How to build your mental endurance with Coach Miguel
by Miguel La Cruz on Wednesday 09 November 2022
4 min read
Playing sport competitively from a young age was what sparked my love for fitness. That passion eventually grew and progressed into something much bigger. Today, I work alongside some amazing people, helping them to learn, grow, and stay motivated to reach their personal goals. The boxing culture taught me a lot about respect. You go in with an open mind and everyone is in there to not only work hard, but to support each other. This social outlet was a great opportunity to be shown different techniques and tips from some of the best boxers. Here is where I discovered my love for a supportive community where everyone is willing to learn, and more importantly, listen. So, I guess I was training people long before it became my career.
Mental endurance was something that naturally just had to happen for me. Nothing can prepare you for growing up without your parents at a young age. My family is from Angola, South-West Africa. During the civil war we moved to Ireland. Unfortunately, many families were displaced, including mine, so I didn’t grow up with my parents. With that, I had no choice but to grow up fast. I attribute my mental endurance to not only that, but the community and self-discipline from playing sports from my youth.
For me, mental health and physical ability are intertwined. Training is key to support a healthy mindset, to regulate your hormones and to minimise stress, which can be hard to avoid. I don’t see exercise as a punishment, it is just as vital for our bodies as eating and sleeping. I know it can be a struggle to exercise or stay motivated during those moments when our mental health is under pressure, however, doing any sort of movement (no matter how small) is valuable to your overall wellbeing.
Along with mental endurance comes discipline. A lot of people think discipline comes naturally for me because I enjoy training - but it doesn’t. My routine isn’t overly regimented, although, I do manage to train 5-6 times a week. I hold myself accountable – whatever results I want to achieve, it is up to me to work hard, show up, be present, focused, and most importantly, be consistent. I count my blessings every day that I am healthy and able to move freely, and I won’t ever want to take advantage of that blessing.
If you are struggling to stay motivated or you’re on your own journey to empower your inner self and work on your mental endurance, here are my two top tips –
1. Find something that you enjoy. Explore a new class or exercise and take it step by step. Be sure to give it a chance and allow yourself to be new at something, without judgement.
2. Self-belief. Believe that you are capable of doing anything. This goes beyond just your inner thoughts; you must look at the people around you. Surround yourself with positive people, those who lift you up and want to see you succeed, too. This support doesn’t always have to be family or friends, sometimes your biggest supporters may be the instructor that has seen you consistently show up to class, or your fellow members who you workout next to at the gym.
Shout out to one of my sources of inspiration, our very own Virgin Active member, Carolyn Maher. She is the epitome of positivity and hard work - what a legend!
Superman push ups
So, you want to be able to do a superman push up? Be sure to watch my tutorial on Virgin Active’s YouTube channel where I break down the steps. To start, you want to be able to master your push up. From there, you can gradually get stronger and work your way into a superman push up. Bodyweight training is the perfect training style to help you perform dynamic exercises like this. Also known as calisthenics training; you use your body weight instead of equipment or weights – just me, myself, and I. These exercises will help to improve you coordination, flexibility, and strength.
My next challenge is to land a black flip. Although, my biggest challenge that will really push me to my limits is learning how to swim! I am currently at the same level as my three year old son… but I will get there. My final word for you is this – ‘I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying’.
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