Let Your Brain Be Your Guide To Fitness

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Published: 08th November 2012
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Let’s look at four ways you can use your brain to help you become successful with your training program. Fatigue might feel as if it begins in your body. You know the signs; aching muscles, waning strength etc. Research suggests that your mind plays a key role in combating these situations. Kevin Thompson, head of sport studies at the University of Canberra, Australia has found that your brain sets the pace so your body does not run out of energy. It also keeps energy in reserve. How can we tap into this for greater performance and better results?

I Think I Can, I Think I Can!

Just like the little engine that could, visualizing athletic success boosts mental toughness, according to a Journal of Applied Sport Psychology study reports. That can be the key of performance. “Imaging a situation reinforces the came neural pathways as executing the behaviour”, says study author Krista Chandler of the University of Windsor. “When you then attempt the task, your body feels as if you’ve already done it”. Try this: when you hit a strength or aerobic plateau, take 10 minutes to picture yourself conquering a heavier lift or a faster run.

Avoid Doubt, Stay Positive

Self-doubt can be a powerful saboteur. All you need to do is change your mental dialogue. “Positive self-talk reinforces your confidence and boosts your energy so you won’t quit when you feel tired or challenged”, says Nick Galli, and assistant professor of sport psychology at California State University at Northridge. Science agrees: A recent meta-analysis by Greek researchers found that positive affirmations can boost performance. So, how can this work for you? Repeat phrases like “I feel good” or “I’m swift and strong” as you workout.

Keep Your Mind Clear and Positive

Too much stress can get in the way of a good workout, according to a new study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology. The reason: it commandeers areas of your mind in charge of attention; areas that would otherwise be used to support the mind-muscle connection says study author Michael Agnew. The less you worry, the more benefit you will real from your workouts. Here is a positive way to keep your mind on your side. Count to four as you inhale; then hold your breath for 4 seconds as you refocus on your training. Exhale slowly. Repeat this process at least twice, more if necessary.

You’ve Got to Have Rhythm

Scientists have long known that music can boost athletic performance. According to new British research, the key is to listen to music that you find motivating! “The music distracts you from your effort, allowing you to train harder and for a longer time”, says Edmund Acevedo, a professor of health and human performance at Virginia Commonwealth University. To get into the rhythmic mood, create your own workout mix instead of downloading a generic play-list or listening to your gym’s piped-in music. If you like what you are listening to, you are more likely to increase your performance and in turn your results.

These are just a few ways you can improve you training results. Given time you may come up with some of your own motivational habits. The key is to find ways to intensify your workouts to get better results, quicker and more effectively. Staying motivated is key; being able to increase your time or strength is necessary if you want to stay in the groove. One of the main reasons people quit is their inability to increase their workouts and get the results they want. Following just these four methods should prevent any thoughts of failure.

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