Even though it was just last week that I found myself talking about the mind, I feel compelled to talk about it again. Which is representative of the fact that I talk about the mind and in particular mindset most days.
I don't think it is possible to overestimate just how big a part mindset can play in our day-to-day lives.
The words that we say to ourselves and to one another can be so powerful in a positive or negative way that we should all practice. Practice speaking with kindness and positivity not only to those around us but to ourselves.
The power of words is linked so closely to how we live our lives and performance. For example, if I set an exercise up and have put more weight on the bar, sometimes people will say "I can't do it". At this point, the set will be delayed because, if you start by saying to yourself that you can't do something you are dramatically reducing your chances of doing it. Of course there are exceptions to this rule but it can have a massive impact on performance and success. Trying something with the belief that you can do it is an extremely powerful, give it a go and see what happens.
I'm sure we have all seen rugby players like Jonny Wilkinson and Colin Farrell, getting ready to kick the ball at goal. They look from the ball, to where they want it to go, they use visualisation techniques and they see themselves scoring. Seeing yourself achieve something is very powerful, as is seeing yourself not be able to do something.
Don't let it stop you.
If you believe that you can't do something, how often do you attempt to do those things? Not often I'm betting, because the mind will protect you from things that it considers not safe, such as doing something "you can't do". So if you are trying to do something, start out by saying to yourself that you can, even if you don't truly know you can yet.
It would be great for you can try and add more positivity into your daily activities and workouts and see if you notice any difference in the outcomes.
Start every day by saying "today is going to be a great day!" Making such a positive affirmation to begin your day will increase your likelihood of having one.
Have a wonderful day!
This week I want to talk to you about mind-muscle connection. It is a subject that I talk to people about a lot and I thought it would be great to simply share with you all what it is and how it can help you and your training.
I will look at what it is and give you some examples to help you quantify it.
Mind muscle connection can help you understand form and technique and is also a great way of increasing intensity of training. Having a basic understanding of it will hopefully help you benefit from using it.
One way of describing what the mind muscle connection is: a conscious, deliberate muscle contraction when you are focusing on the tension created whilst performing an exercise on a specific muscle or muscle group. The brain releases a chemical neurotransmitter called acetylcholine to communicate with the muscles in the body. The connection takes place at the neuromuscular junction, crossing the synapses, binding with receptors on the surface of the muscle fibres, leading to muscle contractions.
Improving communication can allow you to recruit more muscle fibres whilst performing exercises.
There are primary and secondary muscles involved with many exercises, there will be the main target muscle but secondary muscles may help a movement be performed. It is useful to do a combination of compound and isolation exercises for this reason. If you know which muscles that you are trying to work or primarily focus on, you can concentrate on that area whilst you are performing a movement.
This can also be useful in checking form, if you are struggling to feel the muscles that you are targeting whilst performing an exercise it may be because your body is compensating in some way. This is a great opportunity to either double check your own form or get someone else to take a look at it for you.
Focusing on quality of movement and contraction can help you make progress with training. Really testing this out may mean lowering the weights you are using, if they are too heavy you may struggle to focus on controlling and squeezing the muscle in comparison, making the weight a little lighter may allow you to create the connection we are talking about.
An example of how people find it easy to get to grips with is when there are imbalances. One side is stronger than the other and one side is easier to control than the other. Your leading side is usually far easier to control than the other, this is because the pathways from your brain to the muscles is far stronger. If you then focus your energy on the weaker side you can often find a little more than it naturally wants to give. It is also easier for your "stronger" side to keep going a little longer without any focus because communication is so stronger.
Hopefully this has given you an idea about what is meant by mind-muscle connection. If you have any questions please do get in touch, I'd love to answer any questions you may have.
During this blog I am going to discuss the best place or places for you to workout.
I guess some of the big questions here are: Where should you workout?
Where will you get the best results?
Where do you need to workout?
Places You Can Workout:
Factors to take into account:
Where and what you have available to you.
This is something that you may or may not have control over, what you have available to you now may be the only option that you have. Or you may be able to change what is available to you, for example you may be able to get a gym membership, personal training, go to a class or buy some exercise equipment. This does not matter necessarily, as you can workout with no equipment, at home or outside. Or you can go to a specific location as mentioned before. If you want to move more, for fitness and/or strength you will be able to make any of those locations work. You just need to utilise what you have available to you.
Where you are most likely to workout.
It is also important to consider what is currently appealing to you. For some the idea of going to a gym or exercise class fills them with dread. It may not be the best place to start. Looking at how you can increase you fitness, strength and confidence may be more easily achieve at home. Some people prefer a class environment or at least working out with someone else. For many this accountability takes the pressure off themselves and also gives some responsibility for their friend whom they would not want to let down and are therefore more likely to partake in the planned exercise regime.
For others the joy in exercise is the opportunity for solitude, some quiet time to themselves where they can immerse themselves in the activity at hand.
There is no right answer, again, it's about what works for you, is appealing and makes you carry out the planned movement.
What your goals are.
The nature of your goal can play a big part in which place is the best for you to workout. For certain goals there may be some prerequisites that mean at least at some stage you will need to be in a particular environment.
If you have a simple overall goal of moving more, there are few limits to this, it really can be done anywhere at anytime. You just need to start!
If you want to take part in some form of body building via lifting weights, you will need either access to a gym or you could get the appropriate equipment to be able to do that style of training at home. Equipment rather than location is more important, although you may find it easier to do it in a fully equip gym.
Group environments are fairly easy to find, within gym memberships, classes at local halls in the heart of the community. It could also be as simple as meeting up with a friend in the park or going for a walk.
Think about the equipment you need for the goal and establish which way you can best access it, this may or may not be dependent on a location.
So The Best Place To Workout Is...
The truth is, there is not the BEST place to workout, but the place that you are most likely to go to, most likely to carry out the exercise and is most suitable for the goals that you have.
This may be the gym, outside, a class, personal training, or at home or a mixture of several at different times of year.
What is your best workout location/environment?
Has it changed over time?
I started my journey by joining a small independent gym but how I exercise as evolved over the years and can change depending on goals and desires at the time. I enjoy different places for different things and I think it is great to experiment and try new places. Some you may like, some you may not, others you may come back to at a later date, it can even be dependent on the weather and time of year!
I'd love to hear your favourite places to workout (and have they changed!?)
Until the next time...
I know I talk about habits a lot. It's because I know how important it is to achieving long lasting change. I know that I refer often to this so wanted to go into a bit more detail. Although this of course applies to every single aspect of life, I will mostly only refer to health related habits within this blog post.
What is a habit?
A routine or practice performed regularly; an automatic response to a situation.
Examples of habits:
How you can create a new habit
Simplicity will always win. Keep it simple and it will be easy to do. Keep it simple and you will find it easy to be disciplined and complete it, regularly and it become a habit. If it's easy to do it won't take much motivation, obstacles in the way will make it harder to carry out, thus making it less likely that you will.
It should be easy and obvious to do and satisfying once done to create and build a new habit. If you are trying to break an old habit you no longer want you need to make it difficult, remove your cues, make it unsatisfying so it is harder to do it and you don't want the results of what doing it means for you.
Think about the habits you want and the habits you want to remove and implement that simple idea.
Keep it simple.
Vicki is a Personal Trainer, and Online Coach with the aim of helping others achieve their health and fitness goals via training and habit building for a healthier lifestyle, for life.