Theres a funny thing about us people. Some of us. We only like to do whats normal. Orthodox...
We forget there may be better ways to do things.
We don't always have the time or energy to seek out info i guess. Anyways.....here's something you might like to take on. Most people wouldn't do this for their training, but then again - most people waste their time:
Don't just work out. 'Imagineer' your training first.
the clearer you are on what you want to do, the better your performance will be. It's common practice in Sport Psychology - while of course is very applicable to your pursuit of a better body through smarter physical activities.
Your brain controls your actions - but you neglect to focus on your brain, you leave your motivation up to the gods - and the gods of fitness are really mean and have a tremendous sense of humor - and they will mess with you just for a laugh.
So take control of your mental state before you start asking great feats of yourself...
HERES A QUICKIE FOR YOU
My full mental imagery system - is available on the 'Psychological Toolbox' on the website on the internet.
1) clear your mind of distraction
2) spend 5 minutes watching youtube clips of a workout similar to yours
3) imagine yourself performing your workout better than ever before
4) get started with your workout - picture yourself looking really handsome, fully focused, pumped with energy, hair neatly combed, workout pants looking extra shiny, you're feeling strong and powerful, you're breaking all your records and feeling stronger with each passing set
5) hold this picture of what you want to perform like, picture each set before you start, 'feel' the muscles moving you, 'crave' the feeling of work and mechanical stress
6) Complete your training session. Decide whether this 'imaginary nonsense' made you do better or worse
7) Make mental note to do it more often.
8) Consider having a shower - be careful what your imagination and new found fondness of yourself causes you to do while in there.
9) Go back to normal activities for the rest of the day
I hope that helps you and I also hope that tomorrow is sunny.
Unlike the specific skill based imagery above, This use of imagery is more about controlling your behaviour and fighting akrasia...
Got a problem controlling yourself? Most of us do! Brain is a devious character at times and he craves the familiar, the sweet and the easy.
Here's what we do with this 'behaviour based imagery rehearsal drill':
1) Pick a time to practice visualising yourself doing as you'd like
2) Pick one problem moment you'd like to change, a bad habit that you'd like to fix, or a good habit you'd like to develop.
3) develop the habit of visualising successful execution of this moment or habit going to plan.
Simple right. Just to bring it to life, here's an example of how it plays out using a fictional character named Bob and another fictional yet seductive temptress named Wendy:
Bob has a problem, he wants to go to the gym so he can impress his secret love Wendy. He plans to rip his shirt off at the next Christmas party and impress her with his tough man body. He has heard that Wendy has a yearning for a muscular gentlemen dressed in lycra trousers to surprise her with flowers and muscle before sweeping her off her feet, and he tends to put this information to good use this year, just before his 71st birthday.
However, bob doesn't go to the gym very often and sadly, his buff man body looks more like a hairy cross between an 8 year old boy and a 90-year old man with droopy pale fleshy skin wrapped around what looks like a bag of bones. Wendy would have to have very weird taste if she is going to be into it right now - and that's why our Bob wants to hit the gym.
Although every night he packs his gym bag with his costume for the next day, fully intending to workout hard, he tends to lose motivation when the day nears an end.
After a long work day, Bob manages to reason his way out of it, tell himself that today doesn't matter, that he can start again tomorrow and make his way directly past the gym and straight home and onto to his sofa.
This has been going on for months with Bob only training about 20% of what he needs to. Bob fears that Wendy is going to be distinctly unimpressed at this rate.
So Bob, hearing about this strategy decides to give it a whirl:
So he chooses a time he can control to practice the imagery drill. That time: his afternoon break.
So every day an alert comes up on his phone at 3 30pm: "gym" it says.
That's not Bobs trigger to go to the gym, no. That's his trigger to imagine going.
So when he sees the alert, he knows that he is to visualise himself, saying goodbye to his work colleagues, walking out of the office and straight into the gym. He feels his resistance to going, he ignores the negative thoughts in his brain and tells himself "just go inside".
He visualises himself ignoring the negative. "Just go inside" he says again.
He sees himself swipe his card, smile at the lovely receptionist "nice" he thinks, " but she's no Wendy" he says to himself - and then he walks straight to his locker, drops his pants and gets changed into his chosen gymasium attire.
So, when 5 25pm hits and work is done, Bob grabs his bag and jumps for joy, he is prepared for his brains games and is ready to act exactly as he imagined.
Fresh in his mind, dominating his thoughts is one thing: just walk into the gym, ignore and futile games from Brain, get changed into his to his gym shorts and Lycra vest and then it's time to dominate.
For Bob, once he's done that, a successful workout is inevitable. Getting to this stage more often is his challenge.
Get it? So you must develop the easy habit of using imagery practice to visualise yourself succeeding at harder behaviour changes.
Now, to some of you, this might seem a wee bit crazy and long-winded. Why are we developing a habit in order to control another habit?
But remember, some habits are harder to develop and change than others. Not everybody will need this habit, but, if you're like me, then you might struggle with some of your behaviour changes, and this is where we use the behavioural imagery tool to change things we have been stuck with for some time.
This process - of visualising the trouble behaviour going to plan - it strengthens your ability to anticipate and act as you want to in the cold heat of battle.
That moment when you want to rationalise your way out of the new and into the comfort of old - it's easier with visualisation practice. The right action will be fresh in your mind taking up space and attention that could otherwise be filled with negative unhelpful thoughts.
I've found it surprisingly useful in many situations. Is there something you've been struggling with that could make the Behavioural Imagery Drill worth experimenting with?