I choose what I will become. I will drown out the doubt and insecurities.
I’m not sure if you have noticed that some of my posts deal not so much with technique, mechanics, working out, etc. but also with our attitudes towards working out. To me being a personal trainer is more than just the mechanics of a workout, or the technique. A personal trainer should also be someone who can motivate you, and can help you achieve your goals by opening as many doors as possible.
What else is there
How we look at working out, and how we look at ourselves, or perceive may be a better word, when working out can have a large influence on how we perform and achieving our goals.
Before I go any further let me make something clear. Don’t worry, there won’t be a link at the end of this article asking you to spend $19.99 on my latest motivational DVD. That wouldn’t be possible as I don’t have a DVD to sell you. There are a ton of motivational DVD’s available, and I’m not going to name any of them. I’m sure you can do that yourself. If you have purchased a motivational DVD and you feel it has helped you then great!
What I do want to talk about is your state of mind when you work out be it individually, in a group, or in a sport like activity. How you approach your workout I feel will have a direct impact as to how your workout goes. I know. All I have to do is look at my own workouts as evidence. There’s been workouts where I have just had a really defeating day and I go into the workout with this on my mind. When this happens I usually have a bad workout. I don’t have any focus, my mind is elsewhere and my workout suffers. Actually I suffer because of this. Other days where things are on an even keel, or things go extraordinarily well, my workout is amazing. Usually I perform better than usual and I end up leaving feeling great.
Can you relate? I’m thinking you can as we have all been there. Simply put, it’s the difference between dragging your ass to the workout, and showing up ready to go.
It’s easy to throw around quotes from famous people and use those quotes as a way to motivate people. Sometimes it can come across as shallow, meaningless. Maybe the quote is shallow as it comes from someone who manufactured the quote to sell more books. Or, maybe the purpose of the quote was to help others achieve what they have achieved spiritually and having nothing to do with monetary gain. Does it matter? Maybe not. I guess it depends on the recipient of the quote. Do we ever truly understand the motivation behind the quote? Maybe, probably not.
Can it make a difference? I think it can. I do believe that your state of mind does influence your performance.
I want to use an experiment from back in the seventies that points to this in a sense. I’m referring to the Stanford Prison Experiment. The experiment conducted at Stanford University, funded by the military, used students from the university and assigned them the role of prison guard, or prisoner in a mock prison situated in the basement of the Stanford psychology building. The participants adapted to their roles well beyond anyone’s expectations. The experiment was abruptly stopped only after six days as the participants were carrying out their roles a little too well.
What can we take from this? In this example the students that were the prison guards became prison guards in every sense even though this was an experiment. They fulfilled what they felt the role demanded because someone said you are a prison guard. They weren’t trained to be a guard yet they acted the way they felt a prison guard should, oppressing the students playing the role of the prisoners. All this because in their mind they ‘believed’ that this was their role.
In my world, the world of Karate, or Martial Arts, there are lots of quotes. The interesting thing, to me, is most of these quotes are from times before self-promotion, multimillion dollar book deals, the internet. I’ll wrap up this post with a quote from someone who most consider to be the fiercest Samurai, Miyamoto Musashi: “You can only fight the way you practice”. Miyamoto Musashi, technically a Ronan (a Samurai without a master) was undefeated in over 60 fights. Keep in mind that this was during a time when fights ended in someone’s death. What does he mean by this saying? How does this apply to fitness? To me, it’s about putting everything into your workout. The practice, or the workout, should be executed with the intensity of a fight. If during your practice you are only putting in 50, 60, 70%, then when you need to perform, you will be unfamiliar with having to give everything you have. This quote doesn’t only apply to martial arts, it applies to how you approach your workout.
The mind is a powerful thing. It can work with us, or it can work against us. Use it as a motivator to get the most out of your time in the gym, dojo, pool, or wherever you exercise. And if there is a particular quote that gets you motivated, hold onto it for those times you need that motivation. I’m pretty sure your workout will be that much better. And when you finish that workout, tired, sweat dripping, feel good about what you just did. You have probably just pushed yourself to an uncomfortable place that many won’t go to.
Yours in health,