Go From An Fit Training Minset To An Elite Training Mindset

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Recently I was having a discussion with a friend about upping his level of fitness. While he felt he was doing well, he wanted to improve more.

To give you a little background about my friend. He is pretty consistent with going to the gym, eats pretty good, and would be viewed as in pretty good shape by the average person. Since the whole conversation was about upping his level of fitness, I asked him how he saw himself fitness wise.

“Would you consider yourself fit or elite in fitness terms?” I asked him.

He paused for a moment, thought to himself and then said “Pretty elite I guess!”

I then looked at him and said. “You had a slight pause are you sure?”

“Well yeah. I am more consistent than most people, I eat better than most people, and not to toot my own horn but I think I look better than most people my age also.” He stated.

“What do you think?” He asked me.

“Well…. I think you’re very healthy but being fit and being elite are two totally different things.” I said.

“Why? Is it because I am not a professional athlete or compete like you and some of your clients?” He asked.

“Not at all my friend, being elite with your training has nothing to do with what you do but how you think.” I said.

“What do you mean?” He asked.

We chatted for about an hour more or so about what makes an elite training mindset. By the end we both agreed while my friend was quite fit he wasn’t near where he wanted to be to be elite.


By now you’re probably asking “What’s wrong with being fit?” The truth is absolutely nothing if that is where you want to be but if you want to be “elite” you have to up your game. Here are a few pointers if you’re trying to have an elite training mindset:


“It is better to be a small fish in a big ocean rather than a big fish in a small pond.”

When I spoke to my friend and he said “Well yeah. I am more consistent than most people. I eat better than most people. Not to toot my own horn but I think I look better than most people my age also.” He was using a big fish in a small pond mentality.  He was simply thinking about those who he was doing better than. By putting yourself mentally in a position where you are the forerunner you won’t always push yourself to the next level.  Elite trainers use the small fish big ocean approach. If you use the approach that you work to catch or be better than the bigger fish even on a subconscious level you work harder. People who want something generally work harder than people who already have it. Hence when the champ becomes complacent he usually gets beat by the hungry challenger.

“Your training is part of your life not something you occasionally add to it.”  

This is probably the one that divides the fitness groups the most. The “Lazys” never have time for fitness, The “Fits” most of the time get their fitness together but on occasions find reasons to miss training, meals, or rest. The “Elites” get it done no questions asked. They don’t make time for their fitness because fitness is a part of their lives….period. I have trained single mothers with two and three kids that work full time and still get their training in. If being a full time working mom with kids is not an excuse to find reasons to skimp on training I don’t know what is. If someone with a schedule that full can get it done, what is your excuse?

“Train for what you need and not always what you like.”

Elite mindset trainers train for one thing. They train for all around improvement plain and simple. Elite trainers train to improve to be the best they can. That sometimes means doing things they do not always consider “fun” but knows will help them in the long run.

The man who has a 62 inch chest and 16 inch legs but keeps working to build his chest up is not and elite mindset trainer. The guy who is great at building muscle but terrible at cardio, who makes an effort to work on his cardio because it will improve his weak area is an elite mindset trainer. Elite mindset trainers don’t avoid weaknesses they try to improve them.

“Take responsibility for your own actions.”

Elite mindset trainers do just that.

“I couldn’t get to the gym because…….” or “I had a bad workout because…..”

Elite mindset trainers don’t make excuses they own their victories and defeats. They don’t play the blame game they will be the first to tell you “I sucked because of me and what I did or did not do.” They don’t use bad things or negativity as an excuse but as a tool to improve for the next time.

“Asking for help is a good thing.”

One of the least successful groups of people in life is those that have problems but don’t ask for help. Top athletes, trainees, and competitors all over use advisors and coaches to help them improve. An elite mindset trainer knows how to leave their ego at home and can ask for help when they need it. Asking for help at times does not mean your weak but the exact opposite. It means you’re a strong enough person to realize that someone out there may know a little more about something and can help you improve with their knowledge. Elites also realize a second set of eyes or ideas can make a huge difference in trying to achieve their fitness goals.

I think I can!!!! I think I can!!!

Having an elite training mindset is about positive mind frame. Elite trainers have the mindset that they can achieve a task no matter the odds. By believing in themselves and their ability to perform that task they push themselves to levels where most other individuals would stop.  I once worked with a client that said “ I am so used to working this hard now if my body isn’t at least a little sore and tired all the time it feels odd.”

Sometimes pushing means embracing the pain and not avoiding it.

“It’s not a sprint but a marathon.”

Another distinguishing factor between the elite and other fitness enthusiast is the ability to endure. Check out any popular gym from January to mid March. Gyms all over the nation are usually packed. By mid march the gym population has usually shrunk by 45%,

That is because the average gym patron has the ”sprint” mentality. The sprint mentality is-I’m going to make huge changes in a short amount of time.  Elite trainers realize improvement happens over periods of time and are in it for the long run. This is an ”marathon” mentality-accomplishment over a long stretch. It is not about being good for a short period of time but consistently being good over and over and over again.

“It’s not the size of the dog in the fight but the fight in the dog.”

This is another mantra of elite trainers.  Over the years I have seen plenty of guys with 24 inch biceps and the heart of mice and guys with 14 inch biceps with the hearts of lions. Guess over periods of who ends up achieving more.  The training word is much like the real world, when it comes down to it life is about work ethic. Your work ethic is what pays your ultimate dividends. “No talent with a good work ethic is a shame but talent with no work ethic is a tragedy!”-Robert Half

Well now that you have a few examples do you consider your training style as fit or as elite? For some of you, if you want to have and elite training mentality you may need to make some improvements in your mindset to get there. Just remember to train in a top level mentality you have to think like a top level person. You do not have to be a top level athlete or competitor but you may want to look at some of their approaches to training and mindset to improve yourself. No matter what though the difference between being “elite” or being “fit” lies in your hands.

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All articles on this site are authored or co-authored by Jarueba Taylor. They are the copy written  property of Taylored Nutrition.