Fitness Friday

The Magic Number Method: Building a Strong Body Through a Stronger Mind


Today’s Fitness Friday post is brought to you by my dear from Haeli Allen!! She has become a beast in her fitness and crushing goals and I always love hearing her point of view on how to overcome a challenge or set back. I love this idea she has about the magic number. Take a read and leave your comments below on your thoughts!!!

I’m going to attempt to convey this idea in the best way I can. My hopes being to share my new-found mentality I use while lifting weights. This method could surely be applied to any fitness avenue be-it yoga, running, Pilates, swimming, biking etc. Any form of exercise that involves any number of reps, miles, distance, or time-holding (i.e. 90 second plank, 30 min run, 15 rep lifts, sets of pushups etc) For example purposes, I will be using sets consisting of 15 reps, 12 reps, 8 reps in which I increase weight between sets.

Everyone counts their reps differently but there are really only two main ways to do this: counting up, or counting down. For instance, you have a total of 30 sit-ups. You either start counting from 1 and go up to 30 or you start at 30 and count down. Personally, I prefer to count down. It’s more encouraging and easier to follow when I start at the top and move down. That feeling when you get to Zero is the feeling of accomplishment! And that is where the, magic number method comes in. Normally, and obviously, reaching zero tells you, you’ve finished! Sometimes it’s a struggle to get there but once you do you know you are done until the next set! Now what if zero actually equaled 8? Did I lose you? Let me explain and you will see where the mental power comes in.

I pick up my set of light weights, lets say 10 pound dumbbells. I have 15 reps of bicep curls. I start at fifteen and count down: 15, 14, 13…etc. BUT I tell my self that upon reaching 8 I hit the downhill slope. I know in my mind that if I can just get down to 8 reps I can finish them! 8 is a checkpoint of sorts. So if I am struggling I tell myself 8=0.

Does that mean I stop at 8? No, because that would only make 8 reps…BUT if I tell myself I can make it to 8 easily and then hammer out the last 8 reps as if they were 0, I mentally am making myself DO 8 reps more than 0.

Think of this phrase, “If you just can’t do another rep, do TWO!” This mentally is building a stronger mind than your body. YOUR MIND does more in your workout than your body does! If you tell your body to keep running, it will keep running. If you tell your body your legs are tired and you are fatiguing, you will feel fatigued and your legs will hurt. If you tell yourself, I’ve done 30 crunches, that’s good for today. You will stop at 30. But if instead you do 30 and then tell yourself, “I can do 20 more,” You are not only strengthening your body through the additional exertion but you are priming your mind to control your body and not the other way around.

So, with that phrase in mind, “If you just can’t do another rep, do TWO!” (2 being the magic number here) When I start my reps at 15 with my light weights, I tell my self mentally:

You can make it to 8 easily and once you reach 8 the rest is a downhill slope! Upon completing those reps, I can increase my weight and start 12 more reps telling myself again:

You can easily make it down to eight and the rest are downhill!

I have one last set of reps to do, increased weight but ONLY 8 reps! Because I have told myself 8 is easy, even though I have now increased to my max weight, it’s a breeze because my mind is doing MORE work than my body!

The other great thing about picking a magic number is that it gives you room for improvement. One week my magic number might be 8. The week or two after I can

decrease to 6! I’m still doing the same number of reps total BUT my mind is in greater control of my body. Now I have to make it all the way down to six before I tell myself: You’ve made it from 15 to 6 and now you’re on the downhill slope!

Before I know it my magic number will be 4. The progress being, I now can mentally make more reps, further down the line but I don’t worry about the number until I am almost done! Running out of magic numbers? Bump your magic number back UP to 8, but increase your starting weight and the process begins again!

I’ve used the same mentality on the tredmill. Starting at my slowest pace I run the first quarter of a mile. Then I increase speed, run the next quarter of mile, when I reach half a mile I have reached my “magic number” and I can then say:

Even though I am increasing speed I am on the downhill slope!

This has not only increased my physical strength, agility, and endurance but I have the strongest willed MIND that I have ever had! I reach so many ‘mini goals’ on a daily basis by putting this mentality into practice. Having a strong mind is vital to physical improvement. If you can’t push your own limits you can’t reach your goals! What mental positivity do you give yourself to push your own limits and reach your goals?


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