Sunday 25 January 2015

The Athlete Mindset Workbook

   The Athlete Mindset Workbook from Team Blessed Bodies is a valuable tool in many ways - and not just in fitness. It talks about how big a part your mental state plays when it comes to getting in shape and taking that passion to the next level. It's all about confidence, and, above all else, learning to love what you have. I know what kind of body I want, but when I look through fitness magazines or see the instructors in my workout DVDs, I can't help comparing them all and seeing that, while they're all have great physiques - slim and lean - they all have different shapes. Some have curves, a gorgeously cinched waist, while others are straight-sided. Some have gorgeous muscle definition, others less, others more, but they're all in great shape and went through similar training.
   It's lead me to wonder and even worry about how I'll look. Being dominantly meso/endo, I should, in theory, be able to avoid straight sides and get some nice curves even when I've shed the fat, but I can't know for certain. I have an image in my mind of the body I want, but it's possible that my build won't ever let me achieve that. And that's kind of gotten me down (though admittedly never stopped me).
   Even just flicking through the first few pages of the Athlete Mindset Workbook has made me realise that, and immediately start to change it, to stop thinking about what I can't have and learn to accept that I might turn out differently from what I hoped, maybe even better, and because it will have been my own hard work that got me there, I'll love it regardless.
   But I said above that it doesn't just apply to fitness. Those who know me or have been reading my blog for long enough know there's nothing I want more than to be a successful fantasy author, but a lot of what the book was saying about mindset was applicable to that, too, and that's great. Have belief that I can get where I want to, not just through hard work of promotion and dedication, but because of the skills I possess in that area, either naturally or through more work. And I believe I possess both. I have my weaknesses in writing, I'm very wordy - you probably noticed that just from my blog - and I have a tendancy to drag things out. But these are things I can overcome, because it's entirely within my power, which is something else the book teaches.

   I already have a lot of self-belief - not in an arrogant way, but in a proud way. I know there are things I'm good at, and these are the things I do often, and, in a sense, I'm good at them because I do them so much, and I do them so much because I love them. So, ultimately, it's about forgetting what the little voice in the back of your mind starts to tell you when you start looking at your competition a little closer, or at the hurdles in your way. You can overcome them, and you also have to learn that you possess things others don't, just as they possess things you don't. It's about self-belief.

Co-Author, Leslie Lewis, MFA

   This book is ultimately aimed at the athlete, people looking to find a career in fitness, be it as a model, a competitor, an instructor or a journalist, but many lessons can be applied to other parts of your life, or to simpler goals, as I have. I may not be a striving athlete - I only got into this because I wanted to lose weight - but it's become a surprising passion of mine now, and that also means I get into my head about it a little more because it's important to me. The contents of this book will help me to find the strength I need to crush the life out of that little voice of doubt, because, simply put, fat should not be on the body; it can be lost.

   The book goes through chapters, starting with the simple subject of your goals. Your ultimate goal, your dream - in my case, applying the book to both of my passions, that would be to become a successful fantasy author and have my dream body. Then it talks about a time frame in which you'd like to achieve that (something I'd not considered). After that it talks about your ideal goals for the current year, and after that still, realistic goals.
   Then it talks about learning to give yourself a pat on the back when you've achieved something difficult, whatever that might be. If it was a challenge for you personally, and you overcame it, you should recognise that fact. It's something worth mentioning at the start of the book so it can be kept in mind throughout.
   The book then goes on to ask you why you want to achieve these goals, and by outlining precisely why you want it - something you may not have actually considered until this point - it will only increase your drive because you'll have a more conscious reason, even if it was there all along.

Co-Author, Fatima Leite Kusch

   I have problems in both my weightloss and my writing, and both of them are the same thing really: overthinking. I get in my head, as I mentioned before, and that can be really damaging. The bood suggests a refocusing assessment - figure out what it is that you feel you're doing wrong and where you need to improve. For me, I obsess over food - I wonder too often if I'm eating enough or eating too much, and I can never work it out, and the worst part of it is that I'm consistantly losing weight despite it. I'm probably doing everything right, but I can't shake the thought that I'm not. So how can I improve? Speak to a dietician, or go over everything I eat and see if there's any way I can improve it in an attempt to shake the paranoia from my mind. For example, I neither drink enough water 'nor eat enough fruit and veg. Anywhere near, in fact. If I were to drink more and replace a snack or two a day with an apple or a banana, that could be enough. It may be that I feel I'm making the wrong decisions.
   When it comes to my writing, I know where I need to improve, but being wordy is a subconscious thing. Part of me thinks I should stop worrying because it may not be as bad as I think, but I also believe it wouldn't have even come to mind at all if it didn't truly bother me. I hate wordy books just as I hate vague books, so I need to learn to turn it down and allow the reader's imagination to fill in the gaps rather than paint a perfect picture every five minutes. After all, I was able to picture Sparhawk from the Elenium very well even though all I knew about him was that he had a crooked nose.

   Ultimately, while you'd think a lot of the contents of this book should be fairly obvious and occur to the individual naturally, when it comes to your goals - especially goals that take a lot of time and a lot of work - you also have a lot of time for doubt to sink in. The Athlete Mindset Workbook is an active approach at destroying that, and is applicable to all parts of your life, fitness or not. Sometimes these things need to be pointed out to you. I've always considered myself level-headed and quite smart when it comes to the psychology of other people, but when it's for my own good, it seems to escape me. This book has pointed that out, and shown me that even if I achieve something that doesn't affect anyone else in the slightest, if it was hard, I deserve to pat myself on the back.
   The book was released January 13th 2015 and was written by fitness coaches Terry Orlick PHD and Fatima Leite Kusch, as well as actress, artist and yoga instructor Leslie Lewis, MFA. Alongside valuable psychological tips, it also features a killer HIIT workout and a clever/scary-as-pants yoga routine (the yoga itself isn't scary, it's the added idea of doing it on a paddleboard that sort of puts me off, even if it makes it compelling at the same time).

Disclaimer: I was sent this product to review by the publisher itself. The quantity and precise products sent were their choice, not my own. All opinions and images are my own, and all appropriate research has been done by myself from a range of sources rather than relying entirely on the product's website, especially where health products are concerned. I do not accept a product to review if I do not believe it is safe or worth my own time, regardless of any kind of reimbursement. I trial the products for an appropriate amount of time before writing reviews to check for wear-and-tear on physical items and side effects from edible (be it supplements or food). If I have negative points to voice, I will voice them, and I never, ever accept product reviews or reimbursement on the promise of a positive review. My reviews are and will only ever be honest.


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