3 Ways to Train Like a Champion

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Amelia Phillips

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One of the best things you can learn from exercise is to re-program your thinking, and train yourself for success. Isn’t it funny how often great athletes turn out to be great achievers in other areas of their life.

What if the mental discipline you learn from exercise carries over into your work and personal life? Could that give you a competitive advantage? Maybe help you to stay focussed on difficult tasks and achieve great things? You might end up with a career path like Arnie, the Governator.

Warning: These tools can have mind-altering affects.

Tool #1: Be present: No I don’t mean turn up to your session (I assume you’ve already done that!). I am referring to your mental state. Whether you are training weights or going on a run, let go of your distractions. Recognise when they come in; is that person looking at me? What’s for dinner? And as soon as they do, cast your thoughts back to your breathing and focus on your body’s movements. Ask yourself questions; “Am I breathing to the base of my lungs? Are my shoulders relaxed? Is my body symmetrical?” These questions help to keep you in the moment. This is called having mindful awareness. You might have to refocus twenty times throughout your workout until one day, you realise you’re doing it automatically. This not only leads to far more coordinated and effective movements physiologically, but is a form of meditation that improves focus and concentration.

Tool #2: Discipline: The key to discipline is preparation. Preparation? Yes preparation. Why don’t you plan at the start of your week which days you will train. Know exactly what you need to do in each workout, and what scores you need to beat for improvement. Once you are actually training, you shouldn’t need to think about disciplining yourself (if you have used tool #1). If you feel your motivation fading adopt the JFDI principle (don’t know it, google it!) and JFDI it!

Tool #3: Visualisation: You will always behave the way you see yourself. So if you see yourself as being out of shape and slow, you will train that way. Instead, try to visualise yourself beating your personal best. Visualise how good you will feel after your workout. Imagine the feeling when you reach your goal weight that no one thought you’d achieve. It’s very easy to visualise the bad stuff so why don’t you stop yourself when a negative thought comes in and project it into a positive one.

Have a go at adapting these principles into your professional life as well. When at work, be present, especially when communicating with others. Prepare your tasks in a manner that encourages self discipline. And if you are struggling with something, try not to put it off, instead JFDI it! Visualise your new office when you have achieved that promotion, or how will you feel when people are looking to you as their mentor? Apply these principles with a dash of passion and you will grow into a true champion.

Do you already train like a champion? I’d love to know how you have adapted these principles (and others) to achieve success.

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  • Derek

    Great posting, very inspiring and encouraging. Breathing focus and being present.. Very Zen-like. :-)

  • Amelia Burton

    Thanks Derek. For a lot of people who don’t meditate, exercise (especially long repetative workouts such as running) might be a good alternative. However I imagine that effective meditation could have major impacts on mental power during workouts. I would suggest to readers who were having difficulty focussing, take a meditation course.

  • Tom Parker

    Good post Amelia. Generally, I am quite good with my training but some days I need to ‘Be Present’ more. If I’m tired or have had a bad day this often carries through to me having a less enthusiastic workout.

  • PeterJ

    About 3 months ago I read a book about this and hyave been trying to practice these things and others in my training and in mty life. Personally. I have found that I have felt a lot more centered in myself. In my training, my intensity has increased and my results have improved a lot because of it.

  • Amelia Burton

    Hi Tom,
    Just like fitness, you need to repetatively train your mind to focus. When you’ve had a bad day it certainly makes the focus much harder. Keep pracising though and even your bad days will still be better than not trying at all!

  • Derek

    Thanks Amelia.. Yes, I would definitely say that because I practice Zen and meditate every day, my ability to exercise is greatly enhanced. I never use ipods or anything like that, I just focus in the present moment on what I am doing, and whilst initially my ego-mind may say “boring!”, I soon get past that and actually begin to enjoy it. With the rowing-machine for instance, I focus on every pull on the “oars” and soon my mind becomes still and it’s paradoxically peaceful, yet energised. I have a description on meditation on my webpage here hhttp://ayrehypnotherapy.com/breathing, for anyone who is interested.

  • Amelia Burton

    Thanks Derek,
    Your description of meditation is very useful and a very powerful training tool. Ironically alot of fitness freaks find sitting still very hard!

  • Montoya Raif

    Hehe, really nice post but if you want to train like a champion you must ate like a champion. Proper nutrition is same important as these 3 whays.

  • Amelia Burton

    Yes Montoya,
    A proper diet is essential and you wont get very far without one! My Blog is exploring the more psychological methods to train like a champ but there are certainly lots of physiological methods as well. Thanks for the insights!

  • Anonymous

    Great Blog Meels, I need to get back excercising some more now the cold has crept in! I can only encourage others to try meditating every day for peace of mind and posotivity, Transcendental meditation has done wonders fo me! Steph.

  • Amelia Burton

    Hi Steph,
    Rug up, harden up, and get on out there! You always feel so proud of having finished a workout in the cold. It shows great discipline. Besides, if it’s that bad you can always come to my club where it’s never raining, and you’ll warm up in no time! Go the transcendental meditation…!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Amelia, I will try to rug up and harden up! Always inspirisng advice. Infact, looking forward to going for a ski this winter as thats great for fitness! Although, I think I should train some more in the meantime! Is yoga any good for fitness levels at all?? : )

  • Amelia Burton

    Yoga is great for flexibility, posture, mind/body balance, strength, and to a certain degree cardiovascular health. However for fitness, by which I assume you mean cardiovascular fitness, you would need to participate in something more aerobic such as running, rollerblading, power walking, swimming etc. 1/2 hour three times per week will have a dramatic effect on your fitness levels, and thus your energy.

  • MarkFu

    I have a positive expectancy that is based on largely on the discipline and success of my workout. Without the discipline and mental fortitude or force of will, I don’t see how you could be a champon.

  • freaky

    Mieles,

    I am loving your work!

    :-)

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