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Using Your Mind to Enhance Your Workouts




Using Your Mind to Enhance Your Workouts

The best way to enhance workouts is ironically in your own mind. From the way you approach a workout to your performance during it; mindset makes a huge difference. It is amazing how many people underestimate the power of their brain. You literally have the ability to double the effectiveness of any routine by applying the right kind of concentration. In exercising, the perception can become the reality.

Mind-Body Connection

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have. Once it is set on something, you gain the ability to make it happen. Applying the same philosophy to working out, it means thinking of your goals in order to achieve them. If your mind is somewhere else, the road to success is much more difficult. Any activity requires commitment, but it is absolutely critical when it comes to challenging your body physically.

Distractions are everywhere. Life is filled with one situation after another; making it interesting and complicated. Your workouts should be a time and place to escape the tension and deal with it in a healthy, productive way. By allowing stress to invade your mind, you are limiting the potential of the exercises and making yourself more injury prone. Instead, put any trouble or anxiety in one place, and how you choose to respond to it in another. Separate the two to understand that it is ultimately the way you decide to react to stress that matters. Everyone has the choice and the quality of your life depends on making the right one.

Both the mind and body need to work together to enhance workouts. This means giving 100% of your attention to the task at hand; accomplishing your objectives. In the gym, you will see countless people nonchalantly lifting. They are simply going through the motions while thinking of other things. It is almost as if they are bored and exercising out of necessity rather than desire. You never want that to happen to you.

Visualization

Each time you get ready to perform an exercise, stop and think first. See yourself completing the set in your mind. More importantly, think of the effects you want from that particular exercise. For example, if you are doing a set of bicep curls, visualize the way your arm will move. Create a mental picture of how you would like your bicep to look; keeping the end goal in mind.

As you perform the curl, focus on the image in your mind. Try to make a conscious effort to feel the muscles contracting. You will be surprised at how incredible it is to actually sense the growth taking place. The same pattern works with any exercise. If you are doing bench presses, concentrate on how the movements of the exercise are affecting the chest muscles. This is an extraordinary way to maximize the effectiveness of every single repetition. It may be helpful to watch yourself in a mirror or reduce the weight you are using until you get to the point of subconscious visualization.

The technique of visualizing your workout can be done anytime; not just while you exercise. Each person customizes it according to their own needs. Some people like to think about what muscles they are going to work on the next day. Others prefer to wait until about an hour before they begin working out. Again, think of the specific muscles and how they relate to the exercises. Imagine your abdominals toning as you complete the crunches or sit-ups. Look forward to your heart building up its cardiovascular efficiency in an upcoming aerobic session. The point is that the more “psyched up” you are for a workout, the better you will perform.

Believing

More than just seeing the muscles being worked in your mind, you have to believe in your ability to complete the exercise. Beginning a new training routine is commonly accompanied by some degree of doubt. The key is controlling that doubt and not allowing it to get in your way of receiving the full benefits of that routine. It is a process that starts before you start the work out. Condition your mind to think positively about what you will do. Set reasonable goals and break through all mental barriers impeding you from attaining them. Now you are ready to work out.

Music

Music can be a great way to enhance workouts because of the effect it has on your mind. Listening to certain songs will change your mood, inspire you, and even raise your performance level. The right soundtrack for your workout will make you try harder and use full potential. Since musical preferences vary, it is up to you to determine what works with your mind the best.

In general, movie scores are very motivating. If you are really challenging your body, a faster paced style of music is recommended. With relaxation exercise techniques, such as yoga, a calmer approach is needed. Classical music is often used to soothe the mind and body. Aerobics classes enjoy the beats associated with pop music to encourage constant movement and proper timing.

In addition to the psychological effects of music, it has a healing effect as well. The Medical Center at the Harvard Medical School conducted research on the therapeutic response music causes in various human conditions. This is especially helpful during the warm-up, cool-down, and recovery part of a workout.

Failure

Whenever goals are introduced, the biggest roadblock can be the fear of failure. People are so afraid to fail that it stops them from succeeding. Using the mind to enhance workouts is about addressing the fear by changing the way you view the idea of failing. The only way to truly realize a goal is to do whatever it takes; including failing if necessary.

Failure is only an obstacle that needs to be overcome on the way to success. Repeat that phrase over and over again as you mentally prepare for a challenge. When you fail, you have just grown and become stronger. Each failure brings you closer to success; closer to the goal you are striving for. So set your mind and go for it.

written by Jason Cannata

October 24, 2009.

Resources

http://www.healthylivingnyc.com/article/151

References

http://www.fit-2gether.com/post/2009/04/02/Use-music-to-motivate-and-enhance-your-workout.aspx - Fit-2gether

http://www.shapefit.com/mind-muscle-connection.html - ShapeFit




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