Sonya’s Column – Fitness starts in the mind

sonya head shotWhen thinking about what groundbreaking fitness secret to achieving a great body I should unveil to you this month, I realised that I needed to focus on what it all really comes down to: that’s your mindset! Becoming fitter and healthier depends on being strongly determined. The connection between mind and fitness is as old as the hills. You have probably heard of the Latin proverb “mens sana in corpore sano” which implies that mental and physical health are interconnected. Well, I want to take it a step further: to achieve a fit body you need a strong mind. Here’s my motto: “mens fortis in corpore forti”.

Perhaps you want a flat stomach with a delineated six pack or maybe you would like to have a shapely bottom. Whichever part of your body you wish to improve, the general consensus is that people want to look just as good when they take their clothes off. But fitness is not skin deep: it’s not only how you look but also how you feel. Many people would like to have boundless energy, which ultimately comes from being healthy. Yes, you have probably heard it all before: it’s about eating the right food and committing time to regular exercise and I will be giving you my top tips about how to achieve that perfect body over the course of my next columns. But the first thing that you need to work on is your mind, which in many cases is the only factor that is preventing you from achieving your goal.mind

1. Defeat negative self-talk

Negative self-talk is the little voice that keeps chipping away, you know, the one that fixates on every little imperfection as you stare at your body in the mirror. I’ve heard it myself many times: “look at that big bum, my muffin top stomach, wobbly bits, my cellulite…let’s face it, I’ll never get that toned stomach and pert bottom, I’ll never look like magazine cover models”.

What if, for just one second, you shifted your focus away from your perceived flaws and focused instead on the fact that you are truly amazing?!?!?! Let me tell you something: it’s ok to LOVE yourself. In fact it’s a good thing. Yet probably the hardest battle you’ll ever fight is the one against your self, including your mind. So next time you step out of the shower, take time to look at your body and admire the good bits and tell that negative voice to take a hike!

2. Want something badly

Addressing negative self-talk is the first step towards the right mind-set. The next is telling yourself that you can get that dream body if you want it bad enough. As my grandma used to say, where there is a will there is a way! “Of course I want it!”, I can just hear you say…but my question is do you really want it enough? Your body is capable of anything, it’s your mind you need to convince. What do I mean?

Well take this time of year for example. Most people have great intentions, join a gym, give up alcohol, start a new diet…but a few weeks down the line, most have already given up…”I just don’t have time for the gym”…”Work is too stressful at the moment, I need a drink to unwind!”…”I’m too busy to find nutritious healthy food, I’m just going to grab a mayo club sandwich and a muffin instead – it’s a low-fat one, so it doesn’t count, right?”

WRONG! These are just excuses because you haven’t truly committed yourself to a healthier lifestyle, which means that it simply is not important enough for you. So how do you find your commitment?

3. Find your commitment

Knowing that regular exercise and a healthy diet are good for you is sometimes not enough to commit to pursuing them. Like me, you might be one of those people who need an external incentive. I find my drive through focusing on a goal: for me is entering a body building competition. Knowing that I have to pose in front of an arena of people in a bikini is enough motivation to make me stick to that training and nutrition plan, trust me! Fortunately, it doesn’t need to be that drastic for you. Choose a goal that will keep you on track. It could be anything from signing up for a 5k charity run to participating in a marathon or simply decide to walk 10,000 steps a day. Choose something that’s challenging enough and that you will have to work hard for. Along your journey, I will help you with nutrition and training tips, so look out for my next fitness column. But remember that only you can truly set your mind on succeeding. So be ready to commit to a healthier you!

Sonya Morton-Firth is a fitness entrepreneur. For more information, you can visit her website