Mental toughness doesn’t happen by chance; it requires a conscious effort. Lisa Lanceford, women’s fitness trainer and founder of the strng app, reveals how to build self-discipline and increase your inner strength so you can put in the hard work needed to achieve your fitness goals…

When it comes to improving your fitness and health, who wouldn’t want to find a quick fix? The amount of work, effort and self-discipline that is required to alter your body composition, build muscle, reduce fat and achieve your fitness goals can feel completely overwhelming, especially as it often means an overhaul of your entire lifestyle. And if you want to continue to feel the benefits, those lifestyle changes are forever – they are not something you can just do for two weeks.

With such a huge task ahead, it’s no wonder so many people are tempted by supposed shortcuts. The problem is that none of them work. Literally none of them. I see so much terrible advice and, frankly, exploitative claims on social media, trying to persuade often really vulnerable people who are struggling with their weight or body confidence to spend their money on bogus diets, supplements and fitness plans. If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is.

The only way to transform your body is to exercise and eat food that nourishes you and supports your body goals – and to keep doing it. There’s no point pretending that it’s easy. The only way you’re going to be able to achieve your fitness goals it is through a pretty dogged sense of self-discipline and inner strength, and that is just not easy.

self discipline workout fitness inner strength mental toughness lisa lanceford

How to build self-discipline to work out

Building self-discipline is an important mental practice if you’re going to improve your health and fitness. Here are my top tips:

1.Forget about the quick fix

When it comes to health and fitness, physical and mental strength, there are no shortcuts, you just have to do the work. Be wary of anyone selling you a magic recipe for progress without effort, and remember that there are countless people out there willing to exploit others. The fitness world on social media is a bit like the Wild West, so always do your research, read testimonials and follow a creator for some time before trusting anyone.

2. You’re not born with discipline

Discipline isn’t something you either have or don’t. It’s something you have to invest in and build overtime. It has the power to totally transform your body, mind and life, but it is by no means straightforward. You have to keep working at it – just like everyone else.

3. Physical and mental self-discipline are interlinked

Physical discipline will lead to mental discipline and vice versa. It’s an endless feedback loop, supporting and stretching your potential every single day.

4. You don’t need to prove yourself to others

There’s only one person you need to prove yourself to: you. Training for yourself will boost your mental strength and that, in turn, will be transformative for your entire life.

5. Keep pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone

Self-discipline helps you progress towards your goals, which should be ever-shifting. There is no ‘end’ to your diet or fitness routine; instead it’s anew lifestyle which will lead you to do things that you never believed yourself capable of.

Home workout for self-discipline

Try this mini workout to build mental toughness and self-discipline. It’s a challenge, so you will have to push through that mental barrier in order to complete it…

REPS

  • Beginners: 15 seconds on & 45 seconds off
  • Intermediate: 40 seconds on & 20 seconds off
  • Advanced: 50 seconds on & 10 seconds off
  • Complete 4 rounds

BODYWEIGHT SQUAT

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, core engaged.
  • Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat, bringing your hands up to your chest.
  • Push through heels to return to the start and repeat.
  • To add a challenge, use dumbbells or jump into the air between squats, landing softly with bent knees.
self discipline workout fitness inner strength mental toughness lisa lanceford

SPLIT SQUAT

  • Stand with one foot in front of you, toes forwards.
  • Squat down by bending your front knee and allowing the back knee to bend with it, the backheel is off the floor.
  • Push back to standing, switch legs and repeat.
  • To add a challenge, use dumbbells or jump into the air between squats, landing softly with bent knees.
self discipline workout fitness inner strength mental toughness lisa lanceford

PRESS-UP

  • Lie face-down on the floor, hands under shoulders, fingers pointing forward, palms down and shoulders slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Engage your core and push your chest off the floor until you’re in a plank position.
  • Bend your elbows to lower your body back down until your chest is nearly touching it. Pause and repeat.
self discipline workout fitness inner strength mental toughness lisa lanceford

JOGGING ON-THE-SPOT

  • Start standing and begin to break out into a jog.
  • Exaggerate the high-knee phase of the run cycle by bringing each leg up until the knee is almost at hip level.
  • Continue alternating at pace.
self discipline workout fitness inner strength mental toughness lisa lanceford

BICYCLE

  • Lie flat on the floor with your hands behind your ears.
  • Raise your legs a few inches off the floor and lift your shoulders up.
  • Use your abs to drive your right elbow and left knee towards each other, twist back to the centre, and then drive your left elbow and right knee towards each other.
  • Continue alternating sides as fast as possible.

7 Steps to Strong –Everyday habits to level up your fitness & unleash your inner strength by Lisa Lanceford is available now from £16.99 in hardback.

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