Achieving Health and Fitness Goals
Most people desire health and a great looking body but only know how to get them using one or two methods. I want to open your mind a little to explore some different and even complementary options that will ensure you reach your goals. These 8 principles are what I believe to be the foundation to reaching health and fitness goals because they apply to every person and are forged from evolution.
The first foundation principle to achieving your health and fitness goals is “thoughts” because they override your physiology 100% of the time. No matter how good your diet and exercise programs are, if you have constant negative thoughts and feelings, then health will be only a dream.
There are numerous studies on the relationship of stress and immune suppression and many more studies linking aggression to cardiovascular incidents such as heart attacks. These studies clearly show the relationship your thoughts have on your health.
There are 6 forms of stress, and each one has its own beneficial and/or detrimental effects, but it is a dose-response relationship that determines benefit or risk. Sun exposure gives you a tan, increases vitamin D levels in the body, and elevates your mood, but too much sunlight gives you a burn. This is similar to being under chronic emotional stress from work, kids, life, etc. Some of those stressors force us to become better, but too much of them wears us down and takes their toll on our bodies.
The answer then is to find out which amount of stress will be therapeutic for you as an individual. One of the ways you can find this out on your own is to become aware of your strength levels, recovery time, exercise performance, and general mood. The more depressed these are, the higher stress input you place on your body, and you may need to scale down the intensity for a short amount of time.
Numerous studies have also been done on how mental stress affects your gut and your response to exercise and eating. If you are eating something that you hate, no matter how healthy it is for you, your brain believing the food tastes terrible will negate any positive effects the food would have had on you. Your body will not digest or utilize as much of the nutrition from that food as was possible, based only on your thought about that food.
Similarly, if you eat in mixed company, or are very insecure or afraid while you are eating, the likelihood the food will positively benefit you is relatively small. When you eat, it is best to be present with the food, and not the TV, the newspaper, or a magazine. You will digest the food better and may eat less of the food and feel more satisfied on it.
In the weight room, you can either succeed because you believe you can, or you can fail because you believe you won’t succeed. Did you know that people who work out with personal trainers are 15% stronger than those who don’t work out with a trainer? Did you also know that working out with the thought of people watching you will cause you to be 8% stronger? One possible reason is that people don’t want to disappoint their trainer or look weak in front of other people, so they will push harder than they do normally.
It’s not simply enough that we do the action; we must actively engage our thoughts and our mind toward our actions. If you work out and you are distracted, imagine what that could do for you when you are overhead squatting 135 pounds or back squatting 405 pounds.
Hopefully, now you see just how your thoughts and emotions can influence your response to exercise, food, stress, illness, and life. Let’s not overlook this very important factor, and let’s try to maintain a positive mental attitude and get the most from your exercise and nutrition efforts.