The Missing Link: Mental Fitness
Your fitness journey should be every bit spiritual and mental as it is physical. - G.M.
In this post we will talk about what I believe is missing from most workout programs and other fitness advice books: the mental aspect of your fitness goals. Weights, cardio, and nutrition will only get you so far if there are emotions, habits, or feelings holding you back from your true potential.
The tools to reach all of your fitness goals are out there. So why is it that so many people are having a hard time reaching their goals? Let’s discover the missing link and a take a leap forward toward changing your life forever.
What is Mental Training?
Mental training is a core function of success in your fitness journey and in your life. It can be one of the most important tools you have. Mental training requires you to dig deep into yourself to understand why you have certain behaviors. Look at what core emotional issues may be holding you back, focus on improving those mental obstacles, and consciously work to replace negative behaviors with those that help you reach your goals.
If you do the work required—although I know that it can be quite difficult to sift through the basis of negative emotions—you can become not only more fit but see your life change for the better permanently.
Set your mind to support your goals. Change what you tell yourself about behaviors or desires that sabotage your efforts to be healthy. For example, replace the thought of, “I love candy” with “I love feeling healthy and invigorated.”
Start to become very conscious of your inner monologue, the way you talk to yourself and the things you say. Find positive mantras that support your goals to replace negative self-talk.
Some of the best athletes, actors, moms and most successful people in the world are successful because they have discovered this missing link. They have trained themselves to believe in their goals and to work as hard as they can and dedicate their life to being the best at what they do.
Like these people, strive to bring your best self each and every day. Understand that there will be setbacks, failures, and mental challenges, but you will persevere and come out on top.
It could be, though, that you have some serious issues to grapple with or that you are in such a mental rut with negativity that you need to seek out a counselor, psychologist, or psychiatrist to help you work through the process. Don’t be afraid to do so. If you really want to become healthy, the mental aspect is crucial.
Form is everything when it comes to weight training. The better and more strict you keep your form the more results you will get.
When you do the lifts that you are trying to accomplish, you should feel it only in the muscle group you are training.
If you are feeling it in other muscle groups that you are not intending to train, then you should consider cleaning your form up or doing less weight.
Most of the time people do the incorrect form because they are trying to lift too much and are so focused on the weights they are using that they throw everything out the door when it comes to quality reps.
There is no such thing as the perfect technique or the perfect workout plan except the workout plan that works best for you!
Don’t get too caught up on why a certain plan that may work for someone else perfectly does not work for you. Every person has a different body type and will react to different strategies and techniques.
What one person eats may help them gain muscle while it may cause you to gain fat and that is ok as long as you are paying attention to how your body is reacting.
You will want to make sure that you are testing what is working and what is not working. Don’t overcomplicate things when it comes to your fitness results because at the end of the day fitness should be adding value to your life and be something that you have a positive association with.
Don’t train yourself to hate nutrition or exercise because you are being too strict or hard on yourself because you didn’t do everything perfect. No one is perfect including personal trainers and fitness models that you see in magazines and tv.
Your mindset will make or break your results if you are not careful and pay attention to what you are saying and how you are training your mind to associate things.
An example would be, how most people think about “eating healthy”, they automatically think of restriction and starvation. They think about all of the foods that they enjoy eating and how they will NEVER be able to eat those foods again and have “fun”.
The major pitfall with this mindset is you are training your mind to think that eating healthy is bad and, that will cause you to avoid making the necessary changes or even worse, make you hate every second of your program until you get frustrated and quit and then the guilt comes on.
So use the fundamentals of exercise and nutrition but don’t get too stuck on one certain ”correct” way and test what works best for your body.
The best exercises to do if you are looking for weight loss is going to be exercises that activate as many muscle groups as possible.
Some examples may be squats, deadlifts, jumps, burpees, barbell row, pull ups, bench press, etc.
What these exercises have in common is they are not machines and they incorporate more muscle groups than if you were to use an isolation machine.
When you do these exercises you will notice that your heart rate will increase and your breathing will become much deeper. This is a good sign as it is telling your body that it is challenging.
Challenging means that you are pushing your body outside of it’s comfort zone. Being outside of your comfort zone is where all of the benefits are.
There are a few factors that you will want to pay attention to when you are doing the exercises and they are
-keeping core tight as you do the exercises
-breathing in and out smoothly
-keeping your body in a straight line so the spine and joints are not in awkward positions
-paying extremely close attention to form
-every week trying to add 5 pounds more than you did the last week
If these exercises are new to you I suggest practicing them with really light weight until your form is correct and consistent because this will help you to not injure yourself.
Good luck and always make sure to push yourself. Fitness is a state of mind.