One of my least favorite words to hear in the gym is the C-word. It is a word that is used too frequently, too loosely, too flippantly. As an instructor, hearing it hurts my ears. That’s right ladies and gents, I don’t want to hear the word “can’t”, or more accurately, the phrase “I can’t”.
There are two ways that I hear it used. The first way is as a substitute for “I won’t”. For example, a student says to me, “I can’t make it to class on Saturday”. Perhaps they are going to a party the night before and will have trouble getting up; perhaps they are going for a weekend trip; perhaps they have chores to do at home. They know that coming on Saturday will help them achieve their goal, whether it is weight loss, strength gains, or winning an upcoming competition, but the reality is that they are putting priority on other things that day. It isn’t that they could not physically be at practice; it is that they won’t put their training goals first. I am not saying that training should always be #1 in your life; but make sure that before you say “I can’t” that you do in fact have your priorities straight for the long-term.
The other way I hear this phrase uttered is more detrimental: “I can’t do a pushup on my toes, I can’t get this move, I can’t…” NO! NO! NO!
Your mind is powerful. Words are one of the connections between our mind and our physical reality; therefore, words are powerful. Do NOT underestimate the detriment of negative self-talk. If you tell yourself that you cannot do something, why should your mind or body do anything different? If you tell yourself that you will fail before you try, you will. If you fail once and make it a permanent state (ex: You try one pushup on your toes and fail, then say “I’ll can’t. I’ll never be able to do it”), you will not progress.
Whatever you are training for, stay positive. It is one of the best things you can do for yourself.