How I Use Self-Hypnosis to Win

This weekend I will be racing in my 4th triathlon of my first season ever. It’s a sprint triathlon hosted by TriFitness and it’s all women. As the days get closer I am realizing I am getting a little bit intimidated that this triathlon is all women. Why? Because I am thinking there is a lot more competition in my age group. And I’m starting to doubt myself, a commonality almost every beginner triathlete goes through. Which is frustrating to say the least. The negative thoughts creep in like “You aren’t ready.” “Your body is too tired.” “That swim is going to suck.” I am a firm believer that your mind controls your body, and if your mind is thinking negatively your performance is going to suffer. How do you change a negative mindset?

One of the tools I rely on to change my mindset is meditation or hypnosis. Back when I was a competitive rider in the sport of eventing (three disciplines crammed into one day: dressage, show jumping and cross country), I was a nervous wreak at shows. I wouldn’t eat a single thing the entire day, I was tense on my horse who could sense my nerves and I clammed up in front of judges. My mother recognized my struggle to control my nerves and sent me to a hypnotist who specialized in sports hypnotism. What happens is she sends you into a deep conscious sleep and talks to you about your competition, giving you visual clues and things to focus on. Basically, it’s a visualization exercise in a conscious sleep or meditative state. Tiger Woods has been known to use hypnotism to visualize every movement and outcome on the course, and look at his performance. She took me through each stage of my competition asking me to visualize what I was doing and how my horse was reacting. The most important part was she asked me to visualize myself winning. Something I have never done before with my half crazy horse.

I went to the hypnotist a week before my competition. The day of the competition I was still nervous to the point where I couldn’t eat anything. But something different happened. I had the lowest dressage score, no jumping penalties and my cross country was excellent. I won that competition and guaranteed a spot in regionals. I firmly believe that hypnotism contributed to my success. Proving the point that your mind controls your performance.

Ever since that competition I have been using self-hypnosis to visualize my triathlon races. I haven’t won my past three races, but I have placed 2/3 times in my age group. Not bad for my first season competing in triathlons.

My schedule leading up to race day is to use self-hypnosis once per day for 3 days. So if my race is on Sunday I self-hypnotize myself Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Just writing “Self-hypnotize” seems a little weird. But it’s not. It’s very simple and easy to do. I lie down, close my eyes and count backwards from 10. I tell myself at each number my eyelids are getting heavy, my breathing is deep and to let any sound or unnecessary thought pass by. Once I get to 1 I visualize my race. What the water feels like, what the transition area looks like etc. and then I start my race. At each step I think of what I am doing, how I am feeling and what my goal time is. The entire time I am thinking positive thoughts to encourage a positive outcome of the race. I see myself passing my competition on the swim, bike, run and crossing that finish line strong.

I am excited for my race this weekend. And I trust that if I dedicate enough time to visualizing my race I will change my thinking into a positive one and see some success.

– Train Hard. Tri Harder.

@Tri_Girl22

Motivational Words from The Grind

I stumbled upon this amazing video from another blogger. The visuals and words are so powerful I wanted to transcribe it. It gives me chills every time I watch this video and read these words.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQqWKFczmG0#

Transcription:

Rise and shine

6am and your hand can’t make it to the alarm clock before the voices in your head start telling you it’s too early, too dark and too cold to get out of bed. Aching muscles lie still in rebellion pretending not to hear your brain commanding them to move. A legion of voices are giving you permission to hit the snooze button and go back to dream land.

But you didn’t ask their opinion.

The voice you chose to listen to is one of defiance. A voice that says there was a reason why you set that alarm in the first place. So sit up, put your feet on the floor and don’t look back because we’ve got work to do. Welcome to the grind.

For what is each day but a series of conflicts between the right way and the easy way. 10,000 streams span out like a river delta before you each one promising the path of least resistance. The thing is you’re headed upstream. And when you make that choice and you decide to turn your back on whats comfortable, safe, and what some would call common sense, well that’s day 1. From there it only gets tougher. So just make sure this is something you want because the easy way out will always be there ready to wash you away. All you have to do is pick up your feet.

But you aren’t going to are you? With each step comes the decision to take another. You are on your way now but this is no time to dwell on how far you have come. You are in a fight against an opponent you cant see but oh you can feel them on your heels can’t you, feel them breathing down your neck. You know who that is? That’s you. Your fears, doubts and insecurities lined up like a firing squad ready to shoot you out of the sky. But don’t loose heart. While they aren’t easily defeated they are far from invincible. Remember this is the grind. The battle royal between you and your mind, your body and the devil on your shoulder who is telling you this is just a game, this is just a waste of time, your opponent are stronger than you.

Drown out the voice of uncertainty with the sound of your own heart beat. Burn away your self doubt with the fire underneath you. Remember what we are fighting for and never forget momentum is a cruel mistress. She can turn on the dime with the smallest mistake. She is always searching for the weak place in your armor; the one little thing you forgot to prepare for.

So as long as the devil is hiding the details, the question remains is that all you got? Are you sure? And when answer is yes and you have done all you can to prepare yourself for battle then it’t time to go forth and boldly face your enemy. The enemy within.

Only now you must take that fight into the open, into hostile territory. You are a lion in a field of lions all hunting the same elusive pray with a desperate starvation that says victory is the only thing that can keep you alive. So believe that voice that says you can run a little faster, you can run a little harder, and that to you the laws of physics are merely a suggestion.

“Nobody can judge effort. Because effort is between you and you.Everyday is a new day. And every moment is a new moment. So now you got to show them you are a different creature than you were five minutes ago.”

So rise and shine.

– Train Hard. Tri Harder.

@Tri_Gril22

My Guilty Pleasure: ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss

I admit it…I love watching ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss with Chris Powell. I can’t get enough of the show! I have never been overweight, I have some family members who are, but I have never experienced a journey like some of the contestants on the show. I’m curious of who these people are, where they come from and how they got to where they are today. It really has changed my perspective on people. Each one of us has a different story, battling different issues and all fighting our own uphill battle. It’s more of watching the psychological changes of all these people who have to overcome struggles and fight their demons. And we all have demons.

I absolutely love the moment when one of the contestants realizes they have nothing to fear. They can conquer so much. I also love Chris Powell. He is one pretty amazing guy who knows his stuff. If I could work out with him for a day and pick his brain I would be the happiest girl alive. Watching these people overcome their struggles is relatable to what I am doing becoming a triathlete. There are struggles I face, fears to overcome and demons to fight off in order to be the person I want to be. The show definitely emphasizes the idea of your mind controls your body. And seeing that makes me realize if these people can achieve such a great accomplishment (more than weight loss) then I can too. Cheesy, I know but this show is awesome and inspiring.

– Train Hard. Tri Harder.

@Tri_Girl22

My legs are mad at me

“I hate you!”

That’s what I can imagine my legs telling right about now. And it’s most likely what other triathletes in training can imagine their legs telling them. I’m learning that as I’m increasing training my legs aren’t very happy. But that’s a good thing right?

I just went home to Connecticut to get on my bike! I haven’t really attempted riding in Boston because it seems too daunting. Boston is great city, according to Bicycling.com it’s also a great biking city. I don’t feel that way. There are too many cars when I need to ride (which is usually during rush hour) and not enough bike paths, not to mention I’m clipped into my pedals, which is scary to me. So if a pedestrian were to jump out suddenly I would surely topple over trying to avoid a head on collision.

Anyways, my point is I go home to ride my bike. Which isn’t very often. This past weekend I managed to fit in enough biking and strength work to fry my legs. This is what my weekend looked like:

Friday
Strength class am (1 hour)
– The class consisted of high intensity training full of sprinting, lunging, kettlebell swings and single leg work. I was thinking I could totally handle a bike ride in the pm but I was wrong. I could feel my entire central nervous system shutting down as the day went by. I took a nap instead. No biking for me.

Saturday
Strength class am (1 hour)
Biking pm (1 hour) 20mi 
– I usually don’t do strength sessions back to back but my mother insisted I meet her personal trainer Shaun who is the personal trainer and physical therapist for big hockey and football teams in the New England area (like NFL status). I totally do not regret going! I absolutely loved the session. What I do regret is the pm cycling session with my dad. My legs were fried from 2 awesomely challenging strength sessions and I thought to push it for a bike ride. I asked for flat roads (which is hard to find in CT) and easy pace. I was super slow in the first 30min. My legs were burning! I couldn’t even keep up with my dad who was going 17-19mph. I was at a 15-16mph pace, snail pace. It just really hurt. By the time we hit some down hills my legs felt better, but by the end when I hopped off of my bike I couldn’t walk. Ouch.

Sunday
Time trials (1 hour) 20k 
– This was my first 20k time trial ever and I wasn’t riding on fresh legs. My legs were definitely talking to me but I felt better than yesterday. The time trial consisted of 13 laps of 1 mile loops by the beach. It was a beautiful day and relatively quite early in the am. My first lap I completed in 1:03, by my last lap I was closer to 3:03. Big difference. My legs were tired and by the time I finished I was just dead. I could hardly push my pedals to get myself home (like 10mph tops! If that.) It just hurt so bad.

My 3 day training session proved to be challenging both mentally and physically. If you could see me now I can hardly sit down or stand up without getting a sharp pain in my hamstrings. I’m just sore. But I do realize I need to increase my volume and intensity at some point if I ever want to get better. So why not start now.

 – Train Hard. Tri Harder.

@Tri_Girl22

Protein Powder vs. Real Food

Presentation1

The age old dilemma of processed protein powder  vs. real food. Do we really need protein powders, bars and shakes to fuel our body properly?

I have been struggling with the notion of fueling up and recovering with a protein shake or actually eating real food. I have recently turned into the girl at the gym who brings eggs and broccoli into the locker room. I can be seen stuffing eggs in my mouth after my workout where I promptly receive weird looks. It wasn’t always eggs and broccoli; I used to have protein powders galore shoved into my purple gym bag. Reading a bunch of news articles, I have come to a crossroads where I want to walk into GNC and purchase my protein powder again, but then I think is it really worth the $30? Am I just being sucked in by the marketing schemes of these companies to buy their products?

What the experts say

Heather Mangieri, a nutrition consultant, explained that “…ideally, people should get protein from food. But some people who have high caloric needs, such as athletes, may find it more convenient to get their protein, along with necessary extra calories, from a high-protein product.” Am I a high-calorie needing athlete? Probably not, I only work out a total of 10-15hr per week.

Nancy Clark, an expert nutritionist, explains in her book Sports Nutrition Guidebook that many people assume they need to consume a big meal because they feel like they worked out extra hard. When in fact, people often over estimate the amount of calories their body needs to properly recover and repair. Our bodies can only absorb so much protein in one sitting. Mangierie explains that our bodies typically use a MAXIMUM of 20-30g of protein from a single meal. Beyond that, any additional protein in a meal won’t be used for extra tissue repair or muscle building benefits. AKA it’s just extra calories the body doesn’t use.

Protein powder = supplement, not food

First things first, everyone must understand that protein powders are a supplement. What does “supplement” mean? Well let me Google that for you….”Supplement. An addition designed to make up for a deficit.” Meaning if you don’t get enough of ___in your diet a supplement will fill in that blank. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary a dietary supplement is “not considered food.” Interesting. So we can conclude that supplements do not replace food. This is important because protein powders and bars have incomplete nutrition. They tend to be heavy on protein but fail to provide significant amounts of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and healthy fats that you would find in natural sources of protein like fish, meat, eggs and beans.

Since protein powders fall under the realm of supplements they are not considered food, thus they are not regulated by the government. A Consumer Reports investigation found that many popular brands of protein powders included concerning amounts of arsenic, lead, mercury and cadmium. Lesson here is that protein powders aren’t all high and mighty.

 We don’t NEED protein powder to properly fuel our bodies

Real food has a better nutritional balance than protein powders. Post workout I usually consume hard boiled eggs for protein, sometimes broccoli for some carbohydrates or maybe a mini bagel. I am no nutritionist at all but I am trying to learn. And so far it seems to me that real, all natural, non-processed foods will give you better nutrients any day over a less nutritious protein powder.

*Disclaimer…when I am training for an Ironman I will most likely be drinking some kind of protein shake. (One that isn’t full of poison)

– Train Hard. Tri Harder.

@Tri_Girl22