Fitness Mind Hacks Part 1: An Introduction

I think by now, we all know the general dirt on how to get into shape. The critical fitness and nutrition information is everywhere we turn: The Biggest Loser, the fitness magazine rack at the bookstore, the buddy at work that tells you all about the latest fitness blogs and podcasts while doing awkward hammie stretches at your desk (that’s actually me, well except for the stretches… they’re not awkward!). However, even with the abundance of information and awareness regarding healthy living, there are still a lot of good people out there who can’t seem to find a way put down the Kit-Kats and pick up a dumbbell.

I was that person.

I knew how to workout. I knew how to eat right. But knowledge was only half of the battle. What was holding me back was my mind… my will.

I wasn’t good at working out. I felt like I didn’t relate to the fitness community. And for a long time, I never fully grasped the fact that I, nerdy ol’ George, could be anything other than what I was: overweight and lazy.  Proper fitness was so foreign to me (which is sad that this was the case), that it seemed like something I could never attain; probably because I had tried and failed.

My logical mind knew I needed to shape up, but my emotional side couldn’t kick my ass into gear.

But all of this emotional incompetency changed for me when did one simple thing: I started relating my fitness journey to things in my life that I was good at. I started flooding my head with these little correlations to areas of my life that I was succeeding. I tricked my emotional mind to believing that change was possible. I was reprogramming my brain to take away those silly, irrational barriers that were preventing me from getting where I wanted to be. This “mind-hacking” concept is not new and is used in many other areas other than fitness, but it is what started the positive change in my fitness journey.

So what exactly am I talking about?

The idea is to relate your fitness goals to something you know, something you are passionate about, or something that is so pervasive that you can instantly relate to it.

For example, I love playing MMOs – Lord of the Rings Online, World of Warcraft, etc. – games that are all about starting at level one, and building up you character to the ultimate warrior through slow and methodical steps. Well, mentally, there is no difference in the process leveling a character up from 1 to 60 in those games and dropping 1 to 60 pounds in real life. You start on a journey, and you diligently work at it. You make mistakes, you learn, you grow (as a person, which hopefully corresponds to a shrinking waist). Eventually you reach your goal, and then the real game can begin.

I could level characters all day in game, why couldn’t I level up myself? The answer, was: I COULD! And I did.

What I plan to do over a few upcoming posts and podcasts is really dive into the fitness “mind hacks” that helped me clear away my mental barriers. The first of which will be a topic dear to my heart: software development and how it changed the way I view fitness.

In the meantime (does anyone hear that Spacehog bass-line?), here are some fantastic recent articles from some of my favorite bloggers that I would classify as fitness “mind hacks”

See you soon!

  • Matt Gartland

    Awesome article George! And I love the lead-in graphic :)

    And nice job bridging the divide between MMOs and fitness! It’s indeed important (dare I say vital) that we all relate our individual pursuits of good health to factors in our lives that we already love. As you say, doing so gives us the motivation necessary to stick with it. And as any good gamer knows, that’s what needed when you go for the win!