The Mind-Body Connection
The mind-body (aka mind-muscle) connection is something that can take your training to another level. There is “working out” and then there is “working out”! I consider the mind-body connection one of the most important aspects of training. Ignoring it can be just about the same as not working out at all. People ask how I get such great results from doing ONLY home workouts, often with no equipment at all. The answer lies all in this mind-body (muscle) connection.
This newer visited and spoken about concept about the mind/body connection is something worth looking into and taking seriously! What your mind thinks and believes determines your future, your limitations and your potential. These terms are common among disciplines such as yoga or martial arts but they need to be taken to other areas of fitness. Seeing the mind as separate from your body can be very detrimental to your success. When you start to see them as one, you will accelerate your success and get so much more out of your workouts.
You simply cannot achieve success without having a strong mindset, which can then translate to better workouts, attention to detail and in turn greater success. If you have been going to the gym to work only your physical self and not getting the results you want, you need to consider going to the gym to train both your physical and mental self by using the concept of the mind-body connection. If your mind isn’t in the zone, your body wont deliver the same results.
Your muscles respond to the signals received from your mind or your brain. If you are not stimulating your mind, how can you muscles receive the necessary information to perform? If there are distractions or a lack of connection in this mind muscle connection, you aren’t getting the most out of your workouts. If you go to the gym to train your muscles but are not mentally prepared to train them, you aren’t training them the same as when you are in the right mindset. Your muscle fibers simply cannot receive the right messages to develop your muscles efficiently. This is what I call “going through the motions”. When you are literally just physically moving your muscles during an exercise, this is all physical. When you actually put your mind in your muscle and think about what you are doing, what you are working, how your muscles fibers are firing, that is the mind muscle connection that will take your training and your body to the next level.
Every workout is about getting the job done efficiently and this is training yourself to dig into your mind and stimulate this connection from mind to body. It is about learning this technique and teaching your mind to work your muscles. It is easy to think of working out as only physical but in reality it is a very mental exercise, almost more mental than physical. Mental discipline takes work and practice! Learning this fine discipline will optimize your workouts and allow you to take your body to another level.
5 ways to develop this mind-muscle connection:
1. Lose the distractions. Chatting between sets or thinking about what you have to do after your workout are things that can take your mind out of your training zone and in essence cause you to have only a physical workout. You have to focus on what you are doing and be in the moment. When you feel your mind wandering, stop what you are doing and take a few breaths to put yourself back into what it is you are doing.
2. Be one with the Muscle. Whatever muscle you are working, put your mind there and think about it working. Picture yourself in the muscle and how it fires off and how it is developing. I guarantee you will have to decrease the weight when you do this. Digging into your mind causes your workouts to be much more efficient and therefore less weight is needed. Hence my G-Fit workouts of the day which require very limited weight and often no equipment. I focus more on the mind-body connection than I do the amount of weight being lifted.
3. Yoga. Yoga is an excellent way to develop this mind muscle connection through movement and meditation. The practice of yoga forces you to dig into your mind and be present. Heated yoga is even a more advanced variation that will take this mind body connection to another level. It is hard to hold a balancing posture when your mind isn’t 100% fully focused on the present moment.
4. Music. Music is everything. Find the kind of music that puts you into the zone and focus. Whatever type of music that is use it to help you connect with your mind and be present in what you are doing.
5. Mind-Food. Just like your body physically needs food for survival, our minds need “food” to positively fuel our workouts and daily activities. Mind-Food comes in the form of thoughts. Feed your mind with positive thoughts and affirmations to keep you in a great place and thriving on positive energy. Every day, start by feeding your mind before you feed your body. A little bit of mind food, or what I also like to call “soul food”, can go a long way. A simple positive thought in the morning will help you develop a stronger mind- muscle connection that will overflow into more efficient workouts.
I hope this helps you take your training to the next level. It is all about your mindset! Go into your workouts with the right mindset and focus and watch your body transform.