Your internal monologue during a workout determines success: study - The Globe and Mail
The study, led by Dr. Stephen Cheung and his student Phillip Wallace, explored the use of “motivational self-talk.” A group of 18 trained cyclists performed a series of tests that included a timed bike ride to exhaustion while maintaining a constant pedalling power, and a battery of cognitive tests in 35 C heat. Half of the group then received two weeks of self-talk training, and then they repeated the same series of physical and cognitive tests.
The self-talk training, based on well-established sports psychology techniques, involved identifying negative thoughts that occurred to the cyclists during the first set of tests, such as “It’s so hot in here” or “I’m boiling,” and learning to replace them with motivational statements such as “Keep pushing, you’re doing well.” Each volunteer identified a set of statements that felt effective to them, with specific statements chosen for different parts of the test.
The results, which were published online in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise last month, showed a clear difference. The self-talk group increased their cycling endurance from eight minutes to over 11 minutes, and also improved their speed and accuracy on a cognitive test that involved figuring out and remembering a route through a maze. The control group saw no change in either test.