Friday 28 August 2020

Do You Worry About What Others Think?

Many athletes worry too much about what others think of them. These athletes worry that their teammates, coaches, parents, family, sponsors, social media followers, and/or friends might think badly of them. We call this social approval.

If you think this way, you want to be admired, accepted, respected, or liked by other people. Part of this is just human nature, but it can turn into a confidence killer for many athletes.

Athletes who worry about what others think engage in a process called false “mind reading.” Mind reading is when you make invalid assumptions about what others might think of you.

When you think others think you are not performing well, this can hurt your confidence. You end up becoming distracted that can result in making mistakes or atleast sub par performance.

Do you try to read the minds of your competitors or coaches? Or take to heart the responses of your social media followers responding to your posts? 

Focusing too much on what you think others think. That’s called mind reading. You don’t know for sure but you believe what you think as if it were true.

The truth is you don’t know what they’re actually thinking unless they say something to you. There’s a difference between guessing and actually knowing.

What does guessing what people are thinking do to your confidence? If you assume someone, e.g., coaches, audience, judges think you’re not doing well, it affects your performance, i.e., ability to pose, execute a move, etc.

Who are you mind reading about? What are you mind reading about? What are the false assumptions or the narrative you’re making up in your head that’s creating havoc for you?

Worrying what others think becomes a distraction, confidence killer, and a source of pressure when you do mind reading.

If you catch yourself worrying what others think, what do you do?  Step 1 is awareness. When you become aware you’re mind reading, cut it off. Picture a stop sign. Step 2 is recognizing what you’re doing and refocus on doing what is more important, i.e., the next pose/transition/action.

If you need guidance on how to handle worrying about what others think, please contact me at (416) 805-6155 or email me at so I can help you refocus so you appear not to miss a beat on show/game day.

Friday 21 August 2020

No Mask Needed

No you don’t need a mask for this. Get out of your head! The “should’s”, “can’ts”, and the “buts” can stop any athlete in their tracks; however, you can change the verbage to I “will”, “can”, and “it will be done”.

How do you prepare athletes or how do athletes themselves prepare when they don’t know when or how they’ll be competing again? In times of uncertainty, it’s time to look at the “certains”.

Rather than focusing on what you cannot do, focus on what you DO know and CAN control. As an athlete, you DO know how to train, practise, eat, and prepare for a competition.

Mental skills training addresses various challenges to help you approach your show with focus and confidence, staying centred, setting routines, being mindful how you’re feeling when you’re training as well as during the rest of the day, properly dealing with the temptation to watch your competitors’ progress on social media, targeting self doubt, regaining control of your mind when it drifts to negative scenarios, and so on.

Look in the mirror. Like it or not, that’s what you have to work with. Like playing cards, you don’t need a loaded hand to do well. It’s all on how you strategically play your cards. Play them one at a time with planned thought. Focusing on what the other players may have is a distraction. 

Take note of your competition’s strengths, as that is human, but move on from any distracting thoughts. Dwelling on others progress does more harm than good. Focus on your hand and play your cards to the best of your ability.

What if you’ve screwed up at a recent show? Are you banging your head against the wall as a form of punishment?  Welcome to the world of competition; we all make mistakes. 

The real question is what did you learn from that mistake? If you can strategize what you’d do differently the next time it happens, it no longer becomes a mistake;  it becomes a lesson learned. And it’s likely a lesson you won’t forget.

I can recall one show, if not two, where afterwards I thought and said out loud that I was never going to compete again. And I did mean it at that time and for a while afterwards but then, my mind changed. 

Why? After eating some carbs and reflecting on the situation, I recalled my reasons for competing. Yes I want to win. Who doesn’t? But to expect I’ll win at every show isn’t realistic. I do like a challenge and I reflect on my personal reasons for competing.

As competitive athletes, we make up the upper echelon of people. In other words, we’re not like normal people. We follow strict eating guidelines and training routines. We make sacrifices. Others may look at us and comment that we’re “crazy” for doing what we do. Maybe we are but we have a smile on our face and we choose to continue competing so it can’t be that bad.  ;-)

Other people don’t walk in your shoes so avoid taking their words to heart. 

I also invite you to unmask YOUR “should’s”, “can’ts”, “buts” and so on. You don’t need that mask of limitation. You’re an athlete. You’ve already broken various limitations and you will continue to do so.

Change your strategy. Learn from past mistakes and pivot in a new direction. Oftentimes that pivot takes us into an even better direction than our original plan.




And embrace your inner, “I can/will”. If you need assistance in this area, please feel free to contact me at (416) 805-6155 and it will be done.

Friday 7 August 2020

Don't use this language

Words are powerful. Words are how we communicate to others as well as to ourselves. Have you listened lately to what you say to yourself? 

When was the last time you called yourself a “failure”, “loser”, “fat”, “useless”, “pathetic”, “idiot” and so on? Sometimes we mutter under our breaths, i.e., with saying “I’m stupid”, when we make a mistake.

Don’t use this language! Not only is it not accurate but this language negatively affects our self-confidence (our ability to complete a task) and self-esteem (how we feel about ourselves).

What if this negative self-talk, what we say about ourselves to ourselves, comes out before we can stop it? Then correct yourself even if it’s after the fact. For instance, as you’re walking on a path, you trip and call yourself “stupid”

I was showing my kids how to use some weight equipment and they asked how much weight I could do so I did a set. They exclaimed, “you make it look so easy” and referred to themselves as “weak”. I informed them I’ve been weight training for many years so I wasn’t born this way. Everyone has a starting point and if they continue working out they will only get stronger.

Another example is when I invited my kids to do a drop set doing bicep curls. My daughter gave me that “teenage look” and said “you suck”. That kind of language made me smile because I knew she was going to do the drop set despite not liking it. And she still loved me afterwards so all is good … until the next time I practise tough love.  

Getting back to the negative self-talk. How do you change it? How do you stop yourself from calling yourself names, putting yourself down, or never being happy with the way you look (both the general public and bodybuilders)?

The solution is to talk back to the negative side but use logic, facts. Once you’re aware you’re using negative self-talk, get real! Ask yourself what fact are you basing that thought/feeling on? If there is some truth to it, then ask yourself what can you do to change that truth? For instance, if you’re calling yourself “fat”, strategize or hire a coach for direction and accountability to work on fat loss.

When was the last time you did the word balance game? This is finding the positive ‘spin’ to a negative thought. I’ll use myself as an example. I’m stubborn (yes that’s a fact) but oftentimes stubborn is seen as a negative trait. My positive spin on being stubborn is being relentless, persistent. I don’t give up. I may need to change my direction but I keep going.

If you’re struggling dealing with your negative self-talk, please contact me at (416) 805-6155 or email me at so I can coach you on strategies that squash that talk.