Is there an area in your life from self-esteem to sex, from your money to your honey, from work to weekends, that isn’t improved with being fit and healthy? Duh, we know the answer and that’s a big motivation for why, although it sucks, you work out.
It’s also a big motivation for why Anytime Fitness-Anytime Health, are as committed as they are to your health, self-esteem, wellbeing and good fortune, brought me on the team as Chief Behavioral Scientist. There’s not a pro athlete who’s on top that doesn’t boast about having a behavioral and mental performance coach in their posse. Now you do too!
It’s Not All About Weights and Cardio
The behavioral sciences in fitness and sports have matured excitingly over the last 40-50 years, teaching everyday fitness enthusiasts, aspiring athletes, people who spend as little time in the gym as they possibly can and still maintain health, and NFL/MLB celebrity athletes and Olympians the mental skills necessary to enhance their performance, become more physically active and adhere to a healthy lifestyle.
In upcoming articles, I’ll coach, educate, and teach you the essential skills you need to improve and embrace fitness adherence to live better, healthy lives, fit and happy. We’ll talk about ways to replace negative, unhelpful mindsets with trust and self-confidence, and show you how to increase motivation you can count on in exercise, nutrition, and healthy daily lifestyle choices. You’ll get straight talk to help you achieve your fitness and health goals. From improving health to enhancing fitness and increasing performance, the finest tool you will ever rely on, is your mind.
I’m a huge fan of John Wooden, the beloved and acclaimed UCLA basketball coach and quote him often. Indulge me: “Happiness is in many things. It’s in love. It’s in sharing. But most of all, it’s in being at peace with yourself knowing that you are making the effort, the full effort, to do what is right.” When it comes to fitness and health, it all beings with the letter “A” which, in this case, stands for “adherence.” The next time you look at your Anytime Fitness sign, remember that letter A probably stands for adherence.
Most folks start and stop exercise, proper nutrition, and other healthy lifestyle activities. We’re just normal. In fact, it’s probably abnormal to start and maintain a structured exercise or weight loss program and never have a setback.
It’s time to begin thinking like a winner. After all, as I often tell my clients, “the link is what you think.” Learn that!
Here are five tools behavioral science offers to help you increase motivation and adherence and think like a winner:
- Visualization—before you begin exercising, start your day off, or anticipate a tough talk with your boss, take a moment and simply “see” yourself in plenty of detail to mentally rehearse and train your mind for each step along the way before it happens.
- Present tense—in the midst of your 30 minutes at the gym, be focused on those 30 minutes instead of reviewing what you didn’t do yesterday or erroneously believe you “can’t” do, in your next set of exercises.
- Think accurately, including regularly re-assessing—think about you can do, not what you believe you cannot do. Negative thinking, inaccurately describing yourself as a loser, incapable, or hopeless is a) not proven by any evidence you or anyone else has, and b) sabotages your performance. Re-assessing, or a taking a reality check, is a smart way to check your progress. Consider using a trainer to help your re-assessment.
- Stay calm and carry on—recall a time when you were fully relaxed. Conjure it up fully and completely. See? Regardless of what is actually taking place, you can take your mind to a calmer place. Breathe deeply, let your muscles fully relax, and enjoy the picture in your mind.
- Accurately track your exercise/nutrition—it’ll help you create self-discipline, expand your self-awareness and mindfulness, and will enhance motivation.
Well, that’s our first coaching session. I’m looking forward to tackling topics of interest to you, so please be sure to let me know what questions you have.
Michael R. Mantell, Ph.D.
Chief Behavioral Scientist