Fitness JourneysHow to Gain MuscleMotivation

Fitness Words are Power!

I’ve heard sayings like “words are power” thousands of times, but I don’t think I truly appreciated how powerful they are until an experience I had recently while deep in a killer arms session.

In order to break up my routine a little bit I started doing some ab exercises. While in the midst of a burning second set I hit a point where my body started speaking to me. Starting in barely a whisper “Ooooh, this burns”, and then at least doubling in intensity with each successive rep. By the time I was in the middle of the second set the whisper had become a scream of burning “Ok! That’s enough!”, but I kept going. Suddenly a single word crept into my consciousness. “Attack!” I became fixated on this single word and repeated it over and over in my head rep after rep. An interesting thing happened as I focused on the single purpose expressed very simply in the word “attack.” The muscle burn that had nearly stopped me in my tracks just a few reps prior began to fade back into merely a whisper. I finished set two easily and then slammed through set 3 using the same method.

Still highly skeptical, I incorporated this method into the my remaining exercises of my arm workout and proceed to lift more weight for more reps than ever!  I don’t know what the hell it truly is, but I think I’ve found what I’ve dubbed my power word.  Is this meditation, mind over body, maybe a mixture of both?

“One great use of words is to hide our thoughts” ~ Voltaire


Does the above quote by Voltaire hold a secret for more productive workouts? I’m inclined to believe through this experience that somehow repeating “attack” over and over in my head helped me to bridge the gap between when my body says it’s getting tired, and what I can actually do if I just tell it to shut up. The word simplified the endeavor and united my body systems in a single resolute purpose. I’m definitely going to be testing the effectiveness of this particular mind game in future workouts, especially on the days when I have a hard time focusing (we all have these).

This is not to say that listening to your body is always a bad thing, as it can also keep you from injuring yourself by pushing too hard.  My dad always said that getting a “C” in a class just meant that you showed up. With this in mind I’d think it’s fair to say the most gyms are full of  “C” students.  Striving for and consistently building muscle in a fitness program involves mastering the tedious balancing act of first knowing your limits, and then stretching them as far as possible each and every session. This  is where a personal trainer can be an invaluable resource, especially when you’re just starting out. A good trainer will show you just how far out of your comfort zone you should be in each and every workout, and through my own experience, I can say it’s probably much farther than you think.

What are your words/thoughts? Are they helping or hurting y0u on your fitness journey?

Sound Off!

  1. Are there any mind over matter techniques you use to power your workouts?
  2. Humble Request – The next time you feel unfocused in a workout, try finding your power word and share the results in the comments section below.

Summer’s here, but I hope you’re still rockin it! Be sure to check out our next post “One Killer Arm Workout.”

Own it,


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  1. Corey Taylor of Slipknot once screamed in a song “Get this or die!”

    David Draiman once said “Heavy! I want it Heavy!”

    Dave Street my workout partner in college used to make me focus on completing each rep with “Get it up”

    Corey and Dave both gave me the power phrases I used to hit PRs and finish my sets even when my muscles scream “No more!”

    David of Disturbed gives me a reason to keep adding weight to each set and to finish the damned set for the number of reps I’m supposed to get.

    “Attack” is a good one too.

    1. Good power words Steve!

      Years ago I was waiting in line for Ozzfest to open and this guy came riding up on a mountain bike sweaty is hell. I glanced at him and then did a classic double take. Sure enough it was David Draiman putting in work before the show!

      Thanks for sharing.


  2. The power of something as simple as a few phrases is amazing. Just a quick bit of encouragement often helps out – not just in the gym, but in life.

    But I’ve got to say — if someone told me to “get it up”, I might just have to laugh. 🙂

    1. Oh, you made me laugh Greg! 🙂 Context is important.

      Excellent point about the gym and life connection. Being “real” with yourself also means giving yourself permission to grow and succeed.


  3. Words are very powerful. Whoever said that words never hurt them was a liar. I don’t have a specific word or phrase to power through, but I do use words carefully to motivate.

    “Dave Street my workout partner in college used to make me focus on completing each rep with “Get it up””

    Pretty sure that would’ve broke my concentration. LOL

    1. I guess it totally depends on the words you use. Finding yourself using bad/hurtful words is testament to bad/hurtful thoughts.

      To steal and slice up a line from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, “Choose wisely, for as the right words will give you life, the wrong words will steal it from you.” 🙂 – OH, BIG nerd!

      Example – When you think and say “I can’t do it!” You’re right, you can’t.

      Thanks for visiting from the phitzone Todd!

      Rock it!