Extreme Fitness: “Flow” and the Athlete’s Mind

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Why do some athletes reach superstar or Hall of Fame levels while their peers all around them often fail to live up to their very own potential? Why are some people so much better than the rest at reaching the fitness level or attaining the fit, sexy body that they desire?

Extreme Fitness: “Flow” and the Athlete’s Mind
Extreme Fitness

Does it all just come down to the unfairness of better genes? Are some people just blindly lucky to stumble upon better trainers or coaches than everyone else finds?

In reality, physical fitness is as much about the mind as it is about the body. And what the minds of the superstar athletes induce in their bodies is “flow”. Flow refers to rivers of energy that endow someone with super strength and super speed. You may call this energy “quit” or “chi”, and it flows along the pathways between the “meridians” of our nervous system and infuses our muscles with unbelievable abilities.

For You: Active Meditation Techniques

Yes, it’s true that some people have more massive amounts of strength or greater gifts for speed than other people, just as some people are taller or naturally better looking than other people. However, if you’re like most people seeking to get more fit or improve athletic performance, you’re not living up to your own potential. And you know it in your feelings. You’re frustrated by your training and practice.

It’s the flow that enables you to triple your strength and top speed and to do so almost immediately.

If you’re not already doing it, it’s difficult to figure out how to induce the flow that gives you your “superhuman” powers. Historically, flow is shrouded in mystery and escapes the light of science, even though its effects can easily be observed.

Extreme Fitness: “Flow” and the Athlete’s Mind
Extreme Fitness

In spite of the mystery surrounding it, there are proven mental techniques that work to allow you to create greater flow as an athlete, whether you’re competitive or simply into the “sport of fitness”.

It’s only weird if it doesn’t work. What motivates or inspires you athletically? Whatever it may be, write it down in detail along with “why”. You may feel that winning is sweeter than life itself. You may want to be super sexy. Or something else entirely. There’s no wrong answer as long as it’s your own and it’s completely honest. Every time you practice or perform you will keep your list at the forefront of your mind.

Forget about “goals”. Have “targets” to hit instead. A goal is something you score in a game. A target gives you something to shoot for over and over again. If you have goals to meet you can block off your flow with too much pressure, especially if for whatever reason you fail. But with targets, think of those Zen master archers who pull out the arrow, nock it, and let it fly in one fluid motion barely even looking at the target.

Breathe diaphragmatically.

Train your breathing. Today we live in a world of shallow breathers and breathing habits. You need to be different. Breathing deeply, from your diaphragm, and exhaling slowly allows you to still the mind and focus on maintaining flow even in the midst of intense physical challenges. Note: don’t obsess over your breathing or you’ll just create a negative, stressed effect and cut off your flow. Just be attentive to it.

Know that the world is (mostly) beautiful at all times, and 90% of the bad things that we fear or worry about happening to us never do. This optimistic mindset has to be practiced so that it gets ingrained in you because we are hard-wired to look for the negative as a reflexive survival instinct. Begin training yourself to focus, instead, on the good and the creative in the world around you, and then you will be able to sense it within yourself. That’s the focus you need for flow.

Keep your body in the present and your mind’s eye in the future

You need to focus on your targets and on what your desired ends are, but you can’t be all wrapped up in that. Be fully attentive to the task at hand, the movement that you’re going through this very instant and what you have to do, even as your mind’s eye looks to the future, to the end result. This is exactly what great concert musicians do.

Practice these techniques and watch yourself improve almost right away.

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