Do You Believe?

As I mentioned last week, while I was sick I had the opportunity to complete my last continuing education requirements for my re-certification for my personal training license. (I focus mainly on nutrition but I feel like keeping my PT certification current is still important and valuable) The course I was taking was called Sculpting Her Perfect Body and focused solely on working with female clients. One of the topics I found to be most interesting was Developing a Mind-to-Muscle Connection. Here is an except from the study information:

“Contrary to popular belief, weightlifting is more than just a physical endeavor. There is a large mental component associated with the activity, and harnessing your mental acuity can substantially improve results while decreasing the potential for injury. In essence, a mind-to-muscle connection is the ability to visualize a muscle and to feel it working through a complete range of motion during exercise performance. Rather than thinking about where you feel the muscular stimulus, it requires you to think about where you are supposed to feel the stimulus. Keeping your mental focus channeled in such a way helps maximize muscular stimulation to the desired region.”

I will fully admit that I totally 100% buy into this! I always try to visualize my muscles working when I lift weight and when I run. I picture them growing stronger and working hard to propel me forward. Now I obviously do not get this mentally focused on every run (sometimes I need to focus on my grocery list or what cute outfit I am going to wear that night to dinner with Keith) but on the runs where I am really focusing on my muscles I feel like I tackle the hills easier and run more effortlessly.

What about you? Do you believe in the power of the mind when it comes to exercise?

Check out my Examiner article on the benefits of eating seasonally and locally! WOOT!


30 Responses

  1. I’m doing a series next week on visualization – you will probably like it. I have never experimented much with it, but have been trying it more lately.

    I’m also hoping that I can visualize my way to a good Boston Marathon after missing 3 weeks of training from the flu!

  2. I totally believe in the power of the mind. How many times have talked ourselves out of something? Too many to count, for me. When I first started running, I’d walk after just a few minutes because I was tired. As I got better, I’d run a little longer and further before walking. Now when I run, I ask myself if I *really* need to walk or can I keep running? Almost always my body says I can keep running.

  3. I do think that the power of the mind has a lot to do with exercise. When I’m feeling like I am about to give up I can almost always mentally prepare myself to go just a little bit further. But like you, I find it hard to focus. I am also contemplating things like what I’m going to wear or eat or both!

  4. I totally buy into it as well. When I am not focused, my workouts are very different then when I put my mind into it and really focus on what muscles should be working and how they’re working.

  5. most definitely! i know that there are times where my muscles are just tired, but i know i could do more reps if needed. it’s mentally taxing, and benefits more than just your body when you succeed!

  6. Absolutely, I know when I really focus on what my body is doing during exercise I get a much better work out then when I am doing it mindlessly.

  7. I’ve noticed I do this alot more now that I’m swimming. Maybe it’s because i’m using muscles that I never really have before but I swear with each stroke I can feel them getting stronger.

  8. Oh yes, working out is most definitely mind over matter!! I just keep my goals in mind the entire time and that keeps me going!! 🙂

  9. I completely agree……you need to have that mental picture to accomplish it. I do at times also think about that cute pair of shoes in the window I need to go back and buy, but on my next rep I will usually get into it again 😉

  10. I think any workout is mostly in the mind! If you are not confident, you will fail! Oh i love eating locally so I will check that out. Thanks!

  11. I completely agree with this. So many times I miss a workout because I’m mentally tired or scared I won’t perform well…I really need to learn to overcome this.

  12. I do have to do visualization during hard workouts. Especially during cardio, I think about the cardiovascular health I’m providing for my heart. It makes the workout seem so meaningful and “deep”. That sounds so cheesy, haha! I need to start thinking more about my strength workouts and specifically the importance of form. I have a bad back, so form is so important to emphasize!

    Have a great weekend, Kelly!!!

  13. I use visualization during a lot of my training. When certain muscles are fatiguing (say like on a long bike ride) I focus on the bigger muscles to take the “load” off of the fatigued muscles. If that makes sense. 🙂

    Great article!! And how exciting that you’re being PUBLISHED!! WOOT! WOOT!

  14. Congrats on being published!! I was going to write for The Examiner before, but then didn’t feel it would be time-effective given the time I had ….but now I kind of wish I had and would just focus on writing possibly…it seems I look everywhere else, thinking maybe yoga was an answer or some other job – when it really isn’t for me at all….so now I totally feel back at square one and at wit’s end…
    Great job though chica!

  15. I TOTALLY buy into the mind/muscle thing. 100% agree. That’s cool that you get to learn about stuff like that. 🙂 Have a great weekend.

  16. that could be a helpful way to get me motivated. Thanks.

  17. My mind is so connected to my body. Stress changes me physically in so many ways. Great post once again, Kelly!

  18. I believe in the power of the mind so much i cant even tell you. I live my life by, if it’s up to be, it’s up to me. And then I do it. Will, determination, fortitude, perseverance, that’s your mind. That’s mental toughness. And I am a believer 🙂

  19. I definitely think you mind plays a huge part. Its no coincidence that when I’m having a great day and am super excited to run, that those are my best runs.
    So this makes perfect sense to me.

  20. I completely believe that mind + body are connected 🙂 When I strength train, I actually try and contract my muscles rather than just going along with the motions. It works 10x better!

  21. I’ve used visualization with almost every one of my injuries and I truly believe they helped me come back stronger!

  22. Pardon me, but HELL YES!!!! YOur mind has ssoooooo much to do with what you are trying to accomplish! I was doing this tonight while working out…It’s unbelievable the results you will see when you REALLY putg your mind to it!

  23. i definitely agree with this when it comes to weight lifting- i totally need to be in the right mind to get a good workout!


  24. I heard that years ago and whenever I’m working out, I imagine my muscles working hard. If not, you might just be going through the motions.

  25. Whenever I’ve helped people with strength training I always say “think about the muscles you’re using for this exercise.” It totally helps! I think it makes you use the correct muscles more consistently…like on lat pull downs…you focus on your lats and you actually use them, instead of just pulling it down with your arms. Anyway, yes I buy into that too!

  26. I totally believe this…but, I definitely do not practice it for the most part. At least not running and biking. But for swimming, I do. Maybe it’s because I have so much room for improvement in swimming, but I totally focus on each muscle getting stronger!

  27. I believe it. I feel like I lift harder when I have a mirror. I see the muscles and I know they can do more so I push myself harder!

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