No more diets: Tricking your mind into weight loss

No more diets: Tricking your mind into weight loss

MARCO PITT

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The mind is a powerful thing.

When motivated, you can convince yourself of almost anything. “Yes, I do need to spend $200 on a new gym bag. No, I don’t need to wash my hair as long as I have dry shampoo.

When highly motivated, you can get your body to play along with your brain, like in Phantom Limb Pain when there is pain in a limb that has been amputated, False Pregnancy when women who are not pregnant begin to develop many pregnancy-like symptoms or with the “Placebo Effect” that reports up to 70 percent of participants in clinical trials see an improvement in their symptoms simply from a placebo.

Although the conditions above are not favorable, you can also use this power for good. In this case, to make weight loss easier.

People spend lots of money on supplements that are supposed to suppress appetite to help lose weight. Although some do help a little, others are not yet proven to be effective…yet they’re still on the market!

What if I were to tell you that there is a cost-free strategy to naturally suppress your appetite, increase your metabolism and encourage your body to be lighter and leaner?

This strategy follows a training plan that focuses heavily on bodyweight training and gymnastic-type movements, such as handstands and pull-ups.

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Think Like a Gymnast

Gymnasts are famously known for being lean, muscular and nimble.

This is obvious because they are required to propel their body weight over obstacles, balance and walk on their hands and perform feats that would be much more difficult if they were holding onto excess body fat.

If you’ve ever gone on vacation, gained a few pounds and returned to your workouts only to find they feel much more difficult, you know that extra weight doesn’t make running, pull-ups, or really any exercise, easier.

Hoisting five extra pounds up to the bar on a pull-up or inverted row is no small feat for the muscles of your back. For someone weighing 140 pounds, that’s an extra 4% of their weight.

This brings us to the reason that bodyweight and gymnastic training can be so powerful for weight loss. If you are rigidly following a training program that requires you to practice handstands, plyometric movements and pulling around your bodyweight, your brain knows that these moves are easier when you are lighter.

The concept of neuroplasticity states that the brain reorganizes itself throughout your life. With training, “every movement of the body provides sensory feedback for the brain to process and adapt to.” Meaning, while you are practicing, your brain will work with you to make adaptations to improve your ability.

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Our Hormones need to work with you

There’s also a little-known benefit that inverted positions, like the handstand, have on the body. Research shows that handstands help to stimulate your endocrine system and reduce Cortisol, the body’s major stress hormone. When Cortisol levels are high, weight loss is not likely.

Lower your cortisol and increase your capability for weight loss.

Furthermore, “the inversion [with handstands] brings blood to the thyroid glands to help regulate the production of T3 and T4 [metabolism controlling hormones], which also affects metabolism.”

So not only will you be building the strength of the muscles in your upper body, abs and improving balance, you will have increased blood flow, decreased Cortisol and increased metabolism.

Don’t look at the Scale

In addition to the hormonal and physical benefits of bodyweight training, focusing on these performance-based movements redirects your focus away from the scale. I enjoyed seeing my developments in strength with this type of training and used my nutrition as a means to enhance performance.

My focus wasn’t on the number on the scale, but at being better able to improve my skills. This impacted my portion sizes and the choices I made.

Another benefit, of course, is that when you practice these movements, you increase your neural connection to the muscles and build more lean mass.

More neural connection = more body awareness and control. More lean mass = better use of the food you eat to fuel and build your muscles rather than storage as fat.

There is also a convenient check and balance in this system. If you go totally off the rails with your diet over the weekend, your workout on Monday will remind you to reel it back in over the week because you don’t want to keep making the workouts harder and harder.

Prioritize Performance-based Goals

Finally, an often underestimated trick of bodyweight training or performance-based goals is the confidence and diligence you build while working towards these goals.

I still remember being able to do my first unassisted pull-up, a stark comparison to the middle school girl who achieved ¼ of a rep on her pull-up test. The satisfaction and confidence will empower you to continue making healthy decisions and stick to your training program.

So start small, but pick a goal or a training plan that involves a lot of handstands, pull-ups, sprints, plyometrics and push-ups. See if you can trick your mind into losing weight by enhancing the mind-body connection and requiring it to be light, leaner and more nimble for your bodyweight movements.

A sample workout to get started

1.   Circuit One

a.   Burpee to Pull Up
b.   Handstand
c.   Bulgarian Split Squat Jump
d.   Inverted Row
e.   Hanging Straight Leg Raise

2.   Circuit Two

a.   Pike Push Up
b.   Pistol Squat (or assisted pistol squat)
c.   Jump-Rope
d.   Eccentric Pull Up
e.   Hollow Body Hold

Perform all exercises for 45 seconds with 15 seconds’ rest between exercises and one-minute rest between rounds. Perform Circuit One for 4 rounds before moving on to Circuit Two for 4 rounds.

Have you noticed better weight control or weight loss with incorporating bodyweight movements into your training routine? Leave a comment a below or post in the Facebook group with your experience!

4 ways to never get stuck in your workouts again

4 ways to never get stuck in your workouts again

4 ways to never get stuck again in your workouts with Tyler Brigade

TYLER 

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If you’ve been working out for a while, you probably experienced a strength plateau. Not being able to progress in your workouts for weeks, even months, can be frustrating. Especially if you don’t know the cause.

In a desperate attempt to break free, you might search for ways to change-up your routine – adding supersets, new grips, using different exercises entirely.  These are some great methods to break through a plateau, and for a lot of people, they work.

But sometimes, they don’t.

When faced with a plateau, most people assume that it’s the usual problem; sticking to a routine too long, not enough intensity, etc.

But, in some cases, it can all be mental

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A while back, I was stuck in a rut with pull-ups.

Of all the exercises to plateau on, pull-ups weren’t such a bad one…there are so many different variations that you can use to break out!

I switched my grip, tried doing static work, changed the pace…practically every commonly suggested way to get out of a plateau is something I tried.

But it didn’t work, and for weeks I couldn’t make progress on the pull-up. After weeks of going nowhere on the pull-up, I’d had enough. One workout, I just thought, “This is enough. I’m getting out of this plateau.” On my first set of pullups, I told myself I was going to increase my reps, and nothing was going to stop me. Telling myself that got me fired up. It made me actually believe I could break through the rut, and I did just that.

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The battle is real – Overcoming a mental plateau

During the plateau, the frustration builds and builds, and makes the entire experience worse. It crushes your confidence. It feels like you’ll never get out. So what now?

What worked best for me was, basically, punching that mean, motivation-killing voice straight in the nose. It held too much power over me, and it wasn’t making my life easier.

When that voice in my head started speaking up, “This is boring, why are you doing this?” or “Just stop. You won’t make it. You won’t reach your goals,” I’d stop what I was doing, sit down, and listen to all those thoughts. I even started taking notes of all of those negative thoughts.

And I burned them. I mean, I literally burned my negative thoughts away.

I took a lighter, that piece of paper, lit it and threw it into my chimney. Don’t do this if you don’t have a safe space to burn paper.

Burning this paper with my negative thoughts jotted down was incredibly therapeutic.

It was a physical act of removing crappy thoughts from my mind.

But I know that burning thoughts might not be the way to go for other people, so

I’ve compiled a shortlist of different coping mechanisms you can try out for yourself.

 

4 tips to overcoming your mental plateau

 

1. Stop working out for a bit.

Maybe all you need is actually changing your routine up. Take an extra day or two to rest, move your schedule and training routine around. Take a break, it might be all that you need.  

2. Get Inspired

Go follow some athletes whose work you like on Instagram, or on Youtube. A lot of these athletes have awesome tutorials, or even monthly challenge specials, like “30 days of hand balancing” or “30/30 squat challenge,” where you do 30 minutes of squats throughout the day for 30 days. Again, this has been successful for me in the past. I love discovering young athletes who are devoted to their art. They’re so incredibly inspiring to me.  

3. Focus on a new skill.

Is there something you’ve been wanting to do but focused too much on your training routine to get to? A mental plateau would be an awesome opportunity to refocus your workout, even temporarily. I got to have fun with some cool hand balancing tricks that aren’t typically trained or taught since they’re very specific to movement transitions.  

4.Teach someone something you have learnt

I love to share knowledge, especially stuff I just learned. In fact, I tend to get super excited when a friend asks me to show them how to do this thing I just learned. Often, it’s a move that requires some training and extra work, which I end up helping my friend to do. …and then we’re working out together.  

And the plateau is overcome without a thought!

 

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I would really love to hear about how you deal your mental plateaus, so PLEASE, reach out! You can comment on my post, or share thoughts and ideas in our Facebook group.