Mind power is a tremendous weapon for someone who wants to achieve their best. I am not talking only about bodybuilding. Look at any other successfull player/coach/business man, etc. Always the best people in each field, had a very strong mind, and a will to "succeed"!
For those who have read some history, they are familiar with many wars which finished with the "weaker" side easily defeating the better side. Haven't you ever heard of battles in history where 5-to-10 thousand people were able to beat an opponent which was 10 or even 20 times bigger? How do you think they did that?
Maybe they wanted to win more badly than their opponents? You bet they did! Also ancient Greeks used to say: "Healthy mind in a healthy body," and they could not be more right. A healthy mind always determines how healthy your body can be. In a few words, your body is dependant on your mind.
No matter how badly you want to get a strong and nice body, if your mind does not give the appropriate "messages" you are condemned to lose!
Of course we won't talk today about what you should do if you have to go to the army and fight, but if you look at it from one perspective, isn't the gym, (and consequently the iron that you have to lift every time you go there) your strongest opponent?
Don't you always feel very satisfied when you have made a new record and you have lifted more weight or when you have done more reps in some exercise? And the opposite! Don't you feel frustrated when you cannot lift as much as you could the last time that you hit the gym?
What factors make a bodybuilder be the best he can be? What does your mind have to do with these factors? As I have said also in my previous articles, your success in order to be as good as genetically possible, is depending on 4 factors.
a) Your training,
b) Your dieting,
c) Your recuperation and
d) Your supplementation.
In order to do your best in all these 4 important areas, you have to use your mind power. Let's analyze each one of them and see how you can help yourself.
l was fortunate enough to talk with Mike Matarazzo a few months ago. (lFFB Pro and one of the best bodybuilders in the whole world). One of my questions was what he believes about mind power and how important it is for a bodybuilder to count on it. Do you want to read the answer he gave me?
"For me mind power is the most important thing John. When I enter the gym, it's like a switch on a red light, and it does not close till I finish my workout. No one can disturb me at this time".
Do you want one more example from another person that many people believed was the best bodybuilder ever?
Dorian Yates had an attitude of "balls-to-the-wall." No one could work out harder than him. Even now, 3 years after his retirement, if you ask some bodybuilder what's the right way to train, he will tell you to watch a video tape of Dorian Yates training.
In order to have very productive workouts you have to "free your mind" as he did, from anything else that might bother you, and to stay 101% focused on your training. So for these two people the gym is their opponent. The iron bars and the dumbbells are their enemies.
You want to be the best you can? Just train like them. (Hey I don't mean of course to do endless sets, or to lift as many pounds as they did. Don't forget I am talking only about mind power!)
So as you understand, when you go to train, it means you are going to TRAIN. If you want the best results, you have to have the best training possible. I have seen many guys in my gym talking, having fun and generally doing everything else except training hard. I have also seen many times, guys talking even during their sets!
And when they ask me why they can not lift heavier pounds I ask them: "How can you do that if you are not concentrated and the only thing you care about is having fun and talking with your friends all the time, or when you try to talk with the "brand new" girl that just came into the gym?"
I have said it many times. You can talk with your friends as much as you can during the day, and you can peer at any girl (or guy) that you want, but not when you are in the gym! Leave one hour per day for which you can be totally focused on what you must do.
You have 23 hours per day to do anything else, but this "precious" hour at the gym, don't blow everything. Don't make one more workout "unproductive," and then blame anyone else but you for your fault!
Sorry guys, but either you will go to your local gym for "public relations" (and if this is the reason you go to train, you don't have to read any more of this article), or you go in order to get a great body. You cannot do both of them at the same time. It's one or the other. Period!
To prevent that now, it's really easy. All you have to do is to have a simple workout plan. Just think 1 hour before you hit the gym that: "Today I will do my best to have a very good workout. No one will disturb me when I will do my sets.
I will visualize myself having a great body when I lift the weights, and I will lift with as good of form as possible. I will stay totally concentrated BEFORE and DURING my set. NOTHING will destroy my concentration this hour!" It sounds easy friends, but believe me, words are easy and action is difficult.
l have said exactly the same things to guys that want my advice in my gym, but very few of them can apply it. lf you want to praise yourself after every workout you did, the only thing you have to do is just remember these few lines.
I would like to say one last thing. I don't mean that every time you go to gym you have to act like a "caveman" and have the other guys say: "Hey the anti-social guy is here again." There is a big difference between this and your training.
You can say of course "hi" to your friends BEFORE you start pumping some serious iron, and during your first 5 minutes of stretching or cardio time, or to talk with them for few minutes AFTER you have finished your training, but that's all! The point is to stay concentrated this crucial hour that you train.
Finally, remember one very good example that will make you think more about how important the right concentration is when you train. When you are working at your job and your boss has told you to do some task and he wants it done within 1 hour.
Or for people who are still in high school or university, and your teacher/professor has given you an exam that you should have done within 1 hour, when would you have the best results in both cases? Will you be able to stay completely focused on what you do for that hour when people interupt you all the time and won't let you stay focused? Got it?
So the choice is yours!
Another one tough thing for your mind is to stay consistent on your bodybuilding diet.
Believe me, I know maybe better than anyone else how hard it is to keep a strict schedule for your food, how hard it is to eat almost the same foods again and again, and even more difficult, how hard it is when some friend calls you and tells you to go out for fun but you can not do that because you have to eat every 2-3 hours and you can not afford some spare time and also you don't want some extra alcohol to ruin your diet.
No one said bodybuilding is an easy sport. But that's what makes you different from all the others.
It's what I used to learn in my Economics course, "The Opportunity Cost." You want to get something, but in order to get it, you have to sacrifice something else. (Remember my example that you cannot do everything at the same time?) I doubt if for every 100 people there is only one person who has a good and muscular body.
That person has sacrificed his taste habits along with many other things, in order to get a noticable body. No one can get a wide back, big arms, broad shoulders, strong legs, and 6-pack abs by eating junk food all the time.
Of course I have talked many times about how important it is to have one totally junk food day per week.
The only way to stay motivated and focused on your dieting, is to know that every Friday or Saturday or Sunday, you will have a great day, by eating nice chocolate Dunkin donuts for breakfast, a tasty Domino's pizza for lunch, a delicious cheeseburger from Burger King for dinner, and finally a nice Mars bar before you sleep, and also to have lots of fun with your friends all day. (You can drink some alcohol of course if you want, but don't overdo it!)
Just give a promise to yourselves that you will do your best in order to eat your 5-6 nutritional meals every day at the right times, for 6 days per week, and praise yourself with any food that you like on your 7th.
lf you start doing that on a consistant basis, then your mind also will learn to wait until your junk day. After some point, even if you will have the desire to eat something junk, you will get a "signal" from your brain that will say: "Hey, wait a few more days and you can eat whatever you want!"
Ok it needs some time to reach that level, but if you have the desire to do what is right, you will succeed for sure!
Now we will talk about something that is also equally important to the previous two. lf you don't recuperate appropriately, your mind power will never be strong enough to tell you what you should do. I will give you a small example.
When you have to study all day and all night for countless hours for your final exam or when your boss has given you a hard plan to design and you have to work on it until very late at night, how do you feel the next day since you have not slept good? Do you feel good like the days when you have slept very nice, or not?
Can your brain "absorb" the same kind of information when you have slept for at least 7-8 non-stop hours or when you have slept for much less? Do you feel more focused when you sleep for only a few hours, or when you are sleeping for more? Can you listen carefully and understand everything that someone else is telling you?
Or do you seem unable to concentrate on the topic, you act strange, and finally they ask you: "Hey what's wrong with you today? You seem very absent-minded!" And absent-minded also means it is easy to forget things. (i.e. when you have to eat, and when you have to take your supplements).
Don't say anymore: "Oops, I forgot to eat again. One more skipped meal for this week!" Or "Hmmm I think I forgot to take my multivitamin formula again, and my whey/creatine/glutamine powder! Why on earth can't I remember?" (Typical situation that happens often, and usually it seems that it happens when you have not slept good)!
Recuperation is maybe the most important factor for your mind, friends. Everything starts from resting right. Your brain can function only if your body has recuperated adequately. I am sure that you have observed also for yourselves when you go to train and you have slept for only few hours.
Even if sometimes you might manage to have a good workout, was it as good as the times you went and you trained like a warrior? No way! lt does not matter if you took the next miracle "Make me Mr. Olympia" supplement, or if you eat 10 perfect nutritional meals every day.
lf you don't sleep right you will lack something major. Very good recuperation, also means a healthy mind. Healthy mind means that you can stay focused for most of the day.
And staying focused means that you can schedule good workouts, good dieting and good supplementation program.
I will finish this article by talking about supplementation. Many of you might wonder now: "Hey John, OK, we understand the importance of mind power in exercising nutrition and recuperation, but what does mind power have to do with supplementation?"
Well, do you know that there are some good mind (and memory) enhancers on the supplement market? They can really help you stay focused with your diet and training, as well as help you to sleep better.
In my next week's article, I will talk more about these supplements and what they can do for you, as well as I will analyze some good ways to make you use one of your most powerful weapons more. The mind. Stay tuned!
Take care all,