Thursday, January 10, 2013

So You Train Your Body - Do You Train Your Brain?

We lift, we press, we pull, we sprint, we climb, we sweat, we TRAIN HARD!  We sculpt strong well defined bodies, but how many of us remember to train our brain?

Now I'm not talking about doing endless amounts of sudoku puzzles, studying vector calculus, and trying to solve the Kobayashi Maru. (Oh shit!  Did she just make a Star Trek reference?)  I'm talking about training your brain to benefit your fitness endeavors.


One of the biggest struggles physique athletes face is getting a grip on their diet.  There are a ton of ways to diet your body down to compete or for shoots, are to just plain look good.  Finding the diet that works for you is step one, actually sticking to it is step two.  If you've never attempted a competition diet, let me tell you!  Mentally.  You're denying your body of natural urges, not always eating when you're hungry, not succumbing to cravings.  One thing you mentally have to train your brain is to know the differences between hungry, thirsty, bored, and craving.  Easiest way I've found of doing this, is simply to wait!  Drop whatever you're doing, drink some water and distract yourself for 5 minutes.  After that time is up, are you still hungry?  Usually not, just bored or craving.  If those 5 minutes are up and you are still legitimately hungry, reach for some veggies!  I like to opt for cucumbers because their high water content keeps my belly full.  If you're craving, it's definitely more difficult.  For me, I try to distract myself as much as possible. Watching a movie or tv allows your mind too much room to wander back to food, so try calling a friend, reading a book, playing a game.  I like to text the guy I have a ridiculous school girl crush on, because he usually tells me he's craving baked goods too, and that we don't need them, and then he'll change the subject so that we're not talking about food.  Works every time!


You messed up on your diet, you ate a cookie... or 12.  You meant to grab 2 almonds and ate 2 handfuls.  Just one little bitty spoonful of Nuts-N-More chocolate almond butter turned into eating the entire jar.  (Yes, these are all things I've done.)  So go to the gym and hop on the stair monster for an hour and burn off those extra calories, right? 

-Knock knock.
-Who's there?
-You... and you are SO WRONG!

Why are you so unbelievably wrong? Punishment cardio is training your mind to think you can delete a mistake with extra cardio.  It's telling yourself "Oh I can eat whatever I want because I can just un-eat it with extra cardio."  You're training your brain to do it again!  So what should you do?  NOTHING.  You messed up.  Oops.  Move on.  Feel the guilt for a bit, let it remind you that you don't want to do that again.  And then just move on.  One mistake isn't going to throw you off.  Several mistakes will!  So don't train your brain to think those mistakes are okay, train yourself to not make them again!


Do what your trainer tells you to do and ignore the unsolicited advice of others.  You'll hear that from a lot of people.  But do you ever bother to take the time to find out WHY your trainer makes you do what you do?  Why do you have to drink so much water?  Why aren't you eating fat pre and post workout?  What are those delicious BCAA's doing?  Why is that 619 Muscle protein such an awesome option for post workout protein?  Why does my muscle recover so much quicker when I eat Betancourt Nutrition's Glutamine Chewies?  Train your brain!  Learn the answers to these questions.  Consistency is the main key to progress, and when we know why we're supposed to do certain things, that consistency becomes so much easier!

So take the time to train your brain, it will only make your body better!