Guest Blog by IRON Personal Trainer and Former Pro Soccer Player, Federico Cancello
You probably know that changing your diet and exercising are the two main ways to make a change in your body and/or fitness performance. The lesser known tool that many overlook is how to use your mind for better fitness results. While this article may seem to be written for the more serious athlete, there is plenty to learn for the occasional gym goer as well. We ALL want to see results in the gym (otherwise, what’s the point?), and the principles detailed below are helpful whether you’re just trying to get off the couch or are working to become a better athlete.
Along with the commonly known principles of weight loss and improving your fitness capabilities: dietary modification and physical exercise, comes a third factor that might just be the most important of them all. Mental Training.
The role the mind plays in body performance (whether that’s for sports performance or just general fitness) cannot be understated, and while it remains a subjective discourse as to how you can enhance mental strength to improve performance, we’re going to give you a great starting point to ensuring that you’re using your mental power to your advantage to see the best results possible when trying to achieve your fitness goal.
4 Ways tо Use Your Mind to Enhance Your Results
1. Emulate the Exercises you’re about to do.
It sounds silly, but picturing yourself doing the exercises you’re preparing to do (squats, push-ups, lunges, etc) actually helps your mind get ready to do them. You can actually improve your performance by just simply replicating these movements in your mind over and over. You can do this while driving to the gym, and even while you’re warming up.
2. Learn to manage your Thoughts.
Remind yourself why you are doing this. What’s your ultimate goal? What does it feel like when you think about reaching that goal? Feed your mind with positive images and outstanding results. Once again, we are not magicians, but the little impacts of changing your thoughts to positive ones will elicit better results (and a happier life in general). For example, instead of thinking about how difficult squats will be, think about how well you’re going to do them. Even if you don’t believe it, continue to flip the negative thoughts into positive ones.
3. Make Sure You’re Moving Properly.
All the practice in the world won’t help if you’re doing a movement incorrectly (and potentially in a harmful position). This can be worked on with a Personal Trainer or someone that you trust knows what they’re doing. If you’re not sure, it’s always best to work on it with someone who can help. Practicing makes you better at whatever you’re practicing. If you’re practicing something incorrectly, you’ll get very good at doing it incorrectly and vice versa.
4. Keep a Log or Journal of your Workouts.
Recording the weights used, number of reps completed, rest times, and any other data that pertains to the workout you’re doing will help you to progress over time. It’s impossible to know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. It also helps you to push a little harder each workout. If you got 10 reps last time you did squats with a certain weight, maybe you’ll try to get 12 reps this week. In addition, physically seeing the numbers on paper will help you to progress and get stronger. It won’t be linear, but keeping track and trying to best yourself each time will allow you to make improvements in the long run.
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