Friday, 16 May 2014

On 17:06 by Victoria Stanham   No comments
It took 3 things and none of them had anything to do with being a born and bred athlete (I’m actually more of the nerdy intellectual type).

The 3 things (in sequential-but-overlapping order) are:
1. A fine-tuning of my body-map.
2. A re-learning of muscle activation sequences.
3. A re-framing of my mindset.
Allow me to briefly explain each point.

1. A fine-tuning of my body-map.
Before getting this bit on board, gym instructors, sports coaches, PE trainers, they all would give me endless pointers to correct my execution of the movements, and I would do my best to follow them… but my best wasn’t enough. I was sure I was following instructions (I definitely had them all in mind) but it seemed my body wasn’t getting the memo. So I would try harder, tense up more, put in more effort… and end up hurting all over and still delivering a mediocre output. No wonder I got discouraged.
However, once I learned how to “speak psychophysical” I finally could get my mind and body coordinated so that both did what I wanted them to. This has meant more effectiveness in my movement, and more efficiency in my energy usage.
[Psssst…. If you want to start building your body-map, check out these posts: axila, neck, feet].

2. A re-learning of muscle activation sequences.
Put simply, I needed to learn how to keep the stability of my torso while my limbs are moving, in such a way that my movement reflected more a running cheetah, with super range of motion, and a flexible but stable and strong torso, rather than a zombie walk. It’s all about efficiency, using the right muscles in the right sequences, and for the right purposes. It’s impossible to achieve without a minimum grasp of the body-map. And you need to practice and master it first in low-intensity movements with great precision, before attempting to go all out in speed and effort.

3. A re-framing of my mindset.
During a high-intensity workout you will get tired. Your mind will start playing tricks on you, telling your body “you’ll die if you don’t stop now”. There’s actually more mettle to you than you believe. Knowing your body-mind language you can actually re-orient the conversation. The body can actually go greater distances if the mind will stop blabbering out useless gossip, and instead use its energy to tell the body how to keep proper form, how to be more efficient, how to do less of the unnecessary to do more of the real task at hand.
I love mind games, changes of perception, calling on innercharacters. So during high intensity workouts I put on a different hats, play the “as if…” games I used in theatre training. There are three of you at it: your body, your mind and your conscious attention & direction. Make sure your consciousness is keeping mind and body in order by calling on the right emotional mood for the moment. Play at make-believe like when you were a child, become a horse, a cheetah, a warrior, anything that bring on the right mood, the right psychophysical attitude. It’s fun. It’s effective.

And you… What has made you love your workouts? How do you keep your form under stress?
Tell me. I'm curious.
Victoria

P.S. If you’d like to try this out for yourself, contact me. I can help you with all three steps, and recommend great places and people who can help you get your low-key initial workouts for muscle-tone prep and practice, and then test your mettle at the high-key ones.

P.P.S. If you’ve got joint pain (back, arms, legs) you can still build your way to this. You just need to learn how to get yourself out of the pain, into the shape, and onto the right mindset. 

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