A small new study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise has reinforced the idea that willpower and mental state are crucial for overcoming physical problems. In other words, you need to use your brain to push your body.

The Canadian research team found that athletes who employed motivational self-talk worked out up to 25 percent longer, TIME reported.

Read: People Who Work Out Regularly Actually Enjoy It: What You Can Learn From Them

The study participants were 18 competitive cyclists who completed an intense exercise session in the heat. According to The Huffington Post, the room was set to 95 degrees Fahrenheit to make the conditions more extreme.

From there, nine of the participating cyclists trained normally for two weeks to train as they normally did. Meanwhile, the other half of the cyclists carried out sessions in motivational skills training. They were taught to replace negative thoughts like ‘I’m hot’ and ‘my legs are burning’ to empowering phrases like ‘I’m doing well’ or ‘I can handle this.’

Results showed that those athletes were able to pedal for 25 percent longer than they could initially, and they were also able to sustain high levels of discomfort for significantly longer than their peers who weren’t practicing motivational self-talk.

Stephen Cheung, author of the small study, explained to TIME that one participant lasted only 13 minutes in the first experiment, but endured the challenging conditions for 18 minutes after completing a two-week self-talk training.

Read: Workout Motivation Trick: Competition Is More Effective Than Encouragement

“It’s really ultimately the brain that lets you down,” Cheung said. “You can go a lot harder than a lot of times you think you can.”

Source: Wallace PJ, McKinlay BJ, Coletta NA, Vlaar JI, Taber MJ, et al. Effects of Motivational Self-Talk on Endurance and Cognitive Performance in the Heat. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2016.

Read Also:

Staying Motivated With Your Fitness

Need Workout Motivation? Some Companies Give Cash And Apple Watches To Employees Who Wear Fitness Trackers

Photo courtesy of Pixabay