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Motivation Articles  ›  Inspiring Stories

Think Yourself Fit!

How Your Thoughts Affect Your Body

-- By Jason Anderson, Certified Personal Trainer
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I love motivational quotes. One of my favorites is, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re probably right!” I believe that there is a lot of truth to that statement. As a runner, I know that if I focus on the fatigue setting in, it seems as though everything goes downhill (or uphill, for a better euphemism). There are also times when, no matter how badly I feel, I tell myself that I am going to make it. That my legs are strong. That I am going to be OK. It's funny, but the positive thoughts are what carry me to the end. And I'm convinced that focusing on the positive instead of the negative makes all the difference.

Mind Over Body
To give you another example of the power of the mind, there were some fascinating findings from a recent study from the University of Cape Town. Researchers examined the muscle biopsies of exhausted marathon runners and found that their muscles had plenty of glycogen and ATP (fuel for muscular contraction). Their conclusion? Fatigue sets in not when muscles run out of energy, but first when the brain tells them to conserve energy. Translation? Your brain tells you to shut down before your body does.

For the average exerciser, this means that your mind can carry you a lot farther than you think! Positive self talk can literally help you think yourself fit.

Develop a Mantra
Author and athlete Chris Bergland insists that projecting a positive attitude can reprogram your brain to enter a euphoric state while exercising, allowing you to go longer and harder. Researchers at Wake Forrest University agree, stating that feelings of pain and fatigue are a result of both immediate and expected events. The best way to fight fatigue is with positive self-affirmations such as, “I am strong. I can do this," and "I am becoming more fit and healthy.” You can develop your own mantra, which you repeat to yourself throughout your workouts. Ironman champion Mark Allen's mantra for competition was "Strong and smooth." Over and over, he would repeat his mantra while he swam, biked and ran. And in moments of great fatigue, his brain took over to push his body to greater heights.

You can develop a mantra too—something positive that you tell yourself during your workouts, to help yourself stay focused and keep your body working hard. Any word (like strong, fast, finish) or set of words will work, as long as it inspires you and is positive in nature.
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About The Author

Jason Anderson Jason Anderson
Jason loves to see people realize the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle. He is a certified personal trainer and enjoys running races--from 5Ks to 50K ultramarathons. See all of Jason's articles.

Member Comments

  • I have never really thought about having a mantra, or when I did I thought it wouldn't work for me. But I have discovered my mantra: achieved goals = greater person. - 7/29/2011 8:29:03 PM
  • I actually tried this the next time I went for a run and it really helps you want to get up and run! These are the most motervational articals ive read. i reccomend that everybody read that artical and i hope it hepls you the way it helped me : )!!! - 5/26/2009 6:18:43 AM
  • knowing this sort of thing can help is really reassuring, so i'm gonna try it and see how it plays out. that article helped me see that being positive during workouts will help, so thanks! - 3/28/2009 12:18:58 AM
  • ill think about that when i workout thanks!! - 3/11/2009 8:57:21 PM
  • LOOPEYGIRL101
    that reli helped me!!!!!!!! i kinda do it already but this will def help :D - 3/10/2009 3:18:15 PM
  • PUTLEELARKEE
    Thank you that helped :D - 1/29/2009 12:31:55 AM
  • Music helps me think positively. I'll mouth the words to songs I refer to as "fighter music" because it keeps me going. I always tell myself I can make it another 2 minutes or 5 minutes and when I reach that goal, I just tell myself I can do it again until I've made it the number of miles I previously envisioned for myself. This article was great. - 1/19/2009 11:13:42 PM
  • Wow, this is an awesome article. A few others I've read use too many facts and just confuse me or make me want to find some other thing to read. I'm actally already thinking more positively, not only about my health/weight-los
    s, but about my school work and other things, too! =) - 5/13/2008 2:05:23 PM
  • CASEY12334
    THIS WAS AN ASWEME ARTICLE I WILL KEEP THIS IN MIND - 4/6/2008 7:05:26 PM
  • CASEY12334
    COOL ILL KEEP THAT IN MIND
    - 4/6/2008 7:03:02 PM
  • HANORE
    OMG!!! This article is amazing!! I think that this will work so im gonna try it the next time i exercise! THX SO MUCH!!! - 4/6/2008 5:57:06 PM
  • BLINK182LOVER
    This article was awesome! I think that it will really help to improve my track times! - 4/6/2008 5:22:04 PM
  • I totally agree with this statement. It seems like when I am on that last mile of my 5 mile run, that I begin to think negatively, and it makes it so much harder to do. But lately I have been thinking really positive and have been making it so much easier. I guess its all just the mindset. - 4/6/2008 1:15:35 AM
  • I totally agree! I'm aspiring to be a model and models are very fit so everytime my body wants to give up, I always imagine myself walking down the runway, or lounging at the beach, and how many complainments I'll get. It always works! - 1/29/2008 10:47:05 PM