Sunday, January 6, 2013

Massively Hard To Move Molded Minds

I watched part 2 of a two-parter of Hotel Hell, a reality-TV programme on inn-keepers helmed by the easily-irritable Chef Gordon Ramsay ('Hell's Kitchen', 'Top Chef' and 'The F-Word'). In the parting shot by the European inn-owner, he said that 'It is hard to shift moulded minds.'

The molded mind is our paradigm: our beliefs, and mental models. What we believe in, coupled with mental instructions (mental programs) reinforce our stubborn-ness. That is why we can hold on strongly to our strongest beliefs, refusing to budge even under pressure.

Weekend athletes as well as professional athletes are no different. One of the most widely held beliefs are 'Why change, when it is not harming me?' and 'If it ain't broken, why fix it?' These beliefs extend and expand from our consciousness to our unconsciousness. The latter makes our behaviors, reflexive and automatic.

One of the prevailing beliefs propagated in the 1980's was 'No pain, no gain'; promoted by the exercise-gurus who sprouted like popular high-protein and vegan diets. Intensive exercise taxes our adrenal glands at three levels - salt, sugar and sex - three levels and depth of impact on our hormonal system dealing with stress. Thus, we need to focus on more rest after a tough anaerobic session (interval training, hill-running, sprint sets, and the like). We recover within 24 hours of a light, aerobic session, while an anaerobic session can draw upon 2-3 days of complete rest. Muscle-soreness, heavy legs, insomnia, fatigue, irritability and injuries are evidence of an over-taxed body.

Rest and recovery is the other major part of sports performance. Training and recovery (through) rest leads to enhance physical and mental performance. Limit intensive, anaerobic sessions to 2-3 maximum per week. It is useful to factor at least one day of rest, per week. Continuous training, without rest (especially adequate sleep of 7-8 hours daily) can only lead to a downward spiral. Even in your 20's, you are still vulnerable to fatigue, injury and the impact and effects of stress. You do not want to tax your adrenal glands (situated on your kidneys) overly; it produces important stress and sex hormones controlling our electrolyte and sugar levels, tissue repair as well as our libido.

Do review your mindset about hard training and recovery. Rest is vital to balancing your efforts with your results. Give yourself a break!

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