The Best of Intentions
The Older I Get, The More I Believe
That my brain is a very powerful tool that can be used either for my benefit, or my demise. I’ve noticed that if I focus on something I really want and hold that focus until I’ve created an un-relenting desire that my mind will figure out how I can attain that which I want.
I’ve also long believed that my mind plays a significant role in my exercise. It’s lazy, or at least maintains a vested interest in preserving my body. My mind will give up long before my body will, and I’ve always wondered how I could train my mind to push this line of preservation farther back and what that would look like. What would it look like if 100 burpees didn’t immediately make me frown? What if my mind thought that was no big deal? And what application would this have to the rest of my life?
Obviously the mind is one piece
We have physiological limitations, and we have to be mindful of those when we exercise. I’m not trying to say that if I wanted to deadlift 650 pounds all I would need to do would be to train my mind to think that was possible. The mind is one (I believe very large) piece in our physical fitness.
Ever heard of the Central Governor Theory
Proposed way back in the 1920’s by one Archibald Hill and more recently brought to attention by Dr. Tim Noakes, the Central Governor Theory states that the output of our muscular units during exercise is continually regulated and adjusted according to calculations made by our brains in regards to a safe level of exertion.
So basically, our brains or central governors limit how hard we can exert ourselves by limiting the neural recruitment of our muscle fibers.
My opinion is that there must be some validity
The example I immediately think of is Sir Roger Bannister running the sub 4 minute mile, something that was thought to be impossible for some time. Once Sir Bannister did it, many other runners did over the next couple of years. The argument can be made that once it was proven to be possible, then psychologically other runners with similar physiological makeup could accomplish the feat.
Dr. Noakes makes some observations
Very interesting ones (in this article) in regards to his theory. He claims that all the symptoms we have during exercise are generated by our own brains, and they are independent of everyone else’s.
“My view is that the sensations of discomfort are the way the brain regulates the performance. The symptoms are utterly, completely illusory. They are generated by the brain and they have nothing to do with the state of the body at that time. They only are related directly to how close you are to the finish.”
Now like I said earlier
I’m not going to compete with a professional athlete just by changing the way that my brain operates. Wish it was that easy, but it’s not. But, biologically an athlete such as Usain Bolt probably isn’t greatly biologically superior to the other runners he competes with, his advantage may lie within his psychology and this is what provides him with the ability to dominate his sport.
Note: In Bolt’s case, I’ve also heard the argument made that he’s trained himself how to run better and that coupled with his biology and psychology make him superior.
The point is that on some level we can only push our biological limits so far (maybe), but once we have that dialed in the difference maker then becomes our minds.
The applicability for us all
No matter how fit we think we are, we’re going to feel some discomfort when we exercise. But when you see the workout of the day on the board (or at the bottom of this post at night) start to visualize it in your mind. Anticipate the feelings of discomfort you know you’re going to have to deal with and tell your mind that you’ll move past those without stopping.
Think about your goals. If the workout has pullups are you going to do banded pullups, ring rows, or are you going to try some full body weight ones? If there’s a lift what weight might you use?
Know all this before even starting, and my estimation is that your central governor will allow you to move through the workout utilizing a little more of your body’s capability. Worth a shot anyway….
The O-Board Says…
In a 10 Minute Window
1 Mile Run
Max Hang Power Cleans w/ Remaining Time
Rest Until the 15:00 Minute Mark
Post by Stets; @stetsonramey