The power of the mind

Yesterday, in the afternoonish time, I was getting my training session in.  Towards the end of it I was doing my last set of single leg deadlifts (an exercise I left out of my post yesterday, but is a fantastic single leg exercise).  On my third rep I heard a loud *pop* in my left knee.  It hurt a little, and started to swell a bit.  It hasn’t been too bad since then, but it’s giving me a little trouble.  Needless to say, if this effects my ability to pull a new deadlift PR on Jan, 1 I’m going to be more than a little upset about it.  Here’s to hoping it’s nothing major and that it will subside in a day or two.

I got this article in my e-mail yesterday.  It’s brief and will only take a couple minutes to read, but in case you’re just SOOOOO busy you can’t read it, here’s the cliff notes version:

When you think positively about exercise it has greater benefits.

Imagine that.  Having a positive attitude about getting fit helps you get fit.  And conversely, if you step into the gym with your head full of thoughts that are negative and defeatist, your efforts are going to suffer.

Using myself as an example, let’s say my knee was seriously injured.  I could take two approaches with it.  I could mope about it, get discouraged and say things like “I can’t use my leg so what’s the point in training at all.  I’ll just wait till I can use my knee again and then get back into it.”  If I took this approach, I would fall seriously behind on my goals, gain fat and lose a ton of strength.  Or, instead I could accept that fact that while it sucks, there is still a ton of training that I could do, like my entire upper body and the opposite leg, you know 75% of me.  The latter would definitely be the better of the two options.

The power of the mind really is an incredible thing.  There have been countless studies showing that by simply imagining yourself doing a task greatly increases the likelihood of completing that task.  I do this regularly with heavy lifts.  I take a brief moment and imagine myself completing the lift.  I actually picture it.  It really makes a world of difference for me when I got to complete the exercise.

The same logic applies to goals that you set.  If you have a goal of losing 20 pounds, but believe that you’re not able to because you’ve tried so many times and it’s never worked do you think you’ve got a very good chance of losing that weight?  If you think like this, I guarantee that you wont work very hard to lose it.  Because why would you want to work hard for something that’s not going to happen?

On the flip side, I met with a new client yesterday.  We were going over some of her goals that she wanted to accomplish and one of them was be able to do 12 pullups.  And then, once she gets those, she wants to up that number to 17.  Is that a lofty goal?  100% yes.  Is it realistic and completely doable? 100% yes.  The mere fact that she wants this goal, really wants this goal, and believes that it’s doable makes it completely possible for her.  Her outlook changes completely changes the ballgame.  Some people I train say they want to get stronger, get leaner, feel better but none of their actions show it.  I don’t think they want to, I think they want to want to.  They have a desire to want to make the changes, but they’re not at a place where they’re going to do the work they have to to accomplish those goals.  It’s a nasty place to be because they really believe they want to meet these goals, but can’t understand why they’re having such a hard time.

It all starts with your approach.  Are you trying to lose 20 pounds or are you losing 20 pounds?  Are you trying to get stronger, or are you getting stronger?  What’s your mental approach to the things you want to accomplish?  Do you believe you can accomplish them?

These are important questions to ask yourself.  Review your goals.  Ask yourself if your really willing to do the things you need to to accomplish them.  Do you really want to meet them or do you want to want to meet them?  If you’re finding yourself not truly wanting to do the work, it’s time to light a fire under your butt.


2 thoughts on “The power of the mind

  1. Good post – I agree when I am tired and think “I can’t do this, I am tired’ its hard to push through a workout. It’s the self fulfilling prophecy.

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