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Learn to Use The Power of Your Mind to Accelerate Your Weight Loss and Fitness Results
By: Cindy Brotherston, CFT

You might wonder what mind power has to do with fitness, health and weight loss, after all, isn't it all about what you eat and how much you exercise?

Eating and exercise are certainly two thirds of the equation, but the remaining component is in your head, literally!

Motivation, desire, expectation and visualization are key concepts that, when understood and utilized, can be powerful ammunition that will accelerate your results.

Motivation to exercise and lose weight is probably what brought you to this page in the first place. However, maintaining or renewing your motivation to exercise can be a fleeting thing. It's all too easy to become discouraged. There are a few tips on this subject in our article on motivation to exercise. Now I want to describe how mind power can drastically affect the speed and results of your fitness/weight loss program.

If you've never read Deepak Chopras' views and explanations of the mind-body connection in such books as 'Quantum Healing' or 'The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire' you should really consider doing so. His explanations of mind power are very involved and insightful, much more so than I'll write here as he has written whole books on the concept. This is really powerful stuff!

Expectation and visualization are not often mentioned in fitness programs but they should be as mind power, or the influence of the mind over the body is much stronger than most people realize.

When you focus the power of your mind on the goal you seek, you will begin to influence the events that will produce the desired results.

Sounds a little like magic but this power of positive thinking has worked in documented cases involving advanced and 'incurable' cancer (as well as other diseases) to spontaneously cause the body to heal itself when conventional medicine had failed.

Why not direct this power toward all of your goals?

I am going to give you some instructions on how to use this 'mind power', which everyone possesses but few take advantage of, to reach your fitness and weight loss goals.

* Draw a clear picture of your goals.

Your purpose (goal) in persuing a fitness plan should be written down. -eg- I will again be able to fit into a size 4 dress..(yeah right!, like I ever could!) or losing 15 lbs of fat or gaining the necessary strength or endurance to enter a competition. Your goals will be individual and they will be moving targets, that is when you achieve them (and you will) you set your sites on a new goal. The clear expectation that you will achieve your goals is a necessary part of 'mind power' so repeat it out loud every day.

* Adjust from mere hoping and wishing to 'Expectation'.

Goals and program firmly in hand, your desire to achieve your goals become an expectation. You will drop that 25lbs., you will again fit into that favourite dress, you will do what is necessary to land that job (you see, this technique works for all areas of your life). This positive mindset goes beyond desire and represents your commitment to succeed.

* Visualization

Here's where mind power really shines and it's kind of fun. Paint an image in your mind of what you will look like and perform like upon reaching your goals. Take a 'before' picture to hang on fridge and visualize what the 'after' picture will look like. Focus on that vision with intense concentration and do it often, everyday in fact.

Clear goals, expectations and visualization will all help to create and sustain the drive to push forward. The war is won one battle at a time and you will win!

* Discipline

Ah, that naughty word, the lack of which causes many to falter. As failure is not an option in this scenario, you are going to follow the program faithfully. (don't worry, it's not that difficult) You will set aside the time each day that is best for you to workout and it will become your own religion. After a couple of weeks you will find that it becomes a habit and that is the key! Keep that vision in your mind. Remember that discipline will make the difference between success and failure.

* Practice, Practice, Practice!

Ok, this visualization and mind power thing might seem a little far fetched, but ask anyone who practices meditation and you will learn of increased ability to focus and decreased stress in addition to many other benefits. Ask how often they practice meditation and most will respond 'daily'.

Every day you should set aside a short time to quietly put your mind power to work. Do it before your regular workout session if possible. Think of it is a form of meditation, almost self-hypnosis that will help you maintain your focus and reinforce your motivation. Sit quietly, relax your thoughts and body (don't fall asleep), clear your head of the days chaos and concentrate on that body that will be yours. Absorb yourself in your visualization firmly believing it will come to pass.

And it will!

About the Author

Cindy Brotherston is an ISSA Certified Fitness Trainer and YMCA Fitness Instructor
Find more of Cindy's articles at or see the new Exercise Index at

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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape


Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.

Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:

Dave Snape

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