I wrote this article published in the May-June canfitpro magazine about 9 exercises for the brain. Enjoy…
Create an alternate behaviour to respond to your bad habits. Identify the trigger, the exact moment when your bad habit kicks in, and create a different response. Let’s say you get the munchies in the evening. Instead of going to the fridge, visualize yourself boiling some water for a cup of herbal tea. Rehearse it in your head repetitively.
Chunk it down
Make a list of everything you want to work on, related to your fitness. For example: Water and beverages intake, sleep, muscle conditioning, cardio training, flexibility training, meal planning, snacking, eating out, etc. Choose only one area to work on at a time. Once you have created a new habit with one area, it’s time to switch to the next one.
Watch your language
When you talk to yourself, be careful what you want your brain to hear. We are sometimes guilty of negative self-talk, even when we mean well. Change your language from: “push through the pain”, “don’t give up”, “don’t want to be overweight anymore”, to a more positive statement like: “almost there”, “keep going”, “want to be fit and strong”, etc. This slight adjustment will completely change the way your brain works for you.
Your brain loves your own voice and it gives it a lot of power, just like a personal assistant waiting for orders from their master. Make a statement with everything you want to be. Record yourself reading it 10 times in a row. Play it back to yourself every morning in your bathroom.
Allow a transition time
When you reprogram your brain, it may feel fraudulent to go from thinking: “I am overweight and weak” to “I am thin and fit” Choose transitional words like: “I am willing to learn how it feels to be fit”, “I am willing to change my habits and start craving healthy foods”. This language will allow your brain to be on board and you will slowly be able to progress this linguistic until you can genuinely tell yourself the magic words: “I am super fit!”
Change your Password
In the era we live in, where everything we do requires a password, we almost write it down as often as our own name. Create a few keywords mantra, something like StrongFitSexySmart, and use it for all your passwords requirements.
Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to results. Exercise with friends, register to a class, get a personal trainer or hire a life coach that will hold you accountable for showing up!
Feed your brain
Listen to motivational podcasts or audiobooks on your way to work everyday or read a successful athlete’s biography for 15 minutes in the morning instead of the newspaper.
Act and merge
Use each layer of your brain to become who you want to be. Put yourself in fit people shoes. Ask yourself what kind of environment they live in, where do they hang out? At the gym or at the pub? What do they do? What are their daily behaviours? Do they exercise? Do they eat well? What are their skills? What are they really good at? Are they good at planning their meals and schedules to fit their exercise in? What do they believe? Do they believe that exercise is hard or fun? What is important to them? Losing weight or feeling great? Who are they? When they say: “I am (blank)” Do they say I am fat or I am fit? Who do they identify themselves with? What is their life purpose? Who else are they serving? Are they inspiring their kids to have a healthy lifestyle?
Once you have imagined every layer of a fit person’s brain, try it on. Make it your own. After all, you did not ask them. You came up with the answers yourself. You do have it inside of you. Use it and become who you want to be.