We recently received news that a joint MTOUGH / HART paper has been accepted for publication and is currently in press. The project was a collaboration between members of MTOUGH / HART, exercise psychologist Dr Jeff Breckon (Sheffield Hallam University) and Professor Robert Weinberg (Miami University, Ohio). Mental toughness is a construct that has emerged from elite sport but we saw the possibility that mental toughness would be equally important within exercise settings, and in particular in terms of sticking with an exercise program, especially when things become difficult or other demands (such as time, commitments etc.) take over. As such, we interviewed highly qualified and experienced exercise leaders and exercisers from their classes who they deemed to epitomise mental toughness. Exercise mental toughness (as we have called it) is clearly very similar to the construct that has emerged from sport. We discuss some of the similarities / differences in the paper. Also of interest, was that as other previous theorists such as Andersen (2011) have acknowledged, there may be a “dark side” to mental toughness – in that the macho connotations may lead some people to engage in unhealthy behaviours such as training when injured and over-training. The article also discusses how components of exercise mental toughness may be valuable in terms of exercise maintenance and relapse prevention during exercise behaviour change.
The full paper is now available online:
Crust, L., Swann, C., Allen-Collinson, J., Breckon, J., and Weinberg, R. (2014). A phenomenological exploration of exercise mental toughness: Perceptions of exercise leaders and regular exercisers. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise, and Health. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2159676X.2014.901986