Are You Training Your Brain?

by Jenny Swisher on October 30, 2014

We talk so often about physical training, nutrition, and proper Coaching, but one thing we often lose sight of is our mental training. The mental component of your well-being is often the most important, and I have found, as a Personal Trainer who is constantly working with people of varying levels of physical ability, it can be the most limiting for those other aspects of your body.

Let me explain.

If I told you to do 50 squats in a row, would you laugh at me? Would you scoff and say, “Yeah right”? Would you reluctantly try? Or would you position your feet and just start squatting?

Often, we react and move on and never pause to realize how we reacted. We simply never take note of our sarcasm, our lack of confidence, our verbal and physical responses. Why? Because our brain controls those things, and our brain tells us to keep moving forward through our day, inch by inch.

I’m writing this because I see it in others. Want to know what I see?

When I tell someone to do 50 squats, some scoff and decide before they even begin that they’re only going to do 20 or 30. Before they even begin. Others square their feet and start squatting, doing all 50 and sometimes losing form, not noticing that they should have stopped.

In other words, we do without thinking. We react without pretense.

So how do we work on training our brain? It’s simple: By slowing down.

Whether it’s lying still, taking deep breaths, or spending 90 minutes in a yoga class, we must slow our physical bodies down so that our brain has time to think. We can read books and listen to podcasts that help strengthen our thoughts, we can meditate to sooth, but if we don’t apply it, it means nothing.

How do we apply? By pausing before we respond. By taking a breath before we move. By considering what we’ve learned about ourselves in the moments of stillness and calm so that we know how to embrace the next step of the crazy and fierce that is often our lives.

I encourage you, as the hustle of the holidays nears and our bodies get restless, rather than push… consider pulling back. Take a breath, slow down, and begin again.

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