Fitness is often associated with physical fitness and good nutrition with little focus on mental health and preparation. Think about it – when you make the decision to get into better shape, you often start with a workout and eating plan that will help support increased physical activities for improved muscle mass, endurance and strength.
But before your hit the gym in pursuit of physical fitness goals, consider the importance of mental fitness. In fact, think of your brain as a muscle— it needs exercise, rest and preparation to help you be at your best.
So how do you start a mental fitness workout routine?
Take a look at some suggestions from the Lakeland Fire team below and consider downloading our comprehensive Firefighter Mental Toughness Guide for a more detailed look at being mentally fit.
Tip #1: The Importance of Practice and Preparation
When it comes to top performing athletes, training and repetition is a key component to improvement and here’s why:
- Performing drills and training establishes a baseline of muscle and mental memory and allows you to become a creature of habit for certain physical tasks and procedures.
- Natural muscle memory and repetition can improve mental sharpness on the job.
- Repetitive practice prepares you for real-life scenarios by force of habit, allowing your mind and body to assume control because it has been through the motions before.
Tip #2: Positive Attitude and Self-Talk
You can do it! How you talk to yourself can make the difference between success and failure in competition and at the station.
- Even when faced with challenges, maintain a positive attitude and positive self-talk to see yourself through difficult situations.
- It can be easy to give up and think negatively, but if you practice positivity, it can help pull you through even the most difficult circumstances.
Tip #3: Develop Refocusing Strategies
Like anything in life, even with the greatest preparation and training, you may find yourself losing focus on the task at hand. Luckily, you can prepare your mind and your body for such scenarios.
- When you see yourself losing focus or concentration, develop a strategy that works for you to regain control of the situation.
- In competition, that may mean re-setting, starting over, or performing a specific physical movement to snap yourself back into ready-mode.
- On the job, perhaps it is positive self-talk or walking away to take a deep breath, and returning to the task with improved clarity and focus.
Preparing for competition is one arena where mental health is essential for performance. But applying that mental preparation on the job can be beneficial, too. Consider the benefits of mental preparation training to help you reach optimal performance in all aspects of your home and work life.
Interested in more mental preparation skills? We have 3 additional tips in our comprehensive mental toughness guide, which is available FREE for download.
Download Lakeland’s Firefighter Mental Toughness Guide, filled with resources that stretch beyond just physical fitness, focusing on the importance of mental preparation and health to help you on the job and on the training course.
Looking for workout tips or recipe ideas to fuel your physical fitness? We have those resources, too. Take a look:
- Eat This, Not That: The Best Fueling Options for Training
- Top 3 Workouts to Improve Speed, Agility and Fitness
- Firefighter Training Tips for Women
You can also #GearUp with Lakeland Fire. Lakeland Stealth™ Turnout Gear is the ultimate in fire protection technology. Advanced ergonomics combined with cutting edge materials give you superior protection with maximum freedom of movement. Learn more about Lakeland Stealth and #GearUp with Lakeland.