The Mind/Body Connection

By Denise Sala - ExecWell's Head Fitness Coach, NASM – CPT, CES

Getting physically fit is all a matter of getting the right mind-set. We’ve all heard the expression, “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.” This is especially true when it comes to your own personal workouts. It’s important to let go of the negative chatter in your head and instead replace it with positive thoughts. For example, if you start your workout and seem to have low energy or don’t have the strength to get through a set, you may say to yourself, “I’m so weak. I’ll never be able to do this.” And if this is your mind-set, you are right. You won’t get through it. If, on the other hand, you replace those negative thoughts with “I can get through this. This is just the beginning of gaining my strength. I, too, can be an athlete. I have what it takes.” Then, whatever you put your mind to, you will achieve.

Letting go of negative inner dialogue doesn’t come naturally. It’s a process. You have to continually recognize those moments when you are allowing negative self-talk to linger on your mind. Once you recognize it, you need to nip it in the bud, so to speak, before it takes growth and you actually believe it to be true. Positive thoughts give positive outcomes. What is true in business is also true in your own personal growth.  Replace those negative thoughts with positive ones, and  you will be able to do things physically and mentally that you would have never thought possible.

Mental clarity, like meditation, means clearing your mind of the clutter. It means letting go of the day’s events and details and focusing on one goal—in this case, getting your body fit and healthy. When you walk into the gym or begin your personal workout, it’s time to clear out all other thoughts and tune in to your body, your muscles, and what you need them to do. Focus on specific body parts that you are working and how your body feels. If you are feeling strong, look in the mirror and view your muscles lifting the weights. If you feel weak, give yourself a pep talk, be your own personal coach, and say, “Let’s do this!” or “Come on, you can do more!” It’s like having a personal trainer in your head.

Daily affirmations, or those quotes we see all over Facebook, Twitter, and the Internet these days may seem trivial, but as a matter of fact, many of them can be useful, especially if they mean something to you. “When the going gets hard, the tough get going” or “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” are catchphrases that you can repeat to yourself during your workouts to give you the motivation you need to go further, harder, faster, or stronger than you thought possible. Pick out a few such phrases that inspire you, memorize them, and repeat them in your head over and over until you believe them. Or, more importantly, until you believe in yourself.

You have the power to control the outcome of anything physical you decide to do. Just as you do when dealing with your business or workday, put all of your focus and attention on your workouts. Only when you use the power of your mind/body connection, will you succeed and become stronger, both physically and mentally, than ever before. Like Glinda the Good Witch told Dorothy in the movie, The Wizard of Oz, “You’ve always had the power, my dear. You just had to learn it for yourself.”