Beyond the Body: How Fitness and the Brain Serve Each Other

Self esteem, psyching up, and life lessons. These are all ways that fitness interacts with our minds beyond the physical scope of the gym.

As an athlete, you know that the mental state you bring into the gym has a huge impact on your performance. But it goes the other way, too. How you are and what you learn in the gym can impact your life as a whole. And subtle things about how your brain works can be tricked into helping you perform better.

It’s a fabulous circle of chemistry and psychology, hormones and happiness. This week’s picks are all about the back-and-forth between your mind and your body.

Editor’s Picks

The Fitness Existentialist: It Starts With You

Fitness expert and philosopher Shannon Khoury invites you to turn down the big volume knob in your brain when it comes to all the noise emanating from the Internet. Only Shannon says it in way more funny and clever ways than I just did, so read her article or risk being a jive turkey.

The 6 Most Important Things Martial Arts Taught Me About Life

I’m a big proponant of children studying the martial arts. And while martial arts does have a lot of great physical benefits, there are also an immense number of emotional, social, and psychological benefits. Coach Eric C. Stevens explains the impact martial arts has had on his life.

Why I Hope to Lose All My Clients

My Brazilian jiu jitsu coach always said he’d know he was successful in teaching a student when they tapped him out. Coach Patrick McCarty shares a similar outlook about success being bigger than the physical or monetary trappings surrounding fitness. It’s about seeing your students achieve a realization of what they pictured in their minds, or perhaps never even knew to picture before they met you.

7 Ways to Build Real Self-Esteem in Youth Athletes

Mental strength isn’t just for adults. In this article from kids coach Jeanne Goodes, seven ways to help kids develop positive and productive self-esteem are outlined. No matter what sport your child plays, or even if he or she does not play sports, these seven tips can go a long way in building a strong self image.

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Using Powerful Body Language Can Increase Your Actual Power

How you move can directly impact how you perform in the gym, but not in the way you think. Pyschologist Craig Marker shares some science with us about how aggressive body language can actually translate into a change in your physiology – that results in bigger lifts and more power.

Science Says Imagery Is a Powerful Psych-Up Tool

And how you think can impact your performance, as well. In new research explained by strength and conditioning expert Doug Dupont, scientists took a look at sprinters who pysched themselves up using imagery – and got faster.

Photo 1 courtesy of Shutterstock.

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