When you go to the gym to work out or are working with a trainer, you think about all the muscles you want to improve, the "look" you may want; how you want to get stronger or rehabilitate a certain part of your body. Physical activity- whether it be cardio, strength training, yoga, Pilates or group classes, are all great for overall health. Some specific benefits of these activities are: improving cardiovascular fitness, decreasing body fat, increasing bone density and muscle mass, lowering cholesterol and blood pressure, increasing your overall mood and productivity. Exercise can even lead to a longer life! What is not to love about all of that.
When you are doing physical training, you are training more than your body and your muscles and your heart and your lungs. To me, the most important thing to not forget to train is your brain.... I call it, "Mind over muscle". I have recently read a book called How Bad Do You Want It and it specifically talks about how people can overcome their physical challenges by mental training.
Reiterating positive comments to yourself or small words of wisdom every day can set you up on a great path to success. The body achieves what the mind believes. Pushing through a hard class, or a hard interval on a bike, one more rep you thought you couldn't get, allows you to see that you are stronger than you think you are. But you have to believe it.
As a personal trainer and former college athlete, I think the way you deal with adversity and stress is the most important part of life and how to grow. I challenge my clients daily with workouts they thought they could not do at first, or have them set goals that are realistic but have not achieved yet. It pushes them to be better. It trains their brain to whisper to their body, "You can."
I think everyone should be pushed outside of their physical comfort zone at some point in their life. It is not supposed to be easy all the time. Life is not easy. When you learn to deal with being uncomfortable working out, this can transfer over to every part of your life. Stepping up at the work place, making a big decision you were afraid to say, trying a new skill or heck, even going sky diving because you always wanted to. Train your brain to be strong and you will be strong.
Never give up. Whether your goal is weight loss, setting a new personal record in a race, to even start a fitness program because you never have, do not quit. When you tell yourself it is over, it is over. When you tell yourself you can do something, you really can. I tell myself, give everything you have, all the time, and if you fall short, you try again tomorrow. Nothing is ever perfect but hard work, perseverance, and determination will get you there.
Next time you step in the gym to sweat, lift some weights, take a class, or compete, remember to turn your brain on. That is the "muscle" that needs to be worked the most!
"The thing I really learned was the difference between the people who made it and the people who didn't make it, had nothing at all to do with fitness. It had purely to do with the belief that they were going to make it." - Jennifer Steinman
"Whether you think you can or think you can't, you are right." -Henry Ford
To book a personal training session with Chelsea Stengel, call: 896-3900 x 115.
*This picture is Chelsea Stengel finishing the Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon in 15th place (women's division) and qualifying for the Boston Marathon! She proves time after time that goals can be accomplished if you believe YOU CAN!