Are you the type of person who is always having to motivate yourself to get up, get out and go to the gym?
Do you have to rely on your willpower alone to sometimes get you through it?
I’d like to introduce you to a powerful and simple new strategy to help you maximise your exercise without feeling like it’s hard work or too much effort. You don’t need any equipment, you can do it anywhere at anytime and it’s totally free.
As a celebrity hypnotherapist and emotional coach, I help my clients break through the limiting beliefs and physical health conditions that are holding them back in their lives and careers. Weight loss and improving physical health, strength and fitness of the body is one of the all-time top number one issues my clients want to address in hypnosis sessions.
In this article I am going to share with you some of the simple secrets I use with my celebrity clients at the beginning of our work together so that you too can MAX-ERCISE – which means maximise your exercise – using the power of your subconscious mind.
BECOME BESTIES WITH YOUR BRAIN
If you want to scale your exercise regime and get the most out of every session you do it is essential to collaborate with your brain and the way you think and feel about yourself.
Your brain controls every single function in your entire physical body without exception. There is nothing that happens in any part of your body that isn’t governed by your brain – just let that sink in for a second.
Physical exercise requires the investment and energy of pretty much your whole physical and emotional being. Seeing as your brain controls it all doesn’t it make sense to prioritise the relationship between that grey matter in our head and your body?
DO YOU TALK TO YOURSELF? OF COURSE YOU DO!
So how exactly do you begin to collaborate with your brain for more focused, enjoyable and productive exercise sessions? You need to know how the brain works first.
You have a constant internal dialogue happening in your mind every single second of the day until you go to sleep and stop all thought. You may not even be aware of this dialogue some of the time. We are constantly either judging, commenting, reviewing, planning, assessing or just daydreaming. All these can either be positive or negative (we are conditioned towards the more negative by the way in case you hadn’t noticed!)
An internal dialogue might sound something like this:
“I really should go to the gym today. Oh, it’s raining outside, maybe I’ll stay in as the walk to the gym is a bit long. No, it’s ok I’ll go, the rain will be refreshing and I can warm up by jogging there. Mmmm, it won’t matter if I miss one day. NO! I promised myself I’d commit to going 4 times a week. Ugh I’m just lazy and getting fatter. GO! I haven’t eaten for a while tho, I should make a smoothie before I go. I need to call Lucy back. Oh, I need to reply to that email. Oh, stop it, just get up and go to the gym”.
Now, you may not realise it but the whole time you are having this internal conversation with yourself the words that you use fire images in your imagination, again either positive or negative. Those images then result in either subtle or dramatic physiological responses in the body. These could be anything from changes in blood pressure, your depth of breathing, heart rate, opening or closing of sweat glands etc In a way your mind and brain don’t really understand the difference between imagined circumstance and real. Your body often responds in a similar way to the imagined as the real.
REMEMBER THAT LAST ARGUMENT YOU HAD?
Remember how you walked away and then kept going over it in your head wishing you’d said this and done that?
Do you remember how you got angry again just seeing and remembering that argument in your head? How your blood boiled and your heart thumped against your chest?
This is a classic example of how that powerful imagination of yours can make something that is in the past seem so real again and affect your physical body.
THE SCIENCE BIT
To take this even further let me tell you about something studies that are really compelling. In one study by neuroscientist Dr Joe Dispenza, participants who were asked to do a finger exercise against the resistance of a spring over four weeks for an hour a day showed a 30 percent increase in muscle strength. Exactly what you’d expect right? However, the second group never lifted a finger. They mentally practised the same activity for the same length of time and demonstrated a 22 percent increase in muscle strength without any physical activity. They simply visualised and imagined, while sitting still, in full technicolour and in as much detail as possible, doing the exercise without ever actually doing it. There was only 8 percent less increase in muscle strength. Now that is remarkable. Similar studies have been done using exercises with bicep curls and squats etc.
Dr Joe said “the body was stronger to reflect a mental effort rather than a physical effort. These studies show that physical changes can occur by our thoughts, our intentions, and our visualisation alone”.
A great example is the American officer caught by the Viet Congs who, while in captivity, visualised playing golf in a field next to his home so as not to lose his mind. Released many years later he went to that very field and scored a hole in one instantly.
Let me ask you a question – how much more effective and powerful could your physical exercise be if you began collaborating with your mind!?
The basic rule is this…
CHANGE THE WORDS YOU SAY TO YOURSELF
CHANGE THE IMAGES YOU CREATE IN YOUR MIND
CHANGE THE CAPACITY OF YOUR PHYSICAL BODY
TALKING TO YOURSELF IS NOT CRAZY
If you keep that self-defeating, negative, shaming internal dialogue going then you must make the effort to transmute it into an uplifting, inspiring, self-appreciating one. The only difference is that one of them is automatic and the other requires a little effort and practice from you. Guess which one is which.
It might feel silly at first and you may mistake the following instructions for airy-fairy, new age, positive affirmation nonsense (believe me, I did at first). But trust me, it is one of the most powerful and transformational things you can start to do in your life. It has changed the way I think and feel about myself and it does the same for my clients who commit to and take it seriously.
Why is it so powerful? Because every time you do what I am about share you will create, build and strengthen new neural pathways in your brain related to physical exercise and the way you think and feel about it. Everything you think, say and do is governed by neural pathways you’ve created and practised in your brain over many, many years. You are constantly creating new ones, strengthening old ones or destroying them based on your continued pattern of thinking, inner dialogue and images you create in your imagination. Even as you read this article and ponder upon new ideas there are sparks of new neural pathways occurring. Don’t you just love that?!
The clients that have really taken this on board are the clients that have had the most dramatic transformations in terms of weight loss, body fitness, athletic ability and strength training. Everything begins with the way you talk to yourself and the images you create in your imagination. It makes sense when I put it like that doesn’t it?
CHANGE THE WAY YOU TALK TO YOURSELF
Now, personally, I am not a fan of positive affirmations. They often ring untrue to me. Looking in the mirror and shouting “you’re awesome, you’re a god, you can do anything” just doesn’t really do anything for me. What I prefer and what I help my clients to do is to find simple, easy, gentle truths.
Something like “I am enough” is a good start. As you feel that and feel that internal shift happening it might turn into:
“I am enough, and I am so enough that my body deserves to go and celebrate itself by moving and exercising today”.
Then watch as your imagination creates that powerful and exciting image of you in celebration as you exercise. A new feeling is sparked. A new neural pathway in your brain has been fired. Now build it and strengthen it and keep the momentum going:
”I feel really excited about exploring new horizons with my mind and body today. I am choosing to feel the vitality and energy of my whole body as it lifts weights, glides through the water and soars on the treadmill. It makes me happy to feel how my body is becoming fitter, stronger, more supple and healthier. It is elating and satisfying to see and feel my body changing week on week and to feel the wellbeing begin to flood every cell of my entire being”.
Just stop a second and notice that as you read those statements you begin to get images in your mind’s eye of yourself. Cool huh?! And if you didn’t then just go back and read that last one out loud and see how easy it is to kindle those images of yourself embodying it all.
Notice how that language “glides, soars and floods” ignite new powerful images that begin to get you feeling inspired about going to the gym, the football field or wherever it is you are going to. Suddenly motivation, willpower and hard work seem to leave the equation. There is just a feeling of excitement, anticipation and energy isn’t there? It will help when you create your own personal way of doing it and your own language style. Also, it takes a bit of practice. Like with everything, the brain loves repetition! There are some great hints and tips on Sweat Journal’s article from a while back “10 Reasons Why You Keep Starting And Stopping Your Fitness Regime” and “10 Hacks Which Will Help You Reach Your Fitness Goals”. These will also help you alongside what I’ve shared with you in this piece.
The mind loves powerful words and colourful images. As you begin to bring this wonderful and very powerful form of self-talk into your life you’ll begin to feel naturally more inspired to do the exercise you love to do. Think of the most successful athletes in the world. Do you think they visualise and imagine themselves losing? Do you think they give themselves negative self-talk? NO! They do exactly what I’ve shared with you here. This is the simplest, easiest thing to start doing and it’s the most profoundly transformational! Change your mind first and your body will follow.
I’d love to hear from you so go and comment below and tell us how this works for you, or your own personal way to keep you on track to reaching your goals.
Gary Albert Hughes is a Celebrity Hypnotherapist and Emotional Coach who specialises in helping his clients break through the limiting beliefs and physical health challenges holding them back in their lives and careers. He trained with world-renowned celebrity therapist Marisa Peer as a Rapid Transformational Therapist RTT is a revolutionary, fast and powerful form of hypnotherapy that gets right to the root cause of any physical or emotional health issue and potentially clear it in one or two sessions. Gary is also a natural medicine practitioner and works at his clinic The Balanced Performer in East London and internationally with stars of stage and screen, pop singers, bands and athletes.
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