The Mind, Nutrition & Exercise
Understanding the basics of the mind
The power of the mind is something that to this day can not be fully understood or explained. With all the technological advances and state of the art research in science and medicine there is still some mystery surrounding the capabilities of the human mind.
From a sports and exercise perspective getting to grips with how positively and negatively ones mindset can affect our physical performance needs further investigation.
By creating a positive mindset associated with the sport or exercise you undertake you stand a far better chance of success. If you are one of those people who doesn’t enjoy exercising try to think about the positive health implications that come with partaking in exercise before you start; reduced weight, a stronger body, better sleep, reduced risk of health problems etc. It may well be hard to start with but you have to take the the positives from the small achievements that will inevitably come in time. It is very important to document your training so you have something to reference in the future. There’s nothing more satisfying than looking back after a couple of months of exercising to see what you were doing then and what you are achieving now!
There is no failure only feedback…
From a sporting perspective your mindset relative to your training can make the difference between hitting the wall and pushing through it. Athletes at all levels get to a point where they think they can’t achieve that next level. By focusing on a positive and analytical plan to your training you can reach that next stage in your sport. After your training session write down possible factors that contributed to you not achieving the goals you set out in your mind before you began. Things to consider:
- did you have a good nights sleep prior to training?
- were you sufficiently hydrated?
- did you have adequate nutrition prior to training?
- was your body properly mobilised and stretched?
- did you pause before you started training to focus on your objectives?
- did you give 100%?
- was anything playing on your mind before you started your training?
- did you approach the training in a positive and focused mindset?
By doing this on a regular basis you will give yourself a reference to compare with when the training goes the way you want it to.
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement…
Nearly everyone struggles to grasp the importance of the right nutrition.
Your body is the only thing that you have to live life to the full. It is a marvelous work of creation. It has certain nutritional needs which we must fulfill. You have billions of cells in your body which die and reproduce themselves every day. These cells need the correct nutrition to enable them to function properly and effectively within our bodies.
The cells are the building blocks and they need to communicate with each other. When there is a breakdown in the communication your body does not function as it should. Although this is complicated and hard too understand it is imperative that we are aware of that need. The long and the short of it is that the communication system tells the rest of the body what is happening. It sends out messages like “I am okay” or “I am hurt.” These messages are sent to the brain and an appropriate response is initiated. When the “I am hurt” message is sent then some or all of the systems of the body are turned on so that the problem is restored.
Most health challenges are the result of the systems of the body not functioning as they should. They can only do the job if they have all the correct nutrients that are required to enable the cell to cell communicators to send the right messages out and get the appropriate response.
By eating a healthy and balanced diet we are providing our bodies with sufficient nutrients required to maintain these functions. There is a tendency to eat far too many carbs and foods laden with sugar, the simple fact is that too much of these foods result in fat storage as well as other numerous other health issues such as Type 2 diabetes. Cutting right down on these foods will almost certainly help in some initial weight loss.
The nutrients found in fruits and vegetables contain naturally occurring sugars and these are buffered by the important vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber that benefit your health. In most diets we normally only get two of the eight that we require. The sugars contained in fruits and vegetables maintain our body systems, some of these systems are the Digestive system, the Endocrine system, the Immune system and the Lymphatic system to name but a few. If these systems are not being supplied correctly then our health and wellness is jeopardised.
In this day and age it is questionable that we are getting all the proper fuel that we need. According to studies the nutritional value of the grains and fruits that we eat has gone down as much a 67%. If this is true then how do we expect our bodies to function at their optimum and heal themselves? This is were supplements come in to the picture, supplements should be plant based so the the body can utilize them. They should contain the eight essential sugars that are required for cell to cell communication and they should not be synthetic. Your body will recognize and utilise plant based material but it will have a hard time processing synthetic products.
With this in mind read the food labels as to the source of the ingredients. See if that product uses the best manufacturing practices. At the very least you should consider taking a good quality multivitamin.
A vast subject with hundreds of different views on the best ways to exercise it can be a bit of a minefield. To break it all down simply the key to achieving results is commitment, and exercising correctly.
In order to achieve results you need to work the muscles efficiently enough for the reaction in the muscles to occur, you have to put the effort in! What basically happens to the muscles if they have been sufficiently exercised are tiny tears in the muscles fibers are created which are then repaired by the protein in our diets, in turn they then become bigger stronger and more efficient. You will not look like a body builder by doing this unless you are eating vast quantities of protein rich food and exercising at extreme intensity for hours on end. It is just the process that happens within the muscle in every human.
If you are trying to loose weight or tone up you also need to make sure it is fat that you are loosing not muscle tissue, muscle tissue allows our bodies function at a higher metabolic rate, therefore functioning more efficiently. The heart rate needs to be elevated sufficiently in order for the body to begin the process the body uses in order to deliver energy from our fat stores. The longer you can exercise for at a low to moderate intensity the more fat will be used from your energy stores, this can be as simple as walking for 45-60 minutes at a brisk pace. By adding some basic resistance exercise to your workouts you will also help to improve the bodies efficiency at burning fat and internal functioning. Simple body weight exercises are a good way to start.
If you are already following an exercise routine you should be working the muscles sufficiently enough in order for the processes of how the body responds to exercise to take effect. DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) as it’s known in the industry is what you feel after strenuous or unconditioned exercise. There is a fine line between feeling a slight soreness that means you have worked the muscles sufficiently and over doing it and causing hours of pain following the workout!
As a rule of thumb you have to progressively push yourself to a safe limit each time you exercise, if you are new to exercise following a program at least twice a week for a month will create a sufficient base level of fitness. As time progresses so too must the intensity of the exercise program. When the exercises that initially were challenging become easier it is at this point you should review and change your training program to achieve continued results.
In health and fitness it is the small victories that you have to take into account to achieve the the end goals. The saying goes:
“Rome wasn’t built in a day”