Lesson 3: Mental State

We have all heard about the power of the positive mindset.  With a positive mindset, ANYTHING is possible. You can have and do anything you want as long as you remain positive…….right?

If it were only that easy.  

This blog is not intended to express how powerful positive thinking is, nor is it intended to be combatant to positive thinking.

Although I am a huge advocate for positivity, I have firsthand experienced the benefits that anger and what may be deemed “negativity” can contribute to training.

On the flip side, I have learned that negativity and anger do not always give you the desired outcome.

Simply put, I want to argue that there is a rationalization for both a positive mental state and a negative/angry mental state when it comes to training (and training only)!

So you had a bad day. Nothing seems to be going your way AT ALL. You had an argument with someone at work, or you’re upset at your children. Or you failed an exam, got a speeding ticket. You’re pissed. In about 15 minutes, you will be headed to Team Moljo to take our awesome ABC ² class - but you can’t even fathom laughing, smiling, or even being around people right now.

What do you do?

It could be that you’re so upset, you decide to bail on class, (even though it’s 1 of the 2 times a week you get to work out). You go home and radiate your anger onto everyone who comes into contact with you before going to bed.

You wake up the next day and notice that Team Moljo charged you for not showing up for class (side note, we really hate doing that), so now in addition to the original issue, you’ve got a bone to pick with Team Moljo. Your day is off to GREAT START! NOT!

Or there’s the flip side of the coin…

In an ideal situation, you would clear your head with the snap of your fingers, go to class, laugh, smile, have fun and sweat with everybody else. Inspired by one of Team Moljo’s life-changing classes, you graciously decide to let the matter GO.

You realize its smallness in the big picture of your life, and you acknowledge that the issue is not worth any more frustration.  

Here we have two very different outcomes.

In outcome number one, you have become a victim of the situation and things have headed in an even worse direction because of it.

In outcome two, you get the best of the situation rather than letting the situation get the best of you.  

But let’s investigate another example where your combativeness might have had a different effect.

Rather than being scheduled for an ABC² class, today you are scheduled to test your max deadlift in a private session with Katie. You refuse to late cancel on her and you also feel comfortable enough to be around Katie no matter what your mood.

You show up and boom, let the venting begin! (Side note: we value the personal relationships with all of our clients and so we understand that these things happen, this is not a judgment on such a scenario ;)  After explaining to Katie what happened, she jumps on your side and guess what, NOW SHE’S ANGRY (side note: you won’t like Katie when she is angry).

Of course, her anger only makes you even angrier and now it’s a room filled with Incredible Hulk-like freaks that are ready to do some damage. See how this could actually be helpful when looking to perform a max deadlift?!

With more discussion of the situation comes more anger, more adrenaline but MORE WEIGHTS onto the bar as well. Before you notice, the weight is well past your previous PR and you’ve still got some left in the tank.


Your mental state of anger has yielded you a new PR. Great Work!

What if you decided to enter this training session after forcing yourself to meditate for 10 minutes, talking to your mom to work the issue out, to come to the gym happy, laughing and smiling? What if you alleviated yourself of the negativity and anger before maxing out?

Would you have gotten the same result if you were feeling calm and apathetic?

Maybe, maybe not.

On my end, I have seen a lot of max lifts. And although the faces these lifters make are all different, I wouldn’t describe any one of them as happy and smiling. 

I hope these situations can impart to you the importance of your mental state while training.

Yes - being happy, positive and having fun is awesome. But there is nothing wrong with bringing a little anger, some negativity and a little bit of darkness into your training.

If aggression belongs anywhere safely, it’s in the gym! Your training is a healthy outlet for those feelings, and your loved ones will thank you for taking it out on a bar instead of on them; chances are after you just deadlifted 300 lbs, there’s not much of that angry energy left to use exploding at your spouse or kid when you get home because they left a dirty spoon on the table!

It’s important for you to identify what kind of energy works for you in different aspects of your training. Once you are able to identify it, then comes the hard part.

Creating it!

This is taking TOTAL responsibility. In this scenario, you do not allow external factors to dictate your state of mind. You know that YOU create your mindset, regardless of what happens around you.

Though you must work to develop it, YOU DO have the power to create the optimal emotional state for success while training (and at all other times!).

You must remember that the production of motivation, anger, and even happiness are ALL an inside job. And you CAN summon any of these emotions when needed to help get you achieve the task at hand.

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