How to Use EFT to Overcome Challenges in the Gym

Learn this little-known technique to overcome your psychological barriers to better physical performance in the gym.

This is the second in a series of articles on using Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT, to help improve your performance in the gym and sports. If you missed it, the first article introduces what EFT can do for you, covering both anecdotal and scientific evidence for its use.

This is the second in a series of articles on using Emotional Freedom Technique, or EFT, to help improve your performance in the gym and sports. If you missed it, the first article introduces what EFT can do for you, covering both anecdotal and scientific evidence for its use.

Trying EFT on Your Own

In this article you’ll learn how to use EFT. While EFT is fairly simple and can be done by yourself once you learn the basics, doing it on your own is not always best. To handle bigger issues, you often need a qualified person to lead you through the practice.

Just like having a coach or trainer is often best in the gym, especially when starting out, it’s the same with EFT. You wouldn’t teach yourself techniques on exercises from the start, so don’t expect to get the best results from EFT if you only read these articles or even just watch a few videos.

With that being said, once you do understand the basics, you can use this for yourself and there’s really no harm in trying. At worst you’ll be in the same place you were before your started.

The Basics Behind EFT

EFT involves tapping on specific acupressure points while saying certain statements. The points used correspond to different meridians in order to work with your energy and nervous systems to help recode the issue at hand. While you’ll need to memorize the points, you don’t need to know any of the deeper details like which points belong to which meridians. And there’s only ten or so of them, so it’s quite easy.

The statements are used for a couple different reasons, but the main purpose is to bring up the relevant issue and keep it in the forefront of your mind so that the tapping can transform it.

EFT needs to be aimed at a specific problem. A common mistake is to try it on too global of an issue. For instance, if you lack confidence tapping on the phrase “I lack confidence” isn’t likely to do much. Instead, you want to narrow your problem down to something specific. “I lack confidence in being able to do a muscle up” would work just fine, if that were your issue.

Along with this, you’ll want to assign an intensity level to the statement. On a scale of zero to ten, with zero being not at all and ten being the highest intensity, how true is this statement? Tune in to your body and feel how true it is for you. It’s important to do this before you begin your EFT practice, as this number will be used later to measure against and see how the tapping has made changes.

The Setup

The first point you tap on is known as the karate chop point. It’s on the pinky side of your hand, at the middle of the palm. This can be tapped with the four fingers of the other hand.

While tapping on this point, you’re going to say a statement designed to temporarily eliminate psychological reversals. A lot of the subconscious concerns like safety, deservedness, or other issues surrounding your identity can stand in your way. These are called psychological reversals. The name means that if you have one of these, then you will reverse what you consciously say you want, because a greater need is being fulfilled by not changing.

By using the setup, you can often temporarily side step these issues to get results with the rest of the process. For example:

“Even though I have [name the problem], I deeply love and accept myself.

And yes, this is the point where some people start snickering because it’s not cool or manly to love yourself, but just stick with me on this. This is the classic setup phrase, but you can use variations of it. In fact, a statement like the example doesn’t always apply in a big way to what you’re trying to do in the gym, so other variations may fit better.

Some examples of gym-specific phrases include:

  • “Even though I fear hurting my back while deadlifting, I know I can do it safely and effectively.”
  • “Even though I doubt I‘ll be able to lift this weight, I choose to give it my all.”
  • “Even though I desire to eat this food right now, I deeply love and accept myself.”

The phrase “I deeply love and accept myself” is used because it acknowledges self-acceptance in spite of the problem. If people don’t feel they love and accept themselves, they can use the phrase, “I choose to deeply love and accept myself.”

Honestly, if you are trying to make a change but can’t accept yourself for where you’re currently at, then you don‘t have much hope of making positive changes. In fact, youy may continue to access more negativity, often in never-ending loops, that keep you stuck or make things even worse.

Generally the setup statement is repeated three times before you move onto the next sequence.

Warning: Tapping can get quite emotional. I’ve had a person burst into tears when she tried to say, “I deeply love and accept myself.” But if you don’t feel this statement is true (and be honest with yourself), it’ll be hard to be a peak performer.

The Tapping Points

From this setup phrase you’ll use a shorter statement. This is called the reminder phrase. Its purpose is to keep the issue at the forefront of your mind. From the examples above you could use:

The main sequence of tapping makes up the bulk of the process. This involves tapping on certain points from the top of your body down. Different people use some different points but these nine as a basic formula have worked well for me:

  1. Inner Eyebrow
  2. Outside Eyes
  3. Under Eyes
  4. Under Nose
  5. Under Mouth
  6. Under Collarbone
  7. Breast Bone
  8. Under Arm
  9. Seams of Legs

Watch Me Do EFT and Learn

The best way to learn is just by watching and imitating a person, so I‘ve included a video here:

You’ll tap on each point about seven or more times. The exact number isn‘t important and you don‘t need to count. Instead, you‘ll tap while saying the reminder phrase.

When you’re tapping the points, you’ll usually use two fingers – the index and middle – for all the points on the face. For the other points on the body, you can include the two fingers and thumb or even all the fingers close together.

You’ll typically go through this whole sequence two or more times. It really depends on the issue at hand. After you complete a tapping sequence, check back in with your intensity level. Has it gone down? Has it gone up? This sometimes happens as initially the tapping and talking can trigger the issue to come to the surface more. If the intensity has gone up, then keep tapping.

Also, pay attention to what else comes up, like different memories that may be related to the issue. For instance if you have a fear of hurting your back in the deadlift, it’s probably because you did it before. Going back to that initial trauma and tapping on that is what is going to help remove the current fear.

You also have aspects that are certain components of the issue. For instance, you can pay attention to and tap on the specific feelings you have in your body. You may feel the craving or fear you’re working with in specific areas of your body. You can bring up those details while you tap.

This article is only meant to give you an overview of the technique. There’s far more detail in how to use this than can be covered in one article. But in the next articles in this series, I will dive deeper into specific issues, giving you step-by-step details on how you can use them to help improve your performance.

Photo 1 courtesy of Shutterstock.

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