“Mind is everything. Muscle — just pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind.”
– Paavo Nurmi, Nine time Olympic gold medalist in distance running
I usually end my blogs with five open-ended questions to fuel self-reflection, but this time I invite you to start with some reflecting.
- Why do you exercise? Try to come up with five reasons otherthan for appearance.
- How do you feel before, during, and after exercise?
- Think of a time when you were drenched in sweat and ready to quit early. What stopped you? What kept you going?
- When you motivated to workout, what does that feel like for you?
- On the contrary, when you are notmotivated to workout, what does that feel like for you?
When you are done with the questions, step back and examine what percent of your answers relates to the mental side of working out versus the physical side. It takes just as much mental strength as it does muscular strength to willingly push your body for an extended amount of time.
I recently watched a Ted Talk by Ned Phillips called, “How Endurance Athletes are Using the Power of the Now.” Towards the end of his talk, after discussing his struggle with qualifying for the Ironman World Championships, he shared the simple yet incredibly effective secret to his success.
He focuses on the moment by counting his steps while running. Sounds easy enough, but try counting to twenty right now without thinking about anything else. The mind is always busy, therefore never fully present.
When you are fully intentional in your task, you are fully present. Imagine running, weight-lifting, or doing yoga with full intention using Phillip’s counting technique. Count your steps, reps, or breaths (really nice how those words rhyme) and focus only on that. At that point, wouldn’t you say the mind is working out just as hard, if not harder than the body itself?
I challenge you during your next workout to try this, and to remember whyyou showed up to your workout. Thank yourself for showing up, and thank yourself for finishing.
Watch Ned Phillip’s Ted Talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tc4K5Zujqw