Wednesday 29 April 2020

How to Engage Mentally During a Disrupted Season

By Lesley Timbol (Adapted from Dr. Patrick Cohn at Peak Performance Sports, LLC.)

COVID-19 has posed a challenge for all people throughout the world. People from all walks of life are faced with adversity created by the coronavirus pandemic.

The bodybuilding world is also in a state of disarray and it's not just the pros dealing with tough times. Whether you’re a competitor or a gym rat, your commitment to training may be called into question with your beloved gym being closed.

With the competitive season hanging in the balance and social distancing in effect, what are you doing to stay in shape and be prepared for the moment you are back in the gym? I mentioned in a previous blog about home workouts. Suffice it to say go check out YouTube home workouts and you’ll see a plethora of options, regardless if you have any gym equipment.

While staying in shape physically has its challenges, mental training is available to you at all times of the day. Mental training will keep you prepared and mentally sharp for when the season reconvenes. Now is an opportune time to take advantage of your time and fully delve into mental training.

One of the most effective strategies to engage your mind and activate your body is visualization. Visualization is mentally experiencing an athletic event in your mind through the use of images in conjunction with your other senses. When you visualize you are both the director and the actor. In other words, you are consciously directing the images and the outcome...And you are the person performing the actions in the visualization experience. For example, you can visualize having the best physique and conditioning and standing on centre stage on show day. Prior to the visualization, you want to create a script in your head, i.e., going through the poses (quarter turns, mandatories) to provide direction while visualizing the event. In addition to creating the scene, you want to live the scene in your mind...what you would feel, see, hear, smell, taste and think.

Visualizing positive outcomes and the feelings associated with those outcomes keeps your mind and body sharp. Visualization is a tool practised by Olympians and other top athletes so bodybuilders can benefit from this skillset as well.

Tips for Effective Visualization

Be Patient--It can be difficult to hold images in your mind. Stay patient, you will get better with more practice.

Be Vivid--Add as many details as you can to provide a "real feel" to your visualization sessions.

Be Positive--Make sure you "see" yourself producing positive outcomes.

Visualization is a great tool to keep you in shape mentally by engaging your mind thus leading to the appropriate physical preparation.

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