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

Using Cue Words to Stay Motivated

Woman Doing Yoga Exercises In Gym, Sport Fitness Girl Sitting Lotus PoseUsing Cue Words to Stay Motivated
Lately I have been playing around with the voices in my head. OK, I admit, that sounds rather strange, but follow me for a minute. We all talk to ourselves. I think I probably talk to myself non-stop throughout the day when I am not engaged in an actual conversation with another person. I would love to have a transcript of all the things I say to myself throughout the day. I am guessing I am not alone on this.

Do you talk to yourself? What does the voice sound like? Is it generally pleasant, or it is mean and critical? One way we have a positive effect on our goals is by changing up the way we talk to ourselves, using cue words. I will admit, I won’t be able to change all the negative voices in your head in one article, however, cue words are a very effective way to easily help us stay on track with our goals.

Here is an example of how the process of developing cue words can work. This week I have been rather busy studying for finals. When I study, I feel extra snacky. I want snacks!!! The café cookies and brownies were looking extra good this day. I took a moment to check in with my body and really connect with my cravings. Urge surfing is a technique that I walk through with my clients in session that have challenges with snacking. So I checked in with my body and I said to my body, what is this feeling? Then I noticed I said to myself: “I feel unsettled.” I took a deep breath and did some brief mindfulness and I said to myself “Settle in.” Ahhhhh!! Instantly I relaxed and felt better. I repeated settle in a few times and the craving went away.

Now you can use this technique to help with cravings, to motivate yourself for a workout, or any other behavior that you are wanting a little extra motivation with. Cue words are usually used in a performance context, but I tweaked it, because those of us on a fitness journey of sculpting our bodies have additional challenges with our sport or lifestyle when it comes to hunger.
 

Step 1: Identify an area that you want to have more motivation with. It could be to workout, to eat healthy.

Step 2: Connect with the feeling. It is good to do this in real time. For example, if you are not wanting to go to the gym, do this right then on the spot. Check in with your feeling and ask yourself: “What is this feeling about?” Or something like that. Take a few moments to connect with it.

Step 3: Take a few nice deep breaths and you wait for the communication from your body. Relax into whatever the feeling is.

Step 4: Identify a cue word based on how you feel. For example, I was feeling unsettled, so I said to myself settle in.

Step 5: Repeat your cue word several times to test the effectiveness. If it is not very strong, repeat the steps and create a new cue word.

Step 6: Write your cue word down and use it as often as you like for similar situations.

That’s it, that’s all there is to it. I hope you enjoy this technique and find it helpful especially now at a very tempting time of the year. I like to say, if you can eat healthy this time of year, you can do it anytime.

Also be sure to visit my audios if you are wanting some extra motivation in this potentially challenging time of the year. Here is the link:

And if you are interested in some personalized attention, check out my customized programs. I would be happy to offer you a complete custom nutrition plan along with all the mental tricks custom to your situation. 

Until next time,

Nancy Georges

IFBB Figure Pro
Contest Prep Coach
Mental Game Coach

Week 1: Pre-contest diet without a contest. Is Dieting Really Easy?

Hello, it’s me again. I decided to do a mid-month newsletter this month. I have something that feels important that I want to share with you today. You may know that I stopped competing in 2009 due to a back injury. I have not been 100 percent since. But this update is not about my recovery, rather it is about me moving forward in spite of not having recovery. It is about embracing where I am and being ok with it, even if it feels not ok, and moving forward.

I started a pre-contest diet a week ago today. No, I am not competing. But, I am doing this for several reasons, the first is obvious, let’s face it, I can stand to lose a few pounds. But the second and more important reason is to feel my emotions. Before I was in chronic pain, I never considered doing anything to numb myself to life. After six years of pain, trust me, I have found a multitude of ways to numb myself to pain.

Recently, I have been in less physical pain, and I have decided to feel my emotions in all their glory… Well, let me say, they are not all that glorious. I wanted to do a video so you can see the raw emotional tone of my week as I launch into week one of my pre-contest (without a contest) diet. My diet this past week consisted of 1800 calories, no just-a-bites, no alcohol and no sugar. I cut out most of my fruit as well. I had a small amount of fruit on Friday due to a splitting headache from cutting sugar. As of now my energy is good, and my workouts are strong.

I hope you enjoyed this month’s video newsletter. I know I am not as elegant on video as I am in writing. Hopefully it brings some light on the important subject of being who we really are, while we strive for increased excellence in our lives.

Nancy

April 2015: How to Give Your Brain a Workout

BrainAs the days get warmer, motivation increases. Many of us are in the midst of a mastermind plan to obtain and improve our level of physical fitness and physique mastery. We have competitions to win, vacations to take, and short shorts to easily fit into during our summer vacation. We are in the zone and focused on our goal and ready to do whatever it takes to achieve it.

Unfortunately, heightened motivation can lead to overtraining, burnout and even worse, injury. When we are highly motivated, sometimes we want to push our bodies because our minds are motivated to achieve our goals. But, be forewarned, deviating from the scheduled workout program and skipping off days can have negative consequences that will potentially require more time off due to a variety of issues that come with over training. That is where mental practice comes in.

Mental practice is something we can be incorporating in an ongoing way. However, it is most relevant during times when we have a scheduled rest day but are inspired to push ourselves just a little more. Save your joints, and start incorporating mental practice to take your fitness to the next level. Here is how:

Mental Practice: How to Give Your Brain a Workout

Mental practice, is defined by Magill and Anderson (2014) as the mental rehearsal of a skill without physical movement. This is the perfect workout for your brain, on those days that your mind is ready to go, but your body needs a rest day.

Mental practice is not to be confused with meditation, which is often a passive activity. Mental practice is an active cognitive rehearsal. We can use mental practice for a variety of different outcomes. Since there is no one proper way to perform mental practice, I will provide an outline of how mental practice can be done. From there, simply refine the technique to meet your personal needs.

  1. Think of a specific type of mental practice you are interested in. Would you like to image in your mind’s eye, winning a competition, or looking great for the beach, or your summer vacation? Or perhaps you are interested in visualizing your procedure goals, such as having great form and intensity for your workouts, or having a perfectly planned day of food prep and positive attitude and energy. Or maybe you would like to focus on imagery that considers more specific emotional states of mind, such as having the proper arousal and focus for your workouts or day to day activities that help prepare you for your goal. So take a moment to think about what you want to practice and write it down.
  2. Find a place where you can perform your visualizations without distractions. Allow yourself to be free from distractions such as your phone or internet and also put yourself in a place where you will not be disrupted by others. Set a time frame that you wish to do your mental practice and set a timer on your phone.
  3. Get yourself into your preferred state of mind. Often times I actually use music to help me to perform my visualizations when I am focused on being on stage for a competition. I like to focus on my affect, or how I will feel when I am on stage, and music is very inspiring. Whatever works for you, get yourself into that state of mind.
  4. Set your intent to have a great mental workout for your established time. Take several deep relaxing breaths to get yourself relaxed and open to receive a wonderful visual experience in your mind’s eye.
  5. Start your imagery. You may be going through your day with a positive attitude, having good energy, focused on your goal, bypassing treats that are presented to you that are not part of your plan. You may be focused on how you feel when you are working out. Be sure to get the emotional elements of your mental practice, such as how good you feel about yourself and the proper emotional tone for the situation. Think about any thoughts you may be saying to yourself that will help get you inspired and pumped up in this situation. Take all the time you need to really play out your selected scenario.
  6. Come back to the present moment and write down any interesting findings that you have gleaned from this experience or notes on what you visualized so you can come back to this at another time in the future when you want to practice again.

That’s all there is to it. Feel free to modify to anyway that suits your needs best. I sometimes will do mental practice for 45 minutes, which is around the amount I would spend on an actual workout. This is a great way to get in a “workout” when your body needs a rest but your mind is motivated and eager to exercise. I hope you have enjoyed this mental workout.

References:

Magill, R., Anderson, . (2014). Motor learning and control. (10th ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.

July 2013 Newsletter #1: Effective Behavior Modification

Successful Behavior Modification

One thing that I have noticed about competition dieting and training is that behavior modification happens in steps. Whether it is modification to the training protocol or modification to the nutrition protocol, we don’t just go from not working out to two hours of cardio a day plus weight training all in one instance. And the same is true for dieting. Depending on how naughty you get in the off season, we go slowly with that also.

One way of creating effective behavior modification is to be aware of our current behaviors in the first place. When we are not dieting or prepping for a show, sometimes our eating and exercise plan gets put on auto pilot and we are not really aware of what we are doing. So a quick and easy fix I like to make is taking a journal of behaviors for one week and accessing behaviors to see what they are and what the starting point is. Some people have very similar eating and exercise habits whether they are getting ready for competition or 3 months into the off season. In reality, I am not talking to you. I am talking to those naughty girls, that love the extremes of serious contest dieting followed by what seems like a nutrition and exercise vacation. This is not the healthiest plan, but hey, I am not here to judge, I am only here to help. Since this is a strategy that gets used, I want to address it, and help to create a realistic plan of action. Unlike the competitor that does not take a nutrition vacation, you have a bit more work ahead of you and it is best to be done in phases. Starting off with phasing out certain foods while phasing in more intense training in a balanced way that is reasonable so that the net result is successful.

So in the spirit of taking baby steps, my success plan for the naughty off season girl is to take one week to jot down meals and also weigh your food as well. If you have been naughty, chance are your competition food scale is sitting in the back of your cupboard collecting dust. Well, dust it off, hop on the scale access the damage and spend a week just observing your behavior. Once you have observed your behavior for one week, some of those behaviors will just naturally change just due to the fact of not wanting to write something down. So in the process of simply making a behavioral observation, you are already making behavioral changes. Then the second week, create your plan of action and move forward with your changes, making updates on a week by week basis.

That is my easy, quick, and cheap plan for behavior modification.