Expectations don’t get a ton of attention, but they’re very important. One area we see this is in the placebo and nocebo effects. If you expect a certain outcome (whether it be positive or negative), there is a more likely chance it’ll occur.Normally we think of the placebo and nocebo in medicine, but it’s also important as you frame your expectations of a training session. For example, I’m normally a bit hard on myself when it comes to squats. I get overly analytical, scrutinize the details, and generally have a somewhat negative perception of my ability on the heavy squat day. Try to flip the mental script. Have a positive inner voice. Be critical but also mindful of what you did well on the last set. Don’t expect the next set to be awful. Expect the unracking of the bar to be smooth, the first rep to be dialed in. If you go into your training with the mindset of “This is going to be awful,” it probably will be. This also isn’t to suggest that you be overly cheery and unrealistic. Find the balance between a healthy, positive inner self talk, and inject a little bit of analysis about your performance.
For more quality information about expectations, the placebo, and nocebo effects I can’t recommend Dr. Feigenbaum and Dr. Baraki’s podcast episode 20 enough!