by Fiona HarrisThere is a very important connection between mind and body in any kind of athletic activity, and being an IFBB professional competing in the Women’s Fitness division, I have to deal with this day in and day out. Here are the five components that I feel are most important in building both mental and physical strength:
- Be Purposeful….Give Yourself a Reason to Improve Each and Every Day. Having a goal and a purpose each and every day is vital for any athlete. It fuels our inner fire, drives us to do what we do, and makes it worthwhile to put ourselves through the rigorous training that is required to compete at a competitive level. Every new day is an opportunity for personal evaluation; make an assessment of the previous day and set goals for the future. These goals help us build on personal successes and failures, and move us forward with positivity. For me, goals can range anywhere from setting personal bests on my lifts, to performing a sharp and flawless fitness routine, or from squeezing out that extra rep, to nailing that new fitness skill I've been practicing. These goals are achieved by crushing your previous best and breaking through the barriers that were hit the day before!!!
Commit to The Process. Commitment is key. How many times have you said, "I’ll start that diet tomorrow" or "I can miss my workout today, it won’t be a problem" or "I’ll pass on cardio today and just double up later"? Nothing ever comes to anyone easily, and if it did, it may not be worth it. No matter if you are a pro athlete or just someone who enjoys training and beating your personal best, you need to make that commitment to yourself, and to the process, and stick with it. It’s impossible to build a strong body without dedication and commitment to all aspects of the process with each and every day.
Be Confident in Your Abilities and Sure of Yourself. Confidence breeds success. Every athlete needs to be confident that their hard work and effort is valuable. Confidence is a mentality that achieves results, but ONLY if you're willing to put in 110% effort, set incremental goals and work to beat them, and commit to the process without cheating yourself. Champions are always confident in their abilities and their training. Without confidence in yourself, you’re already defeated.
Take Control of Your Life. Taking control of your life and your situation will bring success. If your goal is to build a strong body, you need to enable yourself to do so. The first steps are finding time to train, setting aside enough hours in the weekend to prep your meals, and sticking to your nutrition and training schedules. Being someone who works full time in a career outside the fitness industry, I am well aware of the daily struggle to fit it all in: late nights in the gym, early morning cardio before work, etc. If what you are building is worth the effort and important to YOU, recognize it and take action. Remember, this body is yours, and yours alone. If your goal is to be healthy and strong, you need to empower yourself to do so from the inside out.
- Translate Inner Courage into Outer Strength. Being courageous is extremely important. It’s not what you achieve, but in essence, it's how you achieved it. The work and effort, the extreme sacrifice, the blood, sweat and tears that are shed each and every day as you push your limits, are all things that make you stronger than yesterday. Win or lose – all that matters is knowing you did everything you possibly could to make yourself successful. Every time that I step on stage, I say to myself, "Leave everything out there, perform at your best, this is your moment!!!"