In this edition, steps to mental toughness, smart hoops, red light recovery and your weekly recommendations.
Mental Toughness. In fitness, there’s often talk about mental toughness, which is typically defined as a psychological resource that helps you to achieve challenging goals when you’re faced with a stressor that makes you doubt your success. A recent study suggests that mental toughness is a process rather than a characteristic that some of us have and some of us don’t. And the good news is that we can improve the process.
The research, published in the International Journal of Sport and Exercise Physiology, looked at two groups: A cross-sectional survey of 649 runners who described their most recent race and 74 cyclists who took part in a 20-minute bike trial.
The runners who reported higher self-efficacy and self-control had more successful race outcomes, particularly if they had experienced a stressor during the race. The cyclists had a similar outcome with the difference being that all of them faced a two-minute screen failure during their time trial, so their power, cadence and elapsed time went blank. Half of them also spent 30-minutes before the trial completing a computer task designed to mentally fatigue them in order to drain their self-control.
Lead author of the study, Christiana Bedard-Thom suggests two approaches to improve mental toughness. The first focuses on mental skills to improve the three components of mental toughness (challenging goals, self-efficacy and self-control) and the second focuses on your environment.
To set challenging goals, create specific and sufficiently difficult targets and frequently re-evaluate them. To improve self-control, try mindfulness training and look to avoid activities that drain your self-control before training and competition. To improve self-efficacy, try positive self-talk.
For the second approach, Bedard-Thomas recommends putting yourself in stressful training situations so you can practice the skills and mindset you’ll need to handle the stressors. The goal here is not to turn your workouts into totally unpleasant experiences but just to introduce a little stress now and then.
Smart Hoops. It was only a matter of time before basketball hoops got the tech treatment and the first to the market is huupe. The smart device features a high definition, weatherproofed backboard that allows you to monitor your shots, train with experts, compete against other huupe users and even stream your favorite shows.
Red Light Recovery. Red light therapy, where devices emit red and near-infrared light designed to reduce pain, relax muscles and increase blood circulation, is gaining ground as a popular recovery tool. The Joovv Solo 3.0 offers a full-body silhouette and is available with a floor stand, door or wall mount. It contains 150 LEDs with a light output of up to 88 watts.
The Perfect 10. Only ten football players have won the Heisman Trophy and been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. This 90-minute film brings seven of these ten players together to share their stories. The Perfect 10 premieres on the eve of Super Bowl LVII (Go Eagles!) at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.
Talking Elite Fitness. Hosts Sean Woodland and Tommy Marquez talk all things CrossFit in this podcast, offering information, updates and analysis on both the sport and the community.
It’s Time for Fitness Studios To Be More Thoughtful About Mirrors. In this article for Well+Good, Rachel Kraus explores the positive and negative aspects of watching yourself workout. Mirrors, she writes, “should be as intentionally considered as other fitness industry norms.”