Either you make yourself miserable or you make yourself happy. The amount of work is the same.

Carlos Castaneda

That’s how I choose to think about the inner dialogue that happens in my head. Let’s take a moment to recognize the inner banter that goes on 24/7 in our heads. That’s what is called our self-talk!


Your self-talk can be negative or positive it depends on you.  When I first started exercising I didn’t realise how critical I was to myself. Overtime working out with Sydney, my mindset started to change. I truly believe that working with an ex-athlete made all the difference for me. I learnt that they view life differently. 

They are more focused on the process, they believe in continuous improvements, getting better every day.


For instance, just 4 days ago I was doing a 45 minute Full Body HIIT Bootcamp with Sydney. The first 90 seconds took the gas out of me. I realised that my mind & body were not in sync that day. My mind wanted to quit though my body craved the movement. I just decided to move forward with the workout despite the inner voice telling me to quit. By the end of the workout, I was grateful that I started.


 I started my training with the purpose of it being a lifestyle shift. I wanted to work on my overall wellness. Working out with Sydney she constantly reminded me that she was training me for life. The reason she constantly throws challenges at me throughout the workout was her style of preparing me for life.

The way you’re talking to yourself now determines the way you deal with events that happen off the mat.


I found that so profound. I still remember while doing her IGNITE Program, at the end of a 60-minute workout I had a 60-second only jump rope and she said, “show yourself what your capable of, impress yourself,” and I stood in front of the mirror doing my jump rope, and I actually pushed myself more and felt proud while doing it.



In an episode ‘Inner Drill Sergeant,’ on the Happiness Lab podcast, Dr Laurie Santos, a Yale Cognitive scientist and researcher shares & I quote 

I feel like there are so many people who think that motivating themselves to gain positive habits in the New Year requires being this awful, self-critical drill sergeant.

She says that we usually start becoming more strict with ourselves around the time of the New Year. This happens because we set ambitious goals for ourselves. (which is awesome of course) But the thing she further elaborates on is that we constantly remind ourselves how much we suck which doesn’t make it any easier for us to continue the task at hand.

Our minds fool us into thinking that the harder we are on ourselves the better the outcomes. I learnt that when we practise compassion towards ourselves and forgive ourselves we can learn and start over. This reminds me of a quote,

“Don’t be afraid to start over. This time you’re not starting from scratch, you’re starting from experience.

Being hard on yourself and removing everything from your life at one time isn’t going to make you lose body fat or gain lean muscle mass. Like Leobrome James would say, “Dont go all cold turkey on yourself. add in or remove just one thing at a time”



Another helpful strategy for showing up on the mat has been listening to the podcast Trained by Nike. In an episode, I learnt that athletes not only listen to themselves, but they also talk to themselves. They are their own cheerleaders. One famous golfer’s go-to mantra is “Mentally Tough, Physically Loose” which if you think about is pretty empowering. But find what suits you, find the words that ignite something in YOU!

 Another athlete named her exhaustion the beast so she could recognize when it hit so she talk herself through it.


My entire idea of fitness changed the moment I learnt the importance of effort in a workout. You may think oh how ridiculous payal.  If you think about it more deeply you’d recognize that every day on the mat is different. Somedays you give your 100%, other days 95% and others 45%. What matters is consistency.


Working out prior to Sydney felt like something was missing. I knew I had so much in the energy tank to give, but it didn’t translate out on the mat. I learnt that each workout is different because each day was different. From the meals, we eat to how much sleep we get that’s how much it impacts the workout. She connected seemingly unrelated concepts of nutrition, sleep, hydration, movement.

I can’t thank this woman enough for only making healthy happy strong but also creating a strong foundational mindset alongside it. We are blessed to have an opportunity to move our bodies, don’t let your mind drag you down, let it lift you up.  


We hope you enjoyed this post. in the next post we will talk about the importance of recovery! and the role it plays in our workouts.



  1. Happiness Lab – Podcast 
  2. Transcript of happiness Lab –

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