We all know the story about the ‘Little Engine that Could.’ Although this is more a demonstration of positive affirmations, if we close our eyes and see how the story would unfold in our minds, we exchange those affirmations for mental visualization.
The power of suggestion may have an incredible impact on how we think and see ourselves. This is noteworthy: while a friend states that we are looking poorly and not well, we react by actually feeling unwell and withdraw, believing that we are NOT looking or feeling our best. As a result we may take the day off work or simply not perform at our peak level. On the other side of the pendulum, we can all identify with those great feelings when that same friend instead states how wonderful we look, or how we are “glowing” this morning, is that a new blouse…did you do something different to your hair… Instantly we tend to perk-up, shoulders back, stick out our chest, hold our head a little bit higher and feel that boost of self-confidence and happiness of recognition.
These are two opposing examples of how much weight we place on what our minds perceive to be the truth. Whether encountering difficult or challenging circumstances, the way we think molds our response, hence our physical and emotional state is affected.
While undertaking a regime of personal training, we are committed to reach and become successful with our personal goals. The self-talk that happens in our mind can support us and help us to succeed or lose heart and interest in the belief that our goal is attainable.
Let’s look at a simple example of how our mind may help or hinder our performance. Take two men: identical in weight, age, height and body composition. We ask each man to skip rope for five minutes. We will call man “A” Bob and man “B” Bill.
Bob and Bill begin at the same time….they both begin to huff and puff, heart rates increase and perspiration begins to form droplets on their brows. Bob, upon feeling out of breath starts to complain that he can’t breathe; he doesn’t want to exert himself. Bill on the other hand feels the same physical response and begins to feel invigorated and great knowing he is doing something to improve his cardiovascular capacity and blood flow. As the two become more active and keep up the pace, Bob begins to see himself as sweaty, smelly and does not see the benefit of running out of breath and doing this “stupid” exercise. He begins to slow down, and finds it harder to stay in rhythm and feels absolutely miserable….he is seeing himself sitting on the couch, having a beer and watching the ball game. Bill is loving the endorphin rush and is grateful that he is on his way to losing some of those pounds he put on over the holidays…he sees himself trimmed down and asking out that girl from work, confidently as he knows he is looking his best! Bob just wants to go home and says he is not finishing and gives up, having not allowed for himself to feel the benefit of endorphin release which would boost his moral and encourage him to keep it up.
Two men of completely different mind-sets both capable of achieving a healthier life-style and the only difference in Bob and Bill is their perspective and how they see themselves mentally.
Hiring a personal trainer to motivate and encourage us helps to create and maintain a positive and healthy perspective on how we can achieve our personal goals. A worthy personal trainer will help Bob to stop his destructive thinking and create a new image in his mind. Bill will be motivated to continue his routine and continually challenged to better himself and increase the difficulty of his workout. Bob will need to have a personal trainer that understands how to clear his mind of negative imagery and replace it with positive visualizations of himself being fit, trim and happy. Once this picture is established clearly in his mind, the workout becomes secondary as he feels he has already accomplished his goal and is focusing on the end result….this is supported by the endorphin release as he starts to “feel” good! As a result Bob will continue with his personal training and within a very short period of time, see physical changes that further motivate him to stick with his routine.
Mental visualization is used by some of the most famous Olympic athletes. As we all know, the game of golf is 90% mental and 10% physical. We have personally found that by practicing the power of mental visualization within the realm of personal training, our clients have not just reached, but exponentially far-surpassed their initial goals.
When we give our focus to not just establishing, but maintaining this imagery, our bodies cannot perceive as to whether we are actually physically performing the exercise or not. The brain fires off signals to those body parts that we are concentrating on and our muscles respond in much the same way as if we actually performing the task. Likewise the picture we create and hold firm in our minds of ourselves lean and strong come to manifest in a very real and physical way. Utilizing the power of the mind is where the best personal training begins, from the moment we commit to becoming healthier to seeing tangible results.
Try this at home and see what kind of results you get. Picture yourself having an awesome day and see how much better if will unfold for you. When this fleeting thought has a positive impact on the outcome of your day, just imagine how powerful a change you will experience when a supportive personal trainer can help you change through consistent and professional visualization techniques created especially for you and your intimate goals.
Yes my friends, mental visualization does make a noteworthy difference not just with personal training, but in every aspect of our life.
The proof is in the pudding.