Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Iron Resiliency, Session 1: Perceptions

Is the left or right
the Photoshopped girl?

In previous posts, I've mentioned mentality is half the battle when it comes to exercise. Thoughts can influence actions to a great degree, but thoughts are internally situated [the self] and there is always more at work - namely the countering external variable [the environment]. Both factors give rise to the perceptions in our mind, but what causes them in the first place?
Self-Caused Perceptions
  • Indirectly caused by your own actions.
  • A bad session in the gym can inadvertently bring your own mood down because you didn't perform as well as you expected OR if you decided to skip working out altogether, you may come to regret it later (perhaps even to an excessive degree).
  • With respect to diet, poor food choices or restraint in your eating can also cause guilt. The question is, "is it appropriate?" There's a difference between one slice of cake once a month versus an entire box of Twinkies once a week.
Environment-Caused Perceptions
  • Typically outside of your own control.
  • Comparing yourself to someone else either based on body image, performance, or ideas/beliefs.
  • Does seeing someone with the figure you want make you feel inferior? Is there a justifiable reason to compare yourself to someone else? Should a reason even be warranted to compare yourself to another person?
  • An example in the second category [performance], you see a person - of similar build to your own - squat your working weight for their warm-up. To see another person toss around what you worked hard with isn't exactly reassuring to your own efforts.
  • Do media sources affect you? Such as celebrities or models on magazine covers. The popularized bodies of Brad Pitt in Fight Club or Spartans in 300 are part of a job. They had to become qualified, by improving their physique, in order to earn their income. Most people's incomes aren't dependent on their physical appearance.
  • How your social circle interacts with the approach you take toward your goals [more on that in session 5] OR others' beliefs imposed on your own. If a girl starts weight training only to be told by her gal pals (who of course aren't in shape themselves) she'll bulk up. She should instead run multiple times a week despite hearing otherwise. Does that mean she's wrong?
It's important to note these behaviors, dependent or independent of yourself, plant certain thoughts in your head which in turn affect how you feel about yourself. They tend to revolve around on your own actions and from our environment by comparison to others in various aspects (image, performance, and beliefs).

You have to be able to detect your self getting caught in these "mind traps" and recognize it before it gets the best of you. Can you remember a time you were hard on yourself for one of the above reasons? Can you explain why it bothered you?

Even if there was a moment you felt guilty, one moment doesn't speak for all your past experiences. One slice of cake isn't a big deal if you've been keeping yourself in check the last few weeks. Someone squatting more than you doesn't undo all your hard work. Progress isn't overnight and look back at how far you've come along.

Much like the rest of life, you should expect a few bumps along the road as travel to your destination [the goal]. The important thing to do is continue forward unabated.

And that folks concludes the first session. Next week in session 2, we'll go a bit more in-depth to challenge negative thoughts. Also I've decided to write up a month long program for the series' conclusion.

But I'll explain more on that when we get there. Until next time!

A bump for Zach Krych

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