Brain Power - Rewire for Inspiration
By Christine Ardigo MSRD
Is this your typical scenario?
You made it to the gym despite your boss degrading you this afternoon. You put your gym clothes on, ate a Greek yoghurt with raspberries, refilled your water bottle and loaded your iPod with inspiring music. You start your first set of lunges and by the seventh rep you struggle to finish, ultimately giving up.
Or you wake with the plan of ordering that veggie omelette at work. You drink a bottle of water on the way, bypass the free samples of blueberry muffin pieces they entice you with as you enter the cafeteria and ignore the cinnamon wafting from the French toast, only to end up grabbing a bagel with cream cheese.
Each day we rise with good intentions but what sabotages us? Unfortunately, it’s our own mind. The organ responsible for all our body’s major functions cannot gear us to make the right decisions. Why?
Are friends convincing you it’s okay to cheat? Do family members insult your disciplined ways? Is that plate of brownies tempting you? More importantly, are you physically incapable of banging out three more reps? Truly starving? Tired? Weak?
The majority of the time the answer is no, but something triggers your mind to follow the wrong path. We believe this organ that keeps us alive. Why wouldn’t we? Years of listening to our peers, surrounding ourselves with unsupportive friends and hearing insults that we’re not good enough causes us to believe we can’t do something. Even when we receive a compliment we doubt it and convince ourselves it’s not true.
What can you do?
Did you ever break up with an unsupportive boyfriend? Ditch a jealous friend? Stand up to your condescending boss? Felt pretty good, eh? Then start doing that to your negative thoughts. Yell at them. Tell them off. Give them the boot.
We fight for our children, our rights and we need to fight against our mind until we win. Winning at something difficult is empowering. It becomes a game when we challenge something and succeed. You’ll want to see how many battles you can conquer.
To socialise with health-conscious individuals is not always possible. Our only choice is to wage war. Imagine having a brain that guides you to make the healthiest portion-controlled food choices or pushes you to complete those last few reps?
Find a plan
I discovered the power in talking back to my thoughts. I found myself in the gym the other day on the sixth rep on the lat pull-down machine, ready to give up. My mind told me it was too heavy, why try to finish? But then I thought: was I really at the point of failure on rep six? Or were my lungs reaching for more breath, or my hands cramping? As I worked against the negative forces, I realised my back wasn’t anywhere near exhaustion, lactic acid wasn’t building up. I talked myself through the last four reps by focusing on the fact that my back was still strong and ready for more. I closed my thoughts to everything except my back muscles.
Then I strolled into the cafeteria, set on my salad with grilled chicken, but the aroma of the loaded tacos summoned me. My brain convinced me I was starving and the salad wouldn’t be enough. Initially I was angry and felt I deserved a hot meal. But then I found humour in all this and walked past the hot entrée without looking, and filled my plate with salad. I shouted to myself (quietly) that I wasn’t starving to death, I would be satisfied with the salad once I finished and needed to find patience within me to know in the end I would be content.
Be your own personal trainer and shout “I can do this!” Pick a heavier weight, do another two reps, run a little faster on the treadmill. Prove your brain wrong.
Surprise yourself. Be your own dietitian and scream “I’m not listening to you, I know what’s right and stop tempting me!” Don’t just ignore the negative thoughts, attack them. Let them know who’s in charge and with each small battle won, you will see that one day you win the war.
After taking Biology 1 in college and not wanting to take Biology 2, I stumbled upon a nutrition class and instantly fell in love. Three chemistry classes and two more biology classes later, I received a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition. I followed with a Masters in Exercise Physiology and five years ago obtained my certified personal trainer degree from ACE. My other passion is for writing and I love to pool them all together.
When I’m not lifting weights or writing, I love rock climbing. Reaching the top of the mountain in everything I do is extremely important to me. I ran my first Spartan Race and did a Mud Run with my 14-year-old daughter this summer. I love teaching my daughters to experience the world by getting them out of their comfort zone. There are countless ways to live a fulfilling life while having fun! For more information see http://christineardigo.com/
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