Power Up Your Fitness Mindset With These 3 Steps

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I’ve been back in the gym for a couple of months and so glad to be in the habit again. My Mental Fitnessrunning has taken a bit of a back seat but I’ll get the balance soon enough.

As I prepare to get back into a fit state I focus as much on building my fitness mindset as I do on creating my ideal workout.

What does a fitness mindset look like?

  1. Visual Preparation: depending on what you are working towards, have some images as a reference point to stimulate you. Using imagery to guide your workout is incredibly powerful. I have a portfolio of photos taken 18 years ago when I was competing in fitness figure shows that I like to flick through. They remind me of what I have achieved and help me focus on what more is possible. Even if you do not have photos, you can use your imagination. Picture yourself performing the exercises you intend to do or the end result you want. You can read more about this technique in detail with Dr John Rusin.
  2. Motivation: even though the photos are a good source of inspiration and help with the focus I like to reinforce them with audio. I was spending quite a bit of time searching YouTube for motivational videos to watch/listen to but have since found the perfect resource at Pre-workout TV; someone did all the hard work of pulling a list of great motivational videos together!
  3. Music: music really does it for me. Not only does it have the power to lift any mood, research has shown that it can aid pain by relaxing the body as well as improve your workout. I walk to the gym, maximising the time by listening to high energy music and walking at an energetic pace that prepares me for the workout ahead.

Mindset is as important as the physical activity itself; I fully understood that when running the London Marathon last year. My mind definitely got me over the finishing line!

What do you do to prepare yourself mentally for your workouts? Sharing is caring…

Fab Fit & Healthy

YvonneB

P.S: A recommended site for great tips and motivation is Breaking Muscle

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What You Feed Your Brain Matters

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Well my opening statement is a simple one: What you feed your Brain1brain matters!

I am and will always remain intrigued by the intricacies of our make up, the way the body pieces together to move fluidly; the wiring of the brain to send specific messages to create a movement, a thought, a wish. We are incredibly built, more powerful than most of us will realise in our lifetime and yet we often choose to take this for granted and misuse it.

Like a finely tuned car we require a regular MOT, a long run and some TLC to operate optimally and one of the things we can do to make sure we stay finely tuned is watch what we eat. Mmmm, yes, a tricky subject! But let’s look at some facts…

Does Brain Food Exist?

Oh yes! Just like the rest of the body there are foods we can eat to enhance our brain power.

The brain requires some very specific things to work well and you might want to take note. It requires:

  1. Energy – glucose in your blood to the brain – Wholegrains
  2. Essential Fatty Acids – only obtained from your diet as the body is unable to make it – Oily Fish (Omega 3 fats)
  3. Blueberries – who knew? See why below
  4. Protection against free radical damage to cells – the magic ingredient lycopene in Tomatoes
  5. Zinc – Pumpkin seeds

Some other key sources include certain B vitamins, blackcurrant, broccoli, sage and nuts.

What Happens If You Eat These Foods?

  1. Increases the ability to concentrate and focus (from the steady supply of energy)
  2. Aids healthy brain function, the heart function, joints and general wellbeing (EFA)
  3. Improves short-term memory loss or delays it (blueberries – got to get me some of those!)
  4. Protects against the cell damage that can lead to the development of dementia (Alzheimer’s in particular) (Tomatoes)
  5. Enhances memory & thinking skills (Pumpkin Seeds)

The additional benefits of eating the food types listed above include reduced brain shrinkage, mental agility, enhanced cognitive function, improved brain power and improved memory. Not a list to be sniffed at!

So if you’ve been struggling to stay focused, to retain information or engage with a level of mental agility that you feel you have, you might want to check your diet. Are you doing everything you can to remain mentally healthy or are you resigned to letting it all slip away blaming the ageing process? The choices we have, the decisions we make!

What Are Some Easy Steps To Improve Your Brain Power?

Apart from eating good quality food here are 3 other ways to Brain2improve your brain power:

  1. Exercise your brainneuroplasticity (the brain can change!) – by doing something new
  2. Exercise your body – regular exercise not only increases brain function it enhances neurogenesis (every time you exercise you are creating new brain cells!)
  3. Train your memory – practice remembering things (you know, where you put your keys, wallet, even the children!!) Practice provides improvements.

Get your thinking heads on and post some other cool, fun or wacky ways to improve brain power; I’m open to ideas and new ways. And remember, what you feed your brain matters!

One Life, Live It Well

YvonneB

Sources of information:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/10-foods-boost-your-brainpower

http://www.foodforthebrain.org/

Think yourself fit through the art of Visualisation

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Visualisation; no doubt you have heard the term before but what is itIf You Can Dream It and how does it work? Is it really possible to ‘think yourself fit’?

Well, here are a few people who would probably say yes if you asked them and going by their track record you might begin to believe there is something in it:

  • One of the most successful coaches in the history of NBA, Phil Jackson, used guided meditations for his players in order to improve their focus
  • Jonny Wilkinson, Former England rugby international fly-half, has used visualisation to mental prepare for games
  • From his youth days Tiger Woods has used internal imaging
  • Basketball star Michael Jordan has also accredited his success to visualising his goals
  • Jack Nicklaus believes his success has been down to practicing visualisation techniques

I don’t think the success of these individuals and their use of visualisation is a coincidence…

What is visualisation?
It is the practice of creating mental images of a desired result in your mind. It can be done by anyone and the results speak volumes.

If top athletes rely on it why can’t we? They weren’t always top athletes…

So, can you think yourself fit? YES YOU CAN! You can strengthen your body’s muscles through the thought process by imagining yourself going through the motions of achieving your desired outcome.

How can we be certain?
Apart from the stories of individuals, and there are many, research supports the power of visualisation.

Even as far back as 1800’s William James, a psychologist state that ‘every representation of a movement awakens in some degree the actual movement’. In other words whether you actually do the movement of just picture yourself doing it, the brain is activated in the same way; it doesn’t separate out reality from dream.

A study carried out by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Ohio, called ‘ From Mental Power to Muscle Power – gaining strength by using the mind’, demonstrated how visualisation can deliver positive results.

The basics of the study were as follows:

  • 30 volunteers were selected (young & healthy)
  • They were split into three groups
  • Two groups were taught how to use directed imaginary movement in as real a way as possible in their heads (finger and bicep movement)
  • The third group was the controlled group
  • Muscle strength was measured before, during and after the ‘imagined’ training sessions

The results speak for themselves!

In the two groups who used visualisation techniques:
Their finger strength increased by 35%
Their bicep strength increased by 13.5%

What actually happened?
The scientists concluded that the visualisation used in their research enhanced the signals, thus driving the muscles to a higher activation level and increasing strength.

Visualisation works because neural pathways are formed with each new experience we have. Crazy but true!

In conclusion
Whatever your health & fitness goals, you can double your efforts by thinking yourself fit in addition to taking positive actions to get fit. How cool is that!

Remember: ‘If you can dream it, you can achieve it!’ (Zig Ziglar)

To your mental & physical well-being,
YvonneB