Confronting Your Inner Critic in Your Workouts


confronting your inner critic

As an instructor, I get to be the silent observer to how people react when their workout gets hard or pushes them outside of their comfort zones. What I have learned over years of training is the biggest impacting factor for someone’s success in a workout is not their physical strength, it is how their head impacts their workout. I have seen tasks that should be concerned relatively simple bring athletes to their knees simply because their head convinced them they could not do it. Conversely, I have seen people accomplish what they thought never possible because they learned how to check that little negative voice in their head.

That little negative voice usually chimes in with some variation of “I can’t do that.” We let our self-doubt plague our success of exercises we are more than capable of accomplishing purely because that little voice can turn into such a loud roar. I have a rule when I train that my clients are not allowed to say “I can’t.” I know as soon as that thought enters their headspace, even if they could have before, they will no longer be able to do the exercise or perform the workout.

Instead, I practice working around that negative voice. It might not go away completely, but we can learn how to have power over it so it is not so loud of a roar. We implement actual steps that will show our inner critic that we are stronger and more capable than our self-doubt thinks.

the inner critic when working out

Here’s My Top 3 Tips for Confronting Your Inner Critic:

  1. Break the exercise down into progressive steps. When we are learning something new in fitness, we tend to think we need to perform perfectly the first time or that we will go immediately from beginner to expert. Even with fitness there is a learning curve. Progress your exercises as a way to increase muscle memory as well as develop technic so you are successful when you approach the hardest version of the exercise.
  2. Have benchmark workouts. Athletes track their progress as a quantitative measure to see gains. Have a workout that tracks strength, have a different workout that tracks endurance and utilize those workouts monthly to show yourself the change you are actively creating.
  3. Find one positive part of every workout. Not every workout is going to be cute or comfortable or go smoothly. We tend to focus on the negative, how we did not finish the interval fast enough or lift enough, when we should be focusing on the positive of the workout. Our good our form was, how we were able to do something today that we could not do last week, or even how we were able to push through and finish the workout. As busy adults, we need to remember that every time we give ourselves the gift of showing up and give to ourselves, we have gotten stronger.


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Lisa Peranzo
Lisa has over 10 years of experience in the fitness industry. She has worked with a diverse population, including first responders, athletes and adolescents. Her experience in the fitness industry has also included working with clients to rehab from a variety of injuries, from spinal cord injuries and brain injuries, recovery from childbirth, to sports related injuries as well as joint replacements. Her focus is always to help her clients find their own strength and power from their fitness routine. She is a PMA accredited Pilates Instructor, Senior Trainer, Certified CrossFit Instructor, Certified Kettlebell Instructor, and Certified Barre Above Instructor, Lisa also has a certification in Paleo Nutrition, a Bachelors Degree in Psychology, and a Masters Degree in Human Behavior. In addition to being the founder and CEO of A Healthful Life, Lisa has been featured in various magazines and on podcasts including San Diego Voyager magazine, Combat Divas, and Phoenix Fitness Fanatics.


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