Mens Sana In Corpore Sano - A Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body.
You can not differentiate between the mind and the body. The muscles of the body are the slaves of the brain. This becomes much more apparent once we are forced to concentrate on what we are doing.
Concentration. The most vital surrounding you will ever encounter. Let me explain the methods behind the madness. Concentration is an environment. It has no beginning and no end. It is an aura in which we can encapsulate ourselves to achieve the greatest accomplishment, or fail time and time again. In either case, concentration is the key ingredient that blends the mind and the body as one.
I remember when I was a newcomer to the gym and looked around at the big guys, with great physiques and masses of confidence, bursting out of every rippled muscle of their beings. I used to ask myself, how did they achieve this greatness? They may have been the average joe outside the gym, but as soon as they stepped through the doors, they became Gods, men of iron who would stop at nothing to achieve their ultimate goals. What did they have that I lacked? Could I ever become a person that others would admire in the same way I was admiring them and their achievements?
After a while, I realised I had no idea what I was doing with myself and my training. But how could I approach one of these monsters and ask for advice? They would surely laugh at me because I was a skinny little kid with no right to even be in the gym wasting their precious workout time!!!
After watching two guys in my gym bench pressing well over 200 KGs, I decided I had seen enough, and stumbled over to see what would come out of my mouth. What I achieved that day was something greater than anything I had experienced before. The desire was within me, now my desire had led me to seek advice and the benefit of others experience. Experience is priceless, wether good or bad, as it outlines a possibility and therefore increases awareness, whilst reducing ignorance in one hit! Imagine my surprise when the 2 giant men embraced me and even complimented me on my commitment to training!!!
It tuned out these two mammoth men were in fact power lifters, and even advised me against attempting any of their training, as it conflicted with my own goals, which at the time was bodybuilding. This small accomplishment gave me a lease of life, and allowed me the confidence to grow mentally, as well as physically. I started training sets of dips with my new found powerlifting friends, which to this day remain a staple source of muscle and strength building workouts!
Over the next few months, they would talk to me here and there of the value of concentration and how to achieve a high level of mind over matter.
Lets break it down so its easy to digest. What drives you to train your body? Is it the 6 pack you want to see? Is it the marathon you want to complete? Is it the staircase that leaves you out of breath? Or maybe the sport you just cant get enough of!? Whatever your fuel is, you must have a clear vision of it every step of the way.
When you wake up in the morning and its training day, imagine what your body is going to look like after your workout! When you eat breakfast visualise the healthy food you are eating burning away at the fat around your waist, and revealing your 6 pack underneath! When you go up the stairs at the train station, picture the peak of the mountain as the last step! These small visualisation techniques are a mind over matter training method in themselves. Lets face it, its hard to pick healthy food to eat when there is so much ''tasty junk'' at our finger tips. Its hard to walk up the escalator at the tube station when we can just stand and wait to get to the top! Its hard to go to the gym after work when there is a good film on the television or its the champions league semi final! Hard is what life is. There is no easy way out. Especially when it comes to the body.
Another great way to fuel your workouts and maintain a high level of concentration throughout is to picture something which frustrates or angers you. It must be something that, no matter where you are, no matter what you are doing, you can not help but become emotionally triggered by the sight or sound of this 1 specific thing. I used to imagine people being cruel to animals as a source of energy for my workouts. I have seen a lot of animals being mistreated, and the strong feelings of anger inside me really helped to channel my aggression towards my workouts.
Every rep, every set, every day, every night. Concentration is what will separate human beings from other organisms on this planet. To truly concentrate, nothing else must exist in this world, aside from the task at hand.