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If You Aim to Get Fit, Begin with Your Mind

Updated on February 21, 2017

This post is particularly for the consumption of those knowledge workers who do their exercises regularly but do not get the results they want to have. These folks may be following their workout sheets meticulously but in vain.

As a knowledge worker, you may have come to the conclusion that you are doing wrong workouts or choosing a wrong hour of the day for your workout regimen. You may also be thinking that your diet is not helping you in your efforts. But you may not be aware that the stresses of your profession are taking a toll on your health. In fact, these work-related stresses do not allow you to reach your health goal. In other words, you have become oblivious of the old aphorism that despite the body being willing, your mind is wandering elsewhere.

Even Cameron Smith, who owns a fitness center called "Protrain Fitness" corroborates with this fact. He emphatically says, "If your mind is not engaged with your body, you won't get the results." That is the reason he insists that his clients should put their heads also into the game. His gym particularly caters to the needs of high-achieving professionals who are likely to be completely absorbed in work-related problems. Though they may have a high level of motivation to do their workouts, distraction comes from their minds.

Smith points out, "If a person is not focused, usually the first thing you notice is that they're holding their breath." Such workouts make these people dizzy. Not only that, they get tired sooner than others and so, they are forced to stop training. Only after doing a few breathing exercises, they can get back to their workouts.

If a person forgets in the middle of his exercise as to how to proceed with it or if he is not able to remember which part of his body he has been working on, it also shows that he is not focused.
In short, focusing on form is very important for achieving the desired results. On the contrary, if high-achieving professionals keep thinking about their meetings or the emails for which they have to send their replies while doing their exercises, they will not get the benefits of their workouts. Chances of injuries increase also. Smith advises his clients against lifting weights if they are not able to focus on their form or when they seem to have a frazzled brain.

Ben Lewis, another fitness trainer, advises his clients to set achievable goals and maintain a diary. He says that he always makes it a point to deal with the mental aspects of workouts of his clients. So, he ensures that his clients begin their workouts only after discussing with him all the events of the day and the week. He says that by doing so, they will effectively release all their pent-up emotions. Of course, the discussions may revolve around the goals that have been set and the progress that has been made also.

Connection between fatigue and focus

Researches have proved that there is a strong connection between fatigue and focus. Most of these researches have shown that the mental acuity of a person comes down due to his physical fatigue. But in a study that was conducted on running tasks, Clare MacMahon, Head of Exercise Science in Swinburne University found that cognitive fatigue could negatively impact physical performance. The study revealed that even expert runners took more time for completing running tasks when they experienced cognitive fatigue though there were no changes in their heart rate or in the levels of their blood lactate. In other words, their perception about their exertion changed due to their cognitive fatigue and this resulted in their less-than-desirable performance. Though their physiological levels remained unchanged, their cognitive fatigue created an illusion in their minds that they were physically fatigued.

MacMahon points out that even those who have not involved themselves in any type of physical activity may feel tired and may not be willing to do their exercises, thanks to their tired brain. She hastens to suggest that even the simplest step of just sitting and relaxing in the garden without the distractions that may be caused by gadgets will do a world of good in refreshing the brain.

Lucas, a rugby player who played at the league level and who is an ultra-endurance specialist, says that high achieving professionals should start the process of getting fit with their mind. He wants all his clients to maintain an exercise diary as well as a food diary because these diaries make them accountable. Since the mind takes control while maintaining diaries and monitoring the goals, his clients are able to achieve their fitness goals. Not only that, since they are accountable, they take consistent action. Consistency needs discipline and no one will contest the fact that discipline is more of a mental habit than being physical.


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