The Power of the Mind




The Power Of

The Mind

Stage 1

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- Strength Training

-Anaerobic Training





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Whether you want to become fit and healthy, become a professional sports person, or just shed a few pounds, it is imperative that you have the right mindset if you are to keep up your training for any extended period of time. I can tell you now that hardly anyone who trains actually enjoy it; in fact, there are many people who downright HATE it. So what keeps them from just stopping, you wonder?


There are a number of possible reasons people are able to fight their laziness and keep training, but you will find that they are all based on a single aspect: MIND OVER MATTER. My father taught me this phrase many years ago but it took me awhile to truly understand its meaning. This phase carries the message that if you can master your mind and exert control over your feelings, you can overcome any obstacle your mind presents to you, from vague misgivings to primal fears (although our deepest fears can be significantly harder to overcome!).


In order to overcome misgivings or feelings of laziness that occur before a training session, it may first help to put these feelings in perspective by examining how they work:

Information is carried to, from, and within the brain by electrical signals called nerve impulses. A stimulus, such as pain, causes impulses to be transmitted from that point to the brain. This is how the brain recognizes where the pain is originating from. However, impulses can be coming from many parts of the body at once. The brain prioritizes which area requires the most immediate attention by the frequency and number of impulses sent from a particular source. The higher the number of impulses, and the more sent per unit time, the more attention is given to the source. For example, if a man has an itchy elbow, but then something heavy is dropped on his foot, many impulses will be quickly sent from his foot to his brain, which will immediately outnumber the impulses sent from his elbow, and his attention will immediately shift to his foot.


It is thought that this model can be applied to mental processes as well, such as whether or not you eat a sweet if you know you don’t feel like it but also know that it tastes so good and you may miss out if you don’t have it now. In this situation, you could force yourself one way or the other, with a little willpower. I believe this also applies to fitness training. Sure, there are impulses that make you feel lazy or have misgivings, but for a beginner trainer I believe this is simply your body warning you that you are about to take your body out of your comfort zone and damage some muscle fibres (in advanced trainers it may be a sign telling you that you need a bit of a rest!). But we already know that muscles get stronger by rebuilding damaged muscle fibres! Just like in the example of the sweet, all it takes is a little willpower and you will be able to overshadow your negative thoughts with positive ones and banish your misgivings about the coming training session. Whether people listen to music while they are exercising, sing songs in their heads, or pretend they are some sort of indestructible machine, in the end these all simply ball down to ways that people counter the impulses caused by negative feelings.


This information has actually been put into practice for many years already. When you were a child you may remember your parents telling you when you were in pain to ‘think about something else’. Once again, this is simply a method of overshadowing impulses from the source of pain with impulses created by other strong feelings.


Unfortunately, the mental lead-up to a training session doesn’t get any easier as you get fitter, however, you may find yourself less likely to gain excess weight again. This is for two reasons:

Firstly, you will have worked so hard to get to your current fitness, and you will start to feel that it would be a waste to have done all that hard work just to let it all slip away through laziness, and secondly, you will notice yourself start to feel worse both physically and mentally if you start to accumulate fat again. You will become slower and more sluggish and you will not like it one bit. This is likely to prompt you into training once again.


THE BOTTOM LINE: Find some way of banishing or diminishing negative pre-training thoughts, something that works for you, and just get out there and start training! There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain!




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