort zone: Getting comfortable with things that make me feel uncomfortable. Doing more of this in my life overall has encouraged me to push myself even further out of my comfort zone with my training as well, which is pushing me to a new level. I had to start small, just like when forming a new habit. I had to practice A LOT. I failed and I tried again. It’s uncomfortable for a short while but after you do it, you realize how rewarding it is. Ask yourself, “what’s the worst thing that could happen? What do I want? If I fail, what is the worst thing that could happen? Is staying exactly where I currently am where I want to be for the rest of my life?” It all starts by taking that first step. Talk to someone, ask for help, start journaling or writing down positive affirmations. A huge example of this was going “all in” with online coaching. Quitting my cushy, stable, job at a bank to fly to Mexico to meet Courtney and start working for her. I was scared sh*tless, but it was one of the best things I have ever done. I am more dedicated to my training and nutrition than I've ever been.

Less anxiety: Don’t get me wrong, the gym is probably the one place where I feel the least anxious. I’ve spent so much time there, know so many people, and just generally feel very comfortable when I am there. BUT, I have noticed that depending on what’s going on in my life, if I am feeling extra anxious it can have a detrimental effect on my training. Now that I have tools and even medication to help bring me back down I am able to be hyper focused in the gym during that time. This usually means some breathing exercises, journaling or perhaps a walk before the gym to “slow things down in my mind.”

Developing a growth mindset: Mindset has been huge for me and has such a huge impact on our outlook on life not just in health and fitness. Constantly telling ourselves “I can’t do that,” “I’m not smart enough,” “I’m not pretty enough,” whatever it may be... well no wonder you can’t do any of that stuff because you are so set on telling yourself these damn self inflicting beliefs. Would you tell your best friend that she isn’t pretty? Would you tell your child that he/she isn’t smart enough to become a doctor? So why the hell are you so quick to tell yourself that?! Learning to be more positive towards myself, believing that I am capable of so much more than I realize and that I can always keep improving and continuously learning has changed my life around. I am hungry to become a better coach, client, person and athlete. I am no longer just satisfied with what I currently know and my current experience. I want to do better, and be better! Start believing in what you CAN do, stop thinking about the self-doubts that you have, write down a list of goals you want to achieve and start saying “I can,” watch what you can do and overcome. Start looking at every ‘failure’ as a learning experience, view a challenge as a great opportunity, fall in love with the journey not just the end result. The more you tell yourself this the more you start to believe it and therefore will develop a growth mindset.

Improved self-confidence: Developing thoughts and actions through self-care strategies (no, not getting my hair or nails done) but by focusing on quality sleep, listening to guided meditations, going to therapy, learning to turn my negative thoughts into something more positive, practising positive self talk, journaling, doing affirmations, going for a walk to be at peace with myself. Honestly, I feel like I could go on and on with how much therapy has helped me improve as an athlete, a coach, as a girlfriend, a friend, a daughter. I am a strong believer that working on myself has been the best thing I could’ve done for not only myself but those around me. Just trying to constantly improve and become a better person every single day!

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