Team Mind Strong Athlete Focuses on Mindfulness

mentaltraining2This week in the Team Mind Strong Athlete Members area we are focusing on mindfulness as well as anxiety reduction and relaxation. I know I am like a broken record with this thing. But the truth of the matter is once we master mindfulness, we can master any mental skill. If we want to be able to visualize our goals, regulate our emotions, streamline our focus, or let go of what is out of our control, the key step is mindfulness.

Just like when you start your diet, you first get rid of the cookies and junk food. That is the way I see mindfulness, an important foundation to our upcoming mental skills.

I have added a video and audio practice on mindfulness and I also have videos and worksheets. the worksheets will first help you to assess your anxiety level, second, establish your current relaxation resources, and create new ones, and finally to help you focus on what is important, controlling the controllables.

Feel free to email me any or all of your worksheets and I will provide you email feedback. For coaching clients we will discuss in our next coaching call the worksheets and how we will be incorporating those into your mental training program.

And if you are not already a member, what are you waiting for? Team Mind Strong Athlete is the only contest prep team that focus not only on your body but your mind.

Here is what I do specifically, I help figure, bikini and physique athletes who struggle with confidence, body image and distorted thoughts, and instead want to feel empowered, self-assured and mentally strong.

Check out the focus of the week here:
https://mindstrongathlete.com/focus-of-the-week-mindfulness

Time to Get in the Zone

Getting in the zone; in the fitness world we call that flipping the switch. Which is ironic since so much prep work needs to really happen ahead of time it seems like a switch is being flipped. In reality we are going over in our head all the ways in which said switch should be flipped. It is a mental game and a major struggle. Why? Often times we can’t seem to find the switch to flip.

Today I posted a short video in my private Facebook group a little mental exercise on flipping the switch. By the way, if you are not a part of my group and you are interested in taking your mind and body to the next level, you will want to add yourself to the group. Here is that link:

Step 1: How do you know you are not in the zone? The way you know you are not in the zone is that you have been there before, so we do have something to compare it to. Write out all the ways in which you know you are not in the zone:

a. What are you saying to yourself in regards to your workouts, your food prep, your cardio, your body, etc?

b. What pictures are you making in your mind’s-eye? Do you have an image in your mind of looking shredded? Or are you picturing yourself sleeping in and getting a little bit more rest?

c. How do you feel? How is your posture, is it upright or slouched over? How much energy do you have? How fast are you walking? Do you have a spring in your step?

Step 2: Recall a time that you knew you were in the zone.

a. What were you saying to yourself in regards to your workouts, your food prep, your cardio, your body, etc?

b. What pictures were you making in your mind’s-eye? Did you have an image in your mind of looking shredded? Or were you picturing yourself sleeping in and getting a little bit more rest?

c. How did you feel? How was your posture, was it upright or slouched over? How much energy did you have? How fast were you walking? Did you have a spring in your step?

Step 3: Try on a sample from your zone experience right now. The easiest is to try on the auditory. What were you saying to yourself when you were in the zone? Say that now. Now change your posture. Now change the images to match the type of images you had when you were in the zone.

I hope you enjoy this technique and find it helpful. Remember to join my private group for more videos and updates on mental skills.

Until next time,

Nancy Georges

IFBB Figure Pro
Contest Prep Coach
Mental Game Coach

How To Win Every Competition

 

AdobeStock_77581987.jpeg

The Mental Game of Winning

Fitness, Figure, Bodybuilding, Bikini Competitors
(applicable to other sports as well)

Every competitor has the goal of winning a competition. The problem is, only one athlete walks away with the overall title. So how do you make sure that every competition you enter, you win? One way to make sure you win is to set up a variety of goals. I like to have the goal of winning, obviously, but I also like to include goals that are within my control.

One of the greatest boosts to self-confidence for sport is feeling like you have control over your process. I like to set goals for my level of conditioning, communication with others during contest prep, mental skill that I want to work on, level of focus in my workouts, feeling joyful about the process, eating my meals on schedule daily, weekly and monthly and more. All of these goals we have control over.

When we feel in control of our process, we get to win every day! The outcome of the competition is almost irrelevant, but I have never had a good journey that did not have a good ending. Creating goals throughout the competition process, whether that be for three months or six months, is a great way to enjoy and win every step of the way. At the end of the day, we are challenging ourselves to become a better version of who we are. That does not get measured for twelve weeks, it only gets measured one time, on one day. Here are some ideas for setting winning goals

Setting Winning Goals

1. Set Outcome Goals: An outcome goal is the result of your efforts. The most popular outcome goal for competitors is to win. I like to make other outcome goals such as surpassing the level of conditioning I was at in previous competitions. Sometimes I like to make outcome goals of meeting a certain amount of competitors at the show that I connect with. Outcome goals are the easiest to set, but keep in mind there are other outcomes to measure besides winning. Shorter range outcome goals include hitting target weight, measurement and body fat markers, being able to do a certain amount of cardio, having a specific amount of strength and endurance for your workout. Most outcome goals can be measured by, you guessed it, the outcome.

2. Set Performance Goals: Much of our performance is in the gym, therefore our pre-performance is very important. Eating our food on schedule, taking our supplements, and drinking the proper amount of water each day are all performance goals so to speak. We have an interesting sport that unlike many others, needs to be thought about throughout the day in order to create success. When we set and meet goals of eating our food on schedule, not skipping meals or snacking, this is the foundation for creating the physique of a champion. We will not get to our outcome if we do not have this setup. I like to make daily and weekly goals for how many workouts I will do, how many cardio sessions, as well as when or if I will have a treat meal. Other performance goals include contest day, how you will do on stage, which can also be broken down into smaller daily and weekly goals.

3. Set Procedural Goals: Procedural goals are perhaps the most overlooked goals. In our sport it is important for our shape to have a certain look to it, for that reason, it is important to create goals within our training that change the process of the workout in order to hit the muscle more effectively. I spend a lot of time with my clients viewing videos of their form, to make sure that not just the exercise is being done, but it is also being done in such a way as to maximize the look of the muscle. This is one example of a procedural goal. There is also a most effective breathing that goes with the workout depending on what you are doing, you can set goals very specific in this way to improve your effectiveness in the gym. It seems micromanaging, but it really is the difference that makes a difference. Everybody works out, but at the end of the day it is how you go about doing it, that matters.

4. Set Short, Medium and Long-Term Goals: When goal setting, many athletes focus simply on the outcome of getting to the stage and winning, but they don’t consider the wins they can be creating every week and every day. Break your goals down into short, medium and long-term goals. For our sport, I find it useful to have daily goals, weekly goals and a long term competition goal. My daily goals will often include for example: 5 minutes of mindfulness, 40 minutes of AM cardio, weight workout, eating my meals on schedule, having a positive attitude, feeling grateful for the process. Those might be my goals for the day. When I nail down the mindfulness for example, I may add the next day 5 minutes of visualization and have different behavioral goals depending on how my day was before that. When I lay my head on my pillow at night and I know I have had a successful day based on my goals; that is a win! I get a trophy. Do that over and over each and every day and I can’t guarantee you will win, but I can guarantee, you will feel like a winner!

5. Visit Your Goals Often and Be Open to Change Them: Having the flexibility to change goals is as important as setting the goal itself. Most often I find we think that something will take less time than it actually does. Be open and flexible to change your show date, increase or decrease performance and process goals and to in general be flexible to re-assess to see if you are still on target for the date you have selected. Many athletes feel like a failure if they change the date of their show. Nonsense! If you need more time, create more time by re-adjusting your goals. There will always be another show, so why not move forward toward your goals with success every step of the way? Win every day!

I am sure you have thought of other goals to include. If you want, create a list of short, medium and long-term outcome, performance and process goals. Then pick the most important one to work on. Once you have mastered that, move on to the next goal, while keeping the previous goal in check. This is a fun way to have a good contest prep, not just for the day of the show, but for the entire journey.

Nancy
http://www.nancygeorges.com

References:

Hanton, S., Mellalieu, S., & Williams, J. (2013). Understanding and managing stress in sport. In   J.M. Williams & V. Krane (Eds.), Applied sport psychology: Personal growth to peak performance (p. 207-234). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Pope-Rhodius, A. (2016, October 25). Lecture. JFKU

Robinson, S. (2016, October 25). Lecture. JFKU

 

 

The Mental Game of Dieting for Competition

broccolibrat

Transforming Hunger
The Mental Game of Dieting for Competition  

What I am about to talk about is a very controversial subject. I want to approach this subject with extreme care. I am going to talk about hunger, and how to accept it as part of the dieting process. I am sure you can already see why this is controversial, since hunger is our body telling us that we need food and it is mandatory for our survival.

So, I will issue a warning, that is, I am assuming that your diet is enough food to sustain you but you are still hungry. If you are having problems with memory, concentration and focus, extreme headaches, and lack of motivation, or if your diet is under 1200 calories, then the probability that you are not eating enough is higher. Each person will be on a case by case basis but, I want you to be responsible enough to gauge whether or not you need to change you plan of action (i.e.: the diet) or change the way you are thinking about it. If you feel you are eating enough calories and you trust your support team, then please read on. If you are having any concerns then please consider a second opinion to your procedure.

The subject of hunger came up because of several athletes that have mentioned to me they are struggling with hunger. In addition, I was having a conversation with my sport psychologist recently about the sport and we were talking about hunger, and he was asking what I do when I get hungry. And I said, well you are going to be hungry, there is no way around that. He seemed pretty surprised by that. I just accept hunger as part of the process. I told him that I reframe hunger into my hunger for how I want to look. And the better you look, the easier it is to live with the hunger. He really did seem shocked. He said, so hunger is inevitable? I said, of course, it is a diet. I said most people (non-competitors) eat at the smallest discomfort, they don’t even wait to be hungry. So the reality is, most people never feel real hunger. This got me thinking and wondering if people really think that they are going to diet and not feel hungry, seriously? We are reducing our calories, so of course there will be hunger. Which got me to wondering what other misnomers are out there about dieting and the competition journey. I always claim for things to be easy and I stand by that. However, I do feel hunger. It is the way I perceive it that is what makes the process easy for me. Here are some other common threads that we have as competitors. Now, this is not a license to complain, rather an awareness to reframe and use some mental techniques to help make the journey you are on easy and fun.

Normalizing the Dieting Journey

1. You will feel hungry. I think that we all are in agreement that we will feel hungry. However, stating it as such that everyone feels it, really puts it into perspective. There is nothing wrong with your hunger signals, they are real and we all feel them. We are used to grazing. So, when we set up a plan to eat every three hours and not snack in between, it is difficult. The sooner you make peace with hunger, the sooner you get shredded.

2. You will sometimes have lower energy. This also surprises some people. I am going to be upfront, we all feel this too. Some of us hide it better than others, some of us drink more coffee than others, but we all go through periods during dieting where we feel tired and we don’t want to go to the gym, or fold our clothes or wash our hair. Seriously, sometimes washing my hair during contest prep is just a hassle. Now you know, we are all feeling it, even if we don’t say so.

3. You will sometimes get irritated about things that normally don’t bother you. When I am dieting and I hear someone complain about something that seems trivial to me I am thinking… seriously? Do you realize that I did an hour of cardio, spend an hour packing my food, and had a weight workout before you even woke up this morning? I like to pretend that I am stoned. (not that I have ever been stoned) but if I had been, I would want to feel stoned when someone was saying something annoying so it would just roll off my back like no big deal. Realize we are a little hypersensitive and give others the benefit of the doubt that their behavior would probably not be that annoying if we had just ate an entire pizza.

4. Some people will comment on how you look in a negative way. This is probably the hardest one to deal with, feeling fantastic about how you look and then someone saying, you look tired, are you OK? Or you look sick, you really should eat. Or, are you still doing that diet thing? People don’t get it. I stopped trying to force them to get it. I don’t let it bother me.

5. You may feel lonely or isolated. This is probably the most difficult. We so want people to understand and appreciate what we do. As it gets closer, we do limit our social activities, but that does not mean we need to be or feel isolated. We usually connect through food, but we don’t have to. Find other ways to connect with people. It is challenging but it can be done. Make peace with many people not getting what you are doing, this will also be very beneficial in helping make the process easy.

6. You will wonder if this is worth it, or if you should quit. This may not come into play until a few weeks out. But, most athletes at some point in the contest prep will have an emotional meltdown (or two) wondering if it is all worth it. I remember one time having a meltdown and crying over nothing as I recall it. I was sincerely and honestly upset. I finished my rant to my boyfriend, then lifted up my shirt and said, and look at my abs, my abs are shredded! And I continued to cry. No joke. Doesn’t happen daily but it happens. Make sure you have a strong support team that will be there for you when you need it.

I hope you found this list helpful, there are of course many many other things I could have selected, but in the 20 years that I have been competing and coaching, those are the ones that stand out to me most. My thought process around all of these subjects is to find ways to make them a normal part of your process. Not everyone is going to understand what we do, personally I don’t care. I want what I want for me, not for anyone else anyway. So if I don’t get the approval, I don’t try to force it down people’s throat like a religion, but if they want to ask me questions about what I am doing, then I will share, and of course I hope they join in on the healthy eating bandwagon, because that is one less stressor in my life, however, I don’t need other’s approval in order to move forward to achieve my goals. I move from the passion of my heart, that is my guiding force. I hope that it is yours also. At the end of the day, very few will really get what we are doing, and that is OK. That is what the fitness community is for.

Mental Game Tools: Hunger Resources
Hypnosis Download: Appetite Control
Visualization Exercise: Nutrition Compliance
Nutrition and Life Balance: Inner Athlete Coaching

It’s Never Too Late to Compete

NPC Figure Competitor Spotlight: Nanci Teran

 

nanciteran2I am not a big fan of before and after pictures. The main challenge I have with them is that they sensationalize a person’s journey into this exciting before and after picture, which never tells the process the person went through, or tells the real story as to what they went through in order to achieve their goal. The exception I make to this rule, is when a client personally wants to share their story and they also want to share their before and after pictures.
This is a story of an amazing woman named Nanci, who came to me at 64 years young wanting to compete. We worked together for 6 months and she diligently followed the nutrition plan that I had prepared for her. In addition, she also had a personal trainer who was very helpful to her journey. I recall numerous occasions early on in our prep, she was asking me if I thought she was crazy and that she was too old to compete. I said, are you kidding? No way! Get out there on that stage and show everyone what an amazing body looks like at 64. I am pleased to say, Nanci did just that. She did it! Here is Nanci’s story. I am so proud of her hard work and dedication and for the time I got to share this amazing journey with such an amazing woman.
Nanci wanted me to post her pictures in hopes that she would inspire someone who is sitting on the sidelines wanting to compete but waiting for the right time, or wondering if they are too old. We had an amazing journey together, but more important, Nanci got to complete something that had been in her heart for a while. She got to say she did it, and not only did she do it, she looks incredible and is an amazing inspiration.

————————————————————————–

My name is Nanci and I entered the 2016 IFBB/NPC Golden State Figure contest held in Sacramento, CA August 13th 2016. I placed second in the 45 years and older category. In preparing for this contest my Figure Trainer and mentor was Nancy Georges.
 

These are my before and after photographs taken during my weight training regimen. I would like to thank Nancy for giving me the motivation and determination to complete this task. It was a satisfying milestone in my life and I am proud to say that I am 64 years of age!

As a side note, I have osteoporosis. This was the main reason I started a weight-training program. Since I started my training, I am happy to say that I increased my bone density mass by 17%!

Thank you Nancy
I am so grateful to have had the amazing opportunity to support her in making her dream come true of competing. I am so proud of you Nanci! It was a pleasure walking your journey with you.
I have a few openings for contest prep coaching. If you are interested in competing next spring, March, April or May, the time to start is now. 6 months is a good amount of time to allow in order to have a successful prep and an enjoyable journey.
Message me for info and a consultation, if you feel you are ready to step on stage and create your own amazing story.
nancy@mentalgamefitness.com

Figure and Bikini Contest Prep and Off-Season Nutrition Coaching Back by Your Demand

You guys are going to keep harassing me until I bring nutrition coaching back aren’t you? I have to say, it has been very unexpected and also I have to say I have really missed the nutrition aspect of contest prep. So now you have it. Nutrition coaching for contest prep, off-season and non-competitors is back. Thanks for the motivation, and for missing me.

You can get nutrition coaching combined with mental coaching, or mental coaching alone or nutrition alone. I think this way will make everyone happy and also help me to bring to the fitness community the much needed resource of mental skills. What I am really most interested in is helping you to have a confident and successful journey that feels empowering and takes you to the next level, mind and body. Getting in amazing shape should be an evolutionary process that empowers you and helps you in all areas of life.

Give me a shout if you are wanting nutrition, I have a few openings, here is the link for more info:
http://www.nancygeorges.com/nutrition-programs.html

Offering Figure contest prep coaching, bikini contest prep coaching, figure and bikini off-season coaching and non-competitor nutrition.

 

Top 5 Mental Secrets of The Champions

boxer2In honor of the Olympia weekend coming up in the next couple of days, I thought it would be fitting to talk about the mindset of champions. What is interesting about when someone has an ironclad mental game is that most people around them also know it.
Have you ever watched the pre-game interview of sport and knew who the winner would be? I feel certain you have. I have been to competitions where I knew who was going to win just by attitude and on a few occasions that person was me. Sometimes you are going to win, and you just know it, you have the proper flow, the correct mental game, and everything seems to be going your way.
But can we actually cultivate an internal environment that makes winning more likely? Can we set ourselves up mentally to be better equipped come show time? I believe we can.

Here are my Top 5 Mental Secrets of The Champions. There are obviously countless other things that are important, like doing the training, cardio and eating properly. From a champion’s perspective, those things are just the bare minimum.

 
Top 5 Mental Secrets of The Champions
  1. Champions don’t over think things:
    They have their game plan, and they have their team and they plug away without issues or questions. They don’t wonder or worry if they are doing it right, not because they are afraid to ask questions but because they have hand selected a team that they can trust has their best interests. Once that is set up, all they have to do, is run the game plan, and get results.
  2. Champions don’t gossip:
    They don’t invest time in small talk about potential competition politics, why this person or that person placed higher than someone else. They don’t gossip with family or friends. They keep their words positive and constructive. This is not to say that if a friend has an issue they won’t lend an ear, but they will stay neutral and positive. Gossiping turns into a downward spiral, and once you participate, you can bet your friends will be looking for you again and again to feed their negativity. Stay away!
  3. Champions mind their own business: Now this may seem similar to refraining from gossiping, but there is an important distinction, social comparison. Champions don’t worry or get involved in who is competing, what they look like at 8 weeks out, or what their training schedule is. Champions may take a social comparison peek in order to gauge the trends of the current industry standard, but they spend more time in the gym working on themselves than online watching others work on themselves.
  4. Champions do the work and then some:
    Doing the work, as I mentioned before is according to a champion, the bare minimum. Champions go above and beyond the bare minimum by increasing intensity and putting passion and zest into their every move at the gym. The focus on their goal, day in and day out. The visualize success in their downtime. They make use of their minds by focusing on what they are creating, staying positive and being committed and dedicated. They have daily mental rituals that help keep them focused and committed.
  5. Champions believe in themselves:

    Champions are not perfect. They have their doubts, but the overall tone is that of belief. Any doubts they have they quickly work on eliminating. They take proper action to live congruently by their values and standards. When one lives according to their own standards, they have a much easier time believing in themselves.
That’s my top 5. Like I said, I know there’s more and I am sure you have some examples of your own. Hopefully this top five has helped you to re-dedicate yourself and commit to the sport you love with passion and enthusiasm.
Nancy

Visualization Exercise to Increase Motivation to Achieve Fitness Goals

This visualization exercise to increase motivation includes the goal setting segment. easy visualization exercise to help increase your motivation to achieve your goals. I made the mental exercise as vague as possible to be for any event, competition, wedding, photo shoot, important business meeting, vacation, you fill in the good stuff, I guide you on the journey.

Download the worksheet:
Link to PodBean Episode

.

Mental Exercise for Nutrition Compliance

New PodBean episode: Mental Exercise for nutrition compliance for figure, bikini, physique athletes pre-contest dieting. Are  you ready to kick those cupcakes to the curb? Contest prep isn’t for everyone, that is for sure, but sometimes we all need a little help sticking to the plan. Do you have trigger foods that you can’t seem to stop eating? Then this mental exercise is for you. Train your brain to stick to the plan!

http://mentalgamefitness.podbean.com/e/mental-exercise-for-nutrition-compliance/

cupcakes.jpg