Let’s be real: most of us dread the last rep of a heavy set almost as much as we dread getting stuck talking to that colleague who “wants to start a podcast.”
But as Nate Robinson’s latest workout, posted to Instagram at the start of September, shows, that fear may be entirely misplaced. In fact, if you start working out like a professional, you might start looking forward to those last-rep shakes with the same enthusiasm that you hope to see your commute-crush.
While we’ve already written about few of his past insane workouts (which show you how to break out of your trite old bicep curl, bench, dip routine) today we’re going to offer you a different, as they say in corporate-speak, “takeaway” from old mate Robinson’s gym sessions: how to work out like a pro.
So, what’s the difference between an amateur and a professional workout? Not habits, not personal trainers and – with the recent prominence of Lebron James’ Keto Regime – not even diet. No, as Nate Robinson’s above workout demonstrates, the key to training like a pro is mindset.
Before you yawn; hang on. This is no cliché. Much as it would make our lives easier, we’re not going to palm you off with platitudes about swinging your kettlebells with a purpose.
We’re talking about developing a winning mindset that will see you panel beating the gym with a medicine ball and flaying the ground dead with a battle rope.
How? By working out with the intention of shredding your mind as well as your body. Or, as one commenter on Nate Robinson’s post puts it, by “never cheat[ing] the grind.”
“Size doesn’t matter but size of heart does! Keep up the work bro!”
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A much-discussed podcast between Joe Rogan and David Goggins, for instance, goes deep into this, with Goggins (a navy seal turned endurance athlete) explaining how amateur athletes tend to leave more on the table than a celiac at an Italian buffet.
Talking to podcast host Joe Rogan about a marathon he once ran, Goggins explains how, if you have the mentality of a true athlete, you should struggle to turn it off: “I (only) signed up… because it was the first Las Vegas marathon running down the strip of Las Vegas,” he said.
Having badly injured himself running 100 miles three weeks previously, the plan was to walk the 26.2 miles with his mum.
“I tried to run the day before but I [sic] can’t even run down the block, so I drove down there with my mum and said, ‘Ok I’m going to walk it with you.’ I told my ex-wife, ‘You can go ahead and take off, do your thing; run your race, I’m going to walk with my mum.'”
This attitude didn’t last.
“That gun went off and something f**ken happened. I took off like a jackrabbit and I was like, ‘What the hell?'”
“I was thinking, ‘I just ran 100 miles, like, 3 weeks ago. I was peeing blood. My body’s [sic] broke, my feet and my tendons are broken. But I kept running further and further and I got to the 10 pole and thought, ‘Shit, I’m on the Boston marathon time (3/10/59).'”
“Then I was like, hang on a second; I started using all this external shit for motivation and I go, ‘Ok, who can go out here and run 100 miles with no training and then – at the most broken I’ve ever been in my life – go and run a marathon. Who could do that?'”
“I kept feeding myself,” Goggins continued, “And I’m about 30 seconds off the pace and I was like, ‘Hang on man; you’re Goggins, you can do this shit man.’ Before I knew it I did a 3:08 and I was like WTF, ‘What have I been leaving on the table?'”
“We’re leaving so much on the table for pain… Cut the bullsh*t; you’re limiting yourself. You gotta get out there and be like, ‘Oh yeah this hurts. This hurts bad. I don’t think this is smart. But then your body adjusts.”
Before you ask if this is dangerous advice, Goggins pre-empts your concern: “Take it with a grain of salt. Those questions are from people that wanna quit. Don’t go out there and run through a brick wall as many times as you can. I’m not saying be me – I’m saying; learn the mind is powerful.”
In other words: you can theorise all you want, but nothing will stand in for hard work. And for the love of fitness: don’t be the self-diagnosed celiac at the buffet.