Numerous studies have been completed verifying a mind-body connection in regards to every physical activity. This is not hard to imagine since our physical body is controlled by the movements our brain decides. The biggest thing to take away from these studies is how it will affect your training.
Lift more through visualization
Have you ever visualized something you were about to do and completed that task smoother then if you simply winged it? Thats because your mind has focused on the task and completed it as a top priority without any distraction. Pro athletes use visualization all the time to enhance their play. Visuallizing a hit ,or a play, or a complete game is not uncommon.
The best way to utilize this is to take 15-30 seconds before beginning an exercise session or specific activity and visualize what it is you are about to do. This 15-30 seconds has been shown as optimal to make the connection for your task. Anything longer may be helpful but does not create a significant increase from the initial visualization. For instance, if you are going to do 20 squats but have only been able to do 15 before, visualize your body squatting, the movement, the powerful explosive up thrust. Doing this for 15-30 seconds has been shown to prime the brain and therefore the muscles for the task it is about to complete. By doing this you will see gains in whatever exercise or activity you are engaging in.
Power of positive thinking
If you walk in to any book store you will find a million books on positive thinking. The secret or any number of books like it will tell you to think of what you want and it will come true. While these books are hard pressed for real evidence it is factual when it comes to things your physical body can accomplish. When you are exhausted, be it from a run, a swim meet, a game, an exercise circuit, you feel as though you are wiped out, you couldn't possibly do any more. This is not true. Most people never reach their full potential or reach a platuea that can not be broken.
Hiring trainers is a perfect example of how a person can be pushed to the next level. Trainers push you harder then you would yourself. Naturally, your body does not want to do a lot of hard, stressful work but your brain tells it to. This same affect can be produced by yourself. Again, using the example of squats, you will actively need to tell your brain and therefore your body what you are going to accomplish. If you are attempting to reach 20 squats, then do it. When you hit 18 and your legs are burning with lactic acid, this is when you need to tell your brain that you WILL COMPLETE 2 MORE REPS! Don't be surprised when you actually hit 20, just tell your body to do one more.
Tricking your body into doing the work is a method that has shown results. Hit your goal and then just like a personal trainer would do, tell your body that you are doing 5 more reps. Even if you know you are going to do this your body will be thrown off and this is exactly how gains are made, by challenging muscles. Give these body-mind connection tricks a try and see if they get you All the Way Fit. Enjoy.