The Often Overlooked Fitness Principle
- Aug 2, 2018
My coaches always used to say “visualize doing X” it could be making a tackle, shooting a shot, moving to position, etc. I always thought it was BS but now I realize that the mind and the body share a synergy that cannot be denied.
I’ve seen so many people fail before they start because they never actually visualized themselves at a certain fit point, weight or body image.
Visualization is what happens when we put ourselves into places and situations using only our imagination. We re-enact the physical world as a mental image and play that over and over in our minds.
Studies have shown that mentally performing the actions involved in different sports made people play better. By visualizing ourselves overcoming certain problems or obstacles, we become more prepared to deal with the real thing. The changes that occur in the brain when we mentally practice an action change the brain in the same way as actually performing the action.
So it looks like this act of visualizing is as close to the real thing as can be without actually moving.
Your mind is the catalyst for change. Studies show that when people were immobilized for a length of time, those that visualized using their restricted limbs retained their strength as opposed to the loss faced by those who did not.
You can actually visualize yourself getting through training plateaus and overcoming psychological setbacks. It’s winning the battle before it ever takes place physically.
Some of the most successful people from all traits of life commonly use visualization as a way to rehearse their event or sporting activity before actually going through it. Through visualization they are able to anticipate things that may go wrong or areas that may be difficult and see themselves getting through them
1. Stay Above the Noise
Happiness is not only a result of personal success, it’s a precursor. If we’re weighed down by negative people, comments, social media comparisons and the like, we become more likely to dip out when difficult experiences and obstacles challenge us.
“Staying above the noise” keeps our minds open and focused on our mental goals.
It’s really amazing to read the studies that prove the power of the mind Distractions can emerge quickly especially now that our minds are trained to take on new tasks or chase new dopamine feelings every 10 minutes. Usually it’s not a huge problem, you don’t need too much attention when you brush your teeth, take shower, eat, or even drive. But we all know that it can happen at times that are problematic: in a test, at work, in the middle of a conversation or even when you want to sleep.
Many people turn to meditation to help calm a flurry of thoughts — it works, and improves your focus beyond the act of meditating. It’s not necessary however, any repeated attempt to direct your focus will improve it, like any other muscle. The more you practice trying to maintain your visualization all the way through, the easier and more effective it’ll become.
3. Determine to Go 100% and Think Legacy
I was sitting in my dorm room 6 months after making the hard decision to stop playing college football. At the time, my roommate and I had considered taking up another sport to release some of our competitive drive that wasn’t so focused on full contact and brutal practice hours. We were exploring forming the school’s first lacrosse team and after 2 weeks of considering it he asked me point blank, “How serious are you about doing this?”
It would just be us starting from scratch, appealing to the university, recruiting a team of players, finding a coach, setting up practices, designing and getting uniforms and more. I looked right at him and said “100%”. From that moment we formed the school first lacrosse team, won our first game and left a program in place that continued to grow after we graduated.
It was a ton of work but I saw what it could be. A legacy. Your health now and what you pass down to the next generation is a legacy. Don’t ever take your fitness lightly. It’s your one and only life and it really doesn’t take much to live well. Mentally win and the body will follow.