Hello again, Kris Stokes from Custom Fitness, your personal trainer back today to talk about utilizing a positive mindset to stay on track. The power of positivity when it comes to making personal change is highly underrated and significantly underused. Do you feel a bit cynical when it comes to thinking of your future slimmer/buffer self or convincing yourself to get moving?  Give us a call, our team would be happy to help you flip that perspective with our evidence based insight: 806-322-3188.

There is a gym in Los Angeles that boasts a different way to workout. When you walk into their space, you won’t see the walls adorned with mirrors or weights. Nor will you notice a slew of equipment.  You will hear calming music and see people sitting on the ground.  Surprisingly, it isn’t a meditation class, but rather a new approach to weight loss. They believe if you just “think” about losing weight, your body will follow suit.  They have a full roster of members who show up not to sweat, but to think.

I will not be the person to tell you that in order to reach your ultimate goals, all you need to do is think positively. That kind of gym does not jive with the research I have seen nor what I have been certified in. But, to each their own. However, I do believe that a positive outlook and positive thoughts can and will be the difference between you staying the course or being derailed.  

In previous articles, we have discussed the limits of your willpower. Willpower will never take you from start to finish when the journey is long and arduous. Willpower will eventually run out and leave you without motivation, ability or desire.  It’s a hard task to find it again once the momentum is gone.

So when willpower fades, what can you do? Let’s begin to talk about the next step: a positive mindset. The positive person looks for opportunities in life and finds them in the most unlikely of places. The positive person can spin something less than positive in a new direction and make “lemonade” with it. The positive person can find a reason to continue pressing forward even when things may not be falling in line with where they “should be”.

We all have this within us, some people are better at utilizing this power of positivity on a daily and continued basis whereas others tend to “dabble” in it at best.

Barbara Fredrickson, a positivity psychologist from the University of North Carolina, has authored a breakthrough paper looking at the correlation between a person’s skills and positive thinking.  She found that when people are faced with an intimidating situation (i.e. end of year reviews, going to workout for the first time in a long time, or presenting in front of a large audience), our brains will interpret our intimidation as a fear response. Thereby stimulating our Fight or Flight response.  Your brain will shut off the world around it and zone in only on the situation in front of you. Determining what you should do next.

Fredrickson says that If we retrain our bodies to see these situations not as foreboding, but as an opportunity for development it will benefit our brains in other areas.  For example, children who actively play on the playground are not stifled by fear that they may fall or could be hurt. Rather they are running (developing athleticism),  they are compromising on which games should be played and how (social skills), and are imagining and playing off of one another (creativity).  Their ability to see past the Fight or Flight is to their benefit.  These children will be able to develop into competitive employees and contributing members of society based on the skills they cultivate during recess.

The author named her findings as the “Broaden and Build Theory” because as you broaden your experiences you are able to build your resources and skills.  Let’s apply this to working out.  Say, you haven’t gone to the gym since high school. Suddenly you notice your body is not exactly what you hoped it would look like at this age (no shame, we’ve all had that moment).  Now you have a choice.  You can try something new, such as signing up with Custom Fitness for a few private sessions a week; feeling a bit vulnerable as you relearn how to help your body help itself  OR you can keep doing what you’ve been doing, hoping including salads in your diet will make the aging fall off.

Reading this, I am going to assume your brain sent a Fight or Flight message to your body when you read the word “vulnerable”.  No one likes to feel like the odd man out.  But, if we take a note from Fredrickson’s paper, that would be interpreting the situation through a fear filter.  Let’s flip it and try again.  You can sign up with Custom Fitness for a few private sessions a week; creating a chance for your body to learn to help itself.  Feel better?  In a society that craves perfection, we need to realize we will not go from zero to perfect overnight. Rather, we should go from zero to growing — perpetually.  

When you have decided to make a positive change in your health, body and / or lifestyle, and it seems this may take a lot of time, this creates a “longer term goal”. Modern society tells us anything beyond 3-4 weeks is a long term goal. This in itself is an opportunity for positivity. Not only will you have the opportunity to make changes within your health, body and lifestyle but those changes will have time to sink in and “stick”.  The more you opportunities you sew, the more skills and resources you will reap.

As you begin the changes necessary to reach your ultimate goal, you will have some points of struggle that when seen through a  different lens might make you feel more motivated to saddle up such as:

Sugar Detox- that lovely time when you’re not sure if it’s the flu, you’re dying or just being flushed of toxic substances from within.  MAKE IT POSITIVE.

The kitchen clean out-That dreadful time when you aren’t really sure yet that you REALLY want  to throw away the chips, cereal and chocolate stash you’ve been holding on to or  you are making a difficult, but positive stride towards your goal. MAKE IT POSITIVE.

As a personal trainer in Amarillo, I have heard many clients complain that they just can’t pull themselves off the couch or away from the computer to go workout.

I would like to remind everyone that the hardest part of getting moving is lacing up your shoes.  

Rather than thinking about this lifestyle change as years of work and sweat, think about it as one small step (e.g. lacing up your sneakers) you are going to do to feel happier and more skilled by the end of the day.  You can do it!

If you would like to begin a new lease on life, give us a call and our trainers will set up a consultation: 806-322-3188 or info@customfitness.biz.  We also offer nutrition counseling, group fitness classes, challenge programs, and of course, customized workouts.  Sound good? We look forward to hearing from you.  At Custom Fitness we are YOUR personal trainers in Amarillo.