Guide to Progress in the Gym: Do Not Neglect the Power of Mental Aspects

Mental Strength

The Mental power of Success with Fitness is Key

Of course, the sport of bodybuilding isn't all fun and games. We serious-growth mongers have to do our time at hard labor in the gym. We also have to do our homework to gather information on proper training and nutrition. In order to reach the top, bodybuilders must pay their dues both physical and mental. The physical side of training is obvious, but so many men and women in this game totally miss the mental side. I meet would-be bodybuilders every day who train hard but not smart. That why I harp on the need to stress the mental side.

To push your body where you want it to go, you have to have an intelligent, logical plan of attack. Go to any gym in the country, and you can immediately differentiate between the folks who know what they're doing and the ones who are clueless. You can tell by the size and cut of their muscles. The key to achievement is in the head. That realization is the major turning point in any bodybuilder's career. The Kentucky Derby doesn't always go to the swiftest horse, and the physique contest doesn't always go to the strongest athlete or the hardest worker. It goes to the person who combines brains with his or her brawn to maximize results.

The human body is a marvelous creation that exceeds even the most modern machines and computers in so many ways. Standing 300 feet from home plate, an outfielder sees a batter swing and hit the ball. He instantly calculates all the factors, including the height and velocity of the ball and the sound of the bat-to-ball contact and races to the spot where the ball will come down. What combination of machines and computers can do that?

Likewise, a quarterback instantly calculates the speed and direction of the receiver, the location of the defenders and the wind condition, among other factors, and then he calmly delivers a pass. Given just the right touch, the ball loops over a defender into the hands of the flanker. Or how about a batter who has a split second to determine the speed, spin and location of a pitched ball in order to intersect its line of travel with a rounded wooden object, the bat? It should be impossible, but it isn't. Athletes in all sports perform such feats on a daily basis.

Highly trained athletes can do some amazing things, but so can every other human on the face of the earth. Some of the amazing things we do, we take for granted. For example, stop to think for a moment about the complexity of a simple task like tossing something into a wastebasket. Although you don't consciously think about it, your brain has to calculate such factors as the distance to the wastebasket, the weight, size, shape and aerodynamics of the object to be thrown, the angle of flight and the velocity.

Learning: The Human Advantage

Now do we accomplish these complex things so easily that we don't give them a second thought? The answer is that the human body, thanks to its great brain power and high-efficiency nervous system, can learn and adapt. Little Leaguers don't drift under fly balls as major leaguers do, because their bodies and minds have not yet learned to adapt to the dynamics of the fly ball. Young, inexperienced quarterbacks usually throw the most interceptions, not because they're physically inferior, but because they don't have the knowledge yet.

Beginning weight trainees often make a lot of progress right away. Is it because they're suddenly make strength gains? Sure, beginners get stronger, but that's only one part of the story. The brain, nervous system and muscles all work together to figure how to lift the load. It's not all strength; it's adaptation and learning within the body.

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