The Science-Backed Trick to Push Through a Killer Workout When You Really Want to Give Up

It's all about nixing negative thoughts.

We all have those moments when we want to give up in a workout class. It’s hot. Your face feels like it may or may not be on fire, but it’s fine because the buckets of sweat beading from your forehead will surely put it out. And you’re tired. The next time you feel like ducking out early, try talking yourself. (Well, talking to yourself in your head.)

Stay with us here: As Time reports, a new study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that when cyclists replaced negative thoughts like “HOLY CRAP, my legs are killing me” with positive ones, like “I”m doing great” or “I got this!” during a tough, very hot workout, pushing through the workout became less difficult.

Here’s how the study worked: Researchers recruited 18 competitive cyclists and had them do an intense cycling workout in the heat. Then, they split them into two groups: The first group trained per usual for the next two weeks, while the second group got lessons in motivational skills training (read: talking to yourself to turn negative thoughts into positive thoughts). Then, the cyclists went through the same workout again. Those in the second group, who employed positive self-talk during their workout, were able to pedal for 25 percent longer than they’d initially been able to and they were able to handle discomfort for much longer than those in the first group.

As the study author told Time, it comes down to the fact that your brain is usually the first thing to get tired — not your body. So essentially, training your brain to be positive can help you go harder during your workouts, and get more out of them. Excuse us while we put our positivity hats on. (We just have to dig them out of storage first.)

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