Train your brain for success.
Photo Credit: Ben Goldstein/Studio D
If you say, I will not suffer in the gym today, your mind will register the word suffer and do its best to create situations of suffering.
Instead, you can say, I am strong and capable of a kick-ass workout today.
You should never exercise intensely for more than two hours at a time. When you hear some buff celebrity talking about how he trained six hours a day to get ready for his latest action movie, hes talking a load of embellished bull that makes the ordinary person feel totally inferior and hopelessly inadequate. Given hectic shooting schedules, spending that much time working out would actually be counterproductive, as it would throw the body into a state of over-training and make it more prone to metabolize its own lean muscle tissue for energy.
Consistency is the single most important thing you can bring to the table to ensure that you get the results you want. If youre not consistent, you will always be playing catch-up, and you will at best make gradual progress rather than getting your body in gear and maximizing your success.
Junk thoughts drain your energy and interfere with weight loss (and nearly everything else). Focus your thinking with these five strategies:
1. Figure Out What You Want
Most people have no idea what theyre capable of, so they create goals that are so vaguelike I want to lose weightthat they dont know where to begin. I want to lose 5 pounds by next month so I can fit into last years ski pants and spend the money on a snowboarding lesson insteadthats a goal. Log yours weekly.
2. Figure Out Why You Havent Gotten What You Want Yet
To harness your power and get what you want, you need to take responsibility. Look at your choices and ask how they have brought you to where you arefor better or worse. Responsibility means not blaming anyone or anything (e.g., My job is making me fat) for your situation. And it means controlling your reactions to situations, people, and events in order to shape the best possible outcome. It is your choice whether or not you let someones criticism affect you. An exasperating meeting doesnt have to send you on an ice-cream binge. You didnt deserve the negativity, but you also dont deserve to let that keep you from your vision. Every day, acknowledge what your excuses are. Then stop using them.
3. Listen to What Youre Saying
Every fifth minute of your cardio workout, ask yourself whats going through your mind. Most people are constantly making judgments (e.g., Youll never finish all 30 minutes because you are too lazy/heavy/ate cake this afternoon) that they learned from parents, teachers, friends, or painful experiences. Theyre not all bad; these thoughts give you insight into the underlying issues that perpetuate your problems. But dont give in to them, or theyll sabotage you. Thoughts are things that possess the power to affect your behavior. If you think you cant do 30 minutes of cardio, youre probably right. The mental game during each workout is to catch yourself in a negative thought and replace it with something else, such as, This is making me stronger. Rehearsing this at the gym helps you power through the rest of the day as well.
4. Get Organized
This isnt about becoming neater; its about managing your energy. If youre disorganized, you cant take advantage of todays opportunities. So ask yourself what being disorganized is costing you in terms of achievement, work, health, and relationships. Think about what your clutter says about you. For example, your kitchen can be a reflection of whether or not you are giving proper attention to your own nourishment.
5. Quit Any Time
You can stop the workout or eat chocolate all day, but you wont get the benefits. So when youre pushing against a boundary and it feels really uncomfortablelike when youre not sure you can lift a weight one more time and the fear is making you weak you have a choice. Quit like you did the other times and stay where you are, or keep moving toward what you want . . . and get it.