One of the more frustrating aspects for people new to working out has to do with learning all about their body. People who have been training for years have developed a good sense for how hard they can train, expected recovery times, and have even developed a heighten mind to muscle connection. It is like they become a more advanced model of a car with a better diagnostic system that keeps them more in-tune and running more efficiently.
What does being “In-Tune” Mean?
- During an exercise you can feel the muscle contracting and stretching through the range of motion. Earlier in my fitness journey I would do lat pull-downs, for example, and the focus was on just pulling the weight down. But now when I do them I feel the stretch of the back muscles I am working and work more efficiently as I contract them harder during each repetition. This focus allows me to more easily target the proper muscles.
- Stretching is more effective. By now I know which stretches affect me the best and how to position my body to get the most out of a specific stretch.
- Learning which exercises are most effective based on your body make-up. For working my lower chest I prefer dips over any sort of decline bench press. The motion feels more natural to my structure and I am able to work the muscle more thoroughly.
- Knowing when you can push yourself harder and have more to give. After you have found the wall and passed a few times you learn where your limits truly are. While you don’t have to push past them all the time, every once in awhile makes a big difference.
- You learn when your body needs extra rest. Some people hit the gym even when their body gives them various signs that it is tired and needs a break. When you are in-tune then you learn to heed the warnings, go to bed earlier, and come back rejuvenated the next day.
- You can also be more aware of the early signs of not enough food or water without needing to do the math. The energy level and hydration level in your body are important. Subtle cues are given when your body isn’t in balance and learning to hear those cues really helps keep your energy levels consistent.
How Do You Get In-Tune
It takes time, focus, and practice.
When you are at the gym all of your focus needs to be on the exercise you are performing. The goal is to form a better link between your mind and your muscles as they stretch and contract. The best way to do this is by slowing down during each repetition. You need to feel the muscle work. The same goes for stretching. It is a slow process where you even move and adjust positions slowly to try and feel what is most effective.
Over time, as you repeat the process, your brain will create stronger pathways between your nervous system and muscles which help attune you to your body.
The same thing happens as you adjust your eating habits and get your body used to regular small meals and fluid intake. It becomes almost automated that you can feel when you have slightly less energy and realize that it is time to eat again without looking at a clock or when your mouth becomes a little dryer than before and you know that another cup of water is due. Or even when you feel a mood shift and your mental checklist says you have enough food and water so that only leaves fatigue as a factor to be corrected.
The mind and body link is very powerful. After taking the time to establish it, you will find that you are more efficient with your workouts because you are better equipped to give your body what it needs to achieve. Start working on your connection today and it will payoff for a lifetime.