How to push yourself through a really hard workout

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Regardless of how often you hit the gym, sometimes getting through that 20th burpee feels like torture. Ditto a 30-second plank on a Megaformer, or breaking past the four-mile mark during a run. You know those days: when completing segments of a workout feel as unreachable as climbing Mount Everest. It happens to the best of us.

Sometimes you just need some motivation. Even trainers need to summon that little part within their brain that powers them through when their body just wants to lie down on the floor.

But they’re trainers for a reason. People come to them as motivators to get their sweat on—which is why we tapped the fitness gurus from super intense HIIT studio The Fhitting Room for expert advice on powering through a workout when you’re just not feeling it—or if it’s just military bootcamp-level hard.

If you’ll be near East Hampton on Saturday, July 23, come take a Fhitting Room class yourself—we’re taking over their studio! Score a Well+Good beach bag after pushing through your workout. Class starts at 11:30 a.m. Click here to sign up—classes are $40.

The Fhitting Room, classes available this summer at Truth Training, 5 Railroad Ave., East Hampton, NY, 11937,

Keep reading for 10 tips from Fhitting Room pros on how to keep pushing through all those squats, high knees, or any challenge you face with a different, stronger mindset.

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1. Break the workout up into mini-intervals

“I think of my workout in interval chunks. If I’m working for time, I will tell myself (and clients), ‘You can do this for 15 seconds.’ And when that mini-interval is almost over, I say ‘You’ve got 15 more.’ Same thing goes for reps. Positive talk throughout helps. I find good music so motivating—when possible I love to stay on beat and let the music be my guide. Finally, I might dedicate my workout to someone in my life and visualize completing it for that person. It works!” —Dara Theodore


2. Remember why you’re there

“To motivate people in the middle of a workout, I like to remind them why they are there. It’s very important to remember why you started when you want to give up. Also I like to remind people of where they started. Many people do not realize how far they have come physically—even if it’s been a week or two in the journey. I have to remind them that they have made so much progress and need to continue because they will accomplish what they set out to do—it just takes hard work, some time, and patience.” —Mat Forzaglia


3. Find your “carrot”

“I have always been a competitive person, so being in a group setting where I have someone pushing me to go harder is always a great source of motivation. I can see the difference in my level of focus and energy expenditure when I am in these settings versus when I am not.

“If you aren’t competitive by nature, delving into a specific source of motivation is key.  Whether it’s an upcoming competition (I have a client who is going to Rio for the Olympics, and all I have to say when she starts giving reasons for not wanting to work out is “RIO!”) or something more significant like a health-related issue, it is imperative that you understand what your ‘carrot’ [something dangling just out of reach] is.” —Carlos Davila


4. Set specific, measurable goals

“Setting small specific and measurable goals are vital when you workout.  Set a rep or time goal for exercises that are attainable so you feel successful throughout the session and accomplished when it’s over.” —Jason Tran


5. Think about your progress

“I continuously set goals during the workout to break through. It also helps to keep in mind my progression, reminding myself of where I was two months ago, or even two weeks ago. I always push to do more, to be better and get stronger. A great hip-hop playlist always pushes me to go harder, too.” —Daury Dross 


6. Find your own “best”

“I constantly remind myself of my own fitness goals. I’ll be in the middle of an intense workout, fighting to go faster or for another rep and I’ll remember that there is someone out there training to be better than me. I may not ever be the best, but I can certainly work to become the best—and that gets me fired up.” —Farouk Houssein


7. View discomfort differently

“Years ago, a professor said to me, ‘Discomfort is just another feeling. It isn’t always a bad thing.’  These words have stuck with throughout my life, and remind me in the toughest workouts to acknowledge my discomfort, welcome it, and then push past it.  Change cannot occur without discomfort.”  —Ben Wegman


8. Good things don’t come easy

“To push past your limits, know that the hard work that you put in now will pay dividends very quickly. Health is the most important gift we have, so cherish it and maintain it. Understand that it’s not easy, but most good things don’t come easy.”  —Simon Lawson


9. Get a crew

“I prefer to work out with friends. It pushes and motivates me to keep going and stay focused. There’s a sense of accountability when you work out with someone. Always surround yourself with people you aspire to be. I think this quote from The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg sums it up perfectly: ‘When people join groups where change seems possible, the potential for that change to occur becomes more real.’ How we feel about ourselves has a huge effect on success in everything in life from personal business and exercise.” —Eric Salvador


10. Get new workout gear

“Buying new workout gear or sneakers motivates me—I want to test out my new stuff! Former NFL player Deion Sanders says it best, ‘If you look good, you feel good, and if you feel good, you play good.’ I also think regularly working out is an important part of being successful—it keeps me balanced and focused on my goals.” —Dennys Lozada

Speaking of new workout gear—these are the nine most stylish cropped leggings of the season, and here’s how to find the best sweat-wicking activewear for summer

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