Animus: basic attitude or governing spirit – Latin for spirit, mind, courage

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear— not absence of fear. Courage is not the lack of fear. It is acting in spite of it.”  

— Mark Twain

Training your body to become fitter is a great thing. But this has been covered ad nauseam. What hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves is training your body to improve your mind. And this interests me very much.

There are countless ways your life can improve by having a stronger mind. Countless. But today I want to talk about only one: awareness. I’m talking about awareness of who you are, what you think and the “why” to what you do in this life.

Strengthening the mind through physical training promotes self-awareness. And you want self-awareness.

What I’ve notice in people that pursue elite fitness is a kind of “knowing” in their eyes. They view things differently than other people. It’s not arrogance, it’s a kind of aware confidence that comes from putting the body through intense physical treatment.

Training the body at elite levels changes more than just the body. That we can all agree on.

If we look at the processes that elicit growth in the human body, we see that it grows in proportion to the amount of stimuli it receives. The more intense physical training you can undergo, and adequately recover from, the more adaptation you will get. No one argues this.

So, if we all agree that the physical body adapts to external stressors this way, would it not make sense that the mind adapts the same way? The answer is yes. And I think this is the most underrated benefit of physical training.

Having a six-pack is great, but abs alone don’t amount to a happy or successful life. However, when you develop a stronger mind, you are strengthening the foundation that everything else in your life is built on.

Having a strong mindset creates awareness of oneself. It also increases one’s ability to endure stress in its many manifestations. This is a great asset for living a happy and successful life. As Tony Robbins said, “Everything in your external world started in your internal world.”

Starting to see the connection yet?

Everything you have ever done in your life has started as a thought, feeling or emotion inside your mind. Considering the fact that your brain is the engine that powers your every action, wound’t you be inclined to want to strengthen that mind to be the best it can be? Would you rather have a dinky 4-cylinder Corolla engine or a super-charged 12-cylinder Ferrari engine?

Embrace the mental side of your training. Start finding ways where you might be “holding yourself back” in your training (and life). The more you do this, the better you’ll get. This will carryover into other parts of your beyond just physical activities. When you develop awareness of yourself, you get better at recognizing the times when you could be doing better. That is powerful.

The next time you train your body, think about your mind. Instead of thinking about hard it is, eliminate those thoughts. Use positive self-talk and affirmations. Own your thoughts.

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