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guy lifting plateThe phrase “mind over matter” has been associated with everything from paranormal activity to religion and meditation. However, this concept can be used in training as well to further our bodies to the goals which we hope to achieve. The key word there is “goals” and that should always be a starting point in all aspects of life. Without goals, we have nothing to work towards. As far as training is concerned, goals are going to differ from person to person and may change within the individual as they progress. Some want to be stronger, while others want to be faster, while others want to be healthier, etc. And it is often wise to have a balance of many of these training goals, but it still always begins with goals.

Once your goals are set, you need a plan and motivation to keep going. Setting goals and a game plan are fairly easy tasks, but remaining motivated is the tricky part and where we must embrace the power of “mind over matter”. Right now we are headed into the holiday season where there will be overindulgence in food and alcohol, cold weather (depending on where you live), and crowded gyms as the New Year’s resolution crowd shows up for a few weeks at the start of January and then disappears until the following year. This is in addition to the million and one other reasons that anybody can make for not training and sticking to their plan to reach their goals. Motivation is not something that can be taught or given to another either. It is something that we must find in ourselves and use it to drive our bodies out of our comfort zones. There will be bad days and setbacks and just life in general, but we must always keep on moving forward and motivating ourselves from within.

A lot of times, motivation only requires you to show up at wherever it is that you train and to start training, but this is not always the case. I see people every day in the gym doing the same three sets of ten reps at the same weight that they were at last year and will probably be doing next year. They feel some accomplishment by showing up, but they are not really progressing. Goals and the plan to get there should be plastic and constantly changing, because our bodies acclimate to change quickly. The “matter” is our bodies and what they are capable of. If our minds believe they are only capable of doing three sets of ten at a certain weight, then that is what our bodies are going to do, but if we believe (honestly believe!!!) that we can do more, then we can and we will. There are of course reasonable limits, so please don’t throw every plate in the gym on the squat bar and then come and blame me! We need to always use reason, but we are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. The biggest hurdle in our way is our own mindset and what we believe we can and cannot do, so change your mind and your body will follow.