Mindset Matters

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Hey Catacombs Family—

I know we are all in the midst of the Catacombs Games. It’s easy to get caught up in the difficulty of the workout or nervous about how it might go. As coaches, we are always willing to offer thoughts on strategy or tips to get your best score on the workout. Today, I’d like to offer some thoughts that apply to getting your best out of ANY workout. You see, how we perceive what we’re doing, the words we use to talk about it, how we assign meaning to what we’re doing, and the intention behind it all matter. Hopefully, it will really make you think twice about your mindset going into an Open workout or even just your daily gym time. This article comes courtesy of Chris Kresser. If you haven’t heard of him, he is one of the pioneers in the functional medicine movement. You can read more from him at chriskresser.com.

We all know that exercise is good for us.

But did you know that your mindset about exercise can make a big difference in how it affects you?

For example, a recent study showed that when people were told they have genes that predispose them to respond poorly to exercise, their bodies start to respond accordingly—even when they don’t have those genes.

On a treadmill test, these people got tired faster than they had before, and they also experienced a decrease in oxygen uptake and lung capacity. All from being told that they’re not cut out for exercise!

In another study (one of my favorites ever), researchers recruited 84 hotel maids. At the start of the study, none of them knew that they were already meeting or exceeding the U.S. guidelines for exercise simply by doing their work each day. Sixty-seven percent of the maids told the researchers that they “didn’t get any exercise.”

The maids were put into two groups. The first group was told that just by doing their job, they burned a lot of calories and got more than enough exercise. The second group didn’t get any information like this.

A month later, researchers were astonished to find that the first group:

  • Lost an average of two pounds

  • Lowered their percentage of body fat

  • Lowered their systolic blood pressure by an average of 10 points

This happened without doing additional exercise outside of work or changing their eating habits! The first group didn’t experience any of these positive changes.

Wow!

This incredible research shows that our beliefs and our awareness—our mindset—can have a significant impact on our bodies and our health.

This means that how we perceive what we’re doing, the words we use to talk about it, how we assign meaning to what we’re doing, and the intention behind it all matter.

How can you put this to use in your own life?

  • Practice gratitude and appreciation for what physical activity you can do, rather than focusing on what you can’t do.

  • Learn more about the benefits of the activities you do. For example, if you do yoga, read up on the research supporting its effects.

  • Set an intention for health and well-being before you exercise or move your body, and try to stay connected to this throughout the activity.

Pretty amazing stuff, right? I think so. See you in the gym with a positive mindset.