Happy New Year!
This hypnosis blog is back and will be regularly updated throughout 2017. I considered writing up a reflective blog entry on everything that I did during the festive period (which was wonderfully enjoyable) but instead have opted to roll the sleeves up and get straight into it, let me explain….
Last Summer, after a slump in fitness levels and having put some weight on following my running injury and a sustained period of inactivity, I did a LOT of research and decided to enrol in a gym while gradually upping my running miles and making my way back to some sort of fitness. I did not join a massive commercial gym, I joined a strength and conditioning centre in Poole not far from where I live and have been learning how to lift weights. It was one of the best things I have ever done.
Up until joining this gym, I had never lifted weights, not in my entire life, so started with their prescribed ‘Built to Blast’ programme that they offer, where I learned to squat, deadlift, bench press as well as be introduced to pushing a heavy sledge around the gym and much more besides. The first week was quite an eye opener as I realised how weak I was for my size and I gazed around the gym in awe at some of the weights that regulars could lift. This gym has an amazingly supportive environment and as I persisted, the numbers for my weights lifted went up, and I started to see that I could lift my own bodyweight with pull-ups, for example, the progress I was making heightened my enjoyment.
Here I am squatting 100kg for the first time, and doing so for 4 reps:
The aim was initially to build strength, reduce weight and be in the shape required for the new year running schedule to start, however, I fell in love with lifting weights. I started to be able to deadlift, squat and bench press 3-figure weights which was a big deal for me and was part of my personal goal-setting. Initially, I put on weight (with muscle) and lost fat (it was measured) and my body shape started to change greatly.
My running ability changed too, I started finding running up hills so much easier even though my endurance levels were not where they were since my injury. I felt good and strong and needless to say, I am still there and plan on remaining a member with the ever changing programmes provided by these brilliant guys (they are into their science too, which you guys know means that it was a lot easier for me to like them, right?).
Where am I going with this then? I thought my first blog of the year would not necessarily be about setting your goals and resolutions (though you can read about the evidenced based principles of doing so here: Principles of Effective Goal Setting and read about the Rationale and Evidence for Effective Goal Setting here) or leading with a “New Year, New You” theme that others are making a fine job of right now (though I feel a bit like a “new me” currently, I’ll be honest) and so thought I’d show you how I have been using my mind as part of the ongoing challenge of improving week upon week, even at my ripe age, with lifting weights and in a way that anyone else can do too.
I have been so fortunate to be alongside some really supportive and encouraging gym partners. I say encouraging, they often offer up the sort of thought process that by default I really ought to be using on myself. They encourage me not to take softer options, to lift bigger weights, to go that extra mile, and it is that very term that made me decide to import some of my running self-hypnosis skills to the gym. I did my due diligence and studied the science and when it comes to pure strength training, the number of studies are incredibly few, yet some of the endurance raising studies do offer some brilliant principles to underpin what I do in the gym. So I developed some of the techniques I offer in my Hypnosis For Running book, for example, to fit what I was doing in the gym, the main challenge was moving to explosive mobilisation of my energy and effort. However, altering and influencing my perception of effort has been key, and being able to mobilise my strength has been something that I am really starting to master and so I thought I’d share with you today a technique that I have used and adapted with great success in the gym, and that you can use in a wide number of ways too.
To read more about altering your perceived level of effort using self-hypnosis, go read this research supported article and technique too: Altering Our Perceived Level Of Effort When Running Using Self-Hypnosis
In years gone by, I have found that during marathons or other ultra distance events, if I have felt tired at mile 10 and doubted myself, I subsequently got weaker, but when I started to dispute that and drive myself on, or got some encouragement from the crowd, or thought about my wife, my kids etc. I have overcome that wave of seeming fatigue and run for another 16 miles with more gusto than the first 10.
We are all far more capable of going on for longer when it comes to exercise and physical activity. I was so certain of this, that I adapted an idea using self-hypnosis that I have used for all my long runs but can be applied to any physical activity or sporting endeavour. So I adapted it for lifting weights.
You just need to be able to imagine an old school graphic equaliser that used to be on stereos. The youth of today may not know what I mean, but it was a panel on the stereo front that showed you how the sound was divided and what the sound levels were like while music played. You could turn them up and down to affect the sound and you could get a visual interpretation of how loud certain parts of the music were.
It had a green zone where everything was safe, sounded sweetest and best, then the amber zone where it meant it was at its upper limits of optimisation, and then a red zone where the sound was becoming impaired and of a poorer quality due to being too high.
So, my initial point today is that sometimes people think they are using all their effort and have used all their energy and simply cannot go on…
Yet you always see good athletes pushing themselves to do more and alter their own perception of what they are capable of. Those ripped guys in the gym always squeeze out another rep on the weights and other athletes put in that little bit extra throughout their schedule – it makes a great deal of difference.
We all recognise a certain level within ourselves that we reach, but we are often able to go much further than that. This self-hypnosis technique is designed to help you go further and literally go that extra mile, get your mind focused and believing that you can do more or go faster or stay at for a while longer.
Six Steps To Use Hypnosis And Mobilise That Extra Strength & Effort:
Step One: Induce Hypnosis.
You can do so by any means you desire or know of. You can use the process in my Science of self-hypnosis book, use the free audio we give away on this website to practice or have a look at the following articles as and when you need them; they are basic processes to help you simply open the door of your mind:
Heavy Arm Self-Hypnosis Induction Method
Using Eye Fixation for Self-Hypnosis
The Chiasson Self-Hypnosis Method
Hand to Face Self-Hypnosis Induction
Using Magnetic Hands for Self-Hypnosis
The Coin Drop Self-Hypnosis Induction
Once you have induced hypnosis, move on to step two.
Step Two: Imagine a graphic equaliser or a visual measurement gauge of some kind in front of you.
Each breath that you breathe, the gauge pushes up to show the amount of effort and energy that you are using.
Take a few moments and just watch the lights going higher, brighter and longer with each breath that you breathe and then dissipates between in breath, so it is going up and down in time with your breathing.
As the gauge moves up, notice that if you breathe out really, fast and hard, the colours move and just touch upon the red zone. As you breathe usually, it stays green, barely turning amber or orange, but a hard breath gets into the red zone and the lights reach red for a brief moment.
Spend some time to get it absolutely synchronised with your breathing. As you watch it moving in time with your breathing, rising and falling, tell yourself that you are going deeper and deeper inside of your mind.
Usually, the red zone is associated with impairment or danger, however, with this technique, imagine that the red zone is your untapped strength, it is your potential and be really happy and excited to dip into that red zone to draw upon strength and power for fleeting moments. Like when you land the hammer on a fairground strength test and it dings the bell for a moment, you can imagine dinging the bell of your own capability.
When you feel as though you have spent enough time deepening your experience in this way, move on to the next step.
Step Three: Keep the colourful gauge reflecting your breathing while you now imagine that you are exercising. Imagine yourself engaging in your choice of exercise and as you exercise and breathe, notice how this effects your gauge, it starts to go up and move towards that maximum level. The colours start to encroach upon the maximum level, the red zone that indicates the upper levels are being reached and you are tapping into your strength potential that perhaps sometimes your body tells you not to do – and let’s be honest, we talk ourselves out of going that extra mile often – yet we are very capable. Remember to only do what is safe and for your own well-being and start to push those boundaries healthily further.
In your mind start to slide the gauge controller upwards in bursts when you need that extra push and imagine yourself feeling fitter, stronger and more energised, at a healthy and safe level of course.
Bring the colourful indicator graphics downwards using the sliding switch and notice it coming back down into the safe and comfortable zone.
At the moment, using self-hypnosis, we are using this process in self-hypnosis and mentally rehearsing how we use it. We’ll practice this several times in self-hypnosis and develop it as a skill we can use outside of hypnosis and import into the gym – though we can still use eyes-open self-hypnosis when applying it actively in the gym too….. To illustrate how I time this technique with lifting a weight, I have the gauge in my mind first, I breathe deep and set the gauge, then as I exert myself in dynamic fashion during the lift, I imagine the gauge raising upwards and the strength filling my muscles with energy and I then make the lift, exhaling and imagining the gauge coming back to it’s regular levels.
Step Four: Start to notice that you are able to keep the levels of exertion and effort being displayed on your gauge at a constant easier, comfortable level even as you exercise yourself harder and for longer. When you bring it into the green area, imagine that you are energising, healing and revitalising yourself, and notice how effective you are becoming at tapping into the potential and extra strength that exists in the red zone for those dynamic moments of high exertion.
Let this process push you to go slightly, and healthily further than you would have gone in the past (a point whereby perhaps you’d have stopped in the past) and get comfortable with going beyond that level.
Affirm to yourself in your mind, in time with your breathing, something that resonates well with you, for example:
I feel more and more capable of going on for longer.
I am stronger and stronger, healthier and healthier.
It is easier and easier to find extra strength.
My body loves this exertion and responds well.
Choose whatever resonates best within your mind and that you like the sound of most. As you say those words to yourself, keeping the graphic gauge at the right levels., your breathing responds well, your muscles respond accordingly and you feel wonderful.
Keep imagining this happening in your mind for a while, get tuned into it, so that when you are actually out exercising, it works powerfully and effectively just as you are imagining it will.
Once you have spent a while on this step, then move on to the next step.
Step Five: Start to tell yourself that you can use this process when you are actually exercising too and that it starts to have the same effect as you imagine it having now.
Spend some time and get it absolutely synchronised for you, get the control absolutely as you want it and can affect it, then bring this session to an end with the final step.
Step Six: Exit hypnosis by taking a deep breath, wiggling your fingers and toes, opening your eyes.
Practice this process. The more you practice it in your mind, the better it becomes and the more useable is in your exercise activity. Allowing you to alter your perception of how you feel in response to exercise and also helping you to exercise and remain active for longer, mobilise more effort and find more explosive power.
Use it daily for a week, then start applying it when exercising or in any physical activity and make sure you really do mobilise that extra effort and strength.
If you’d like to learn more or if this has resonated with you in some way, then visit these pages:
1. Do you need help in a particular area of your life?
Coaching with Adam Eason Or Hypnotherapy with Adam Eason
2. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others? Or are you a hypnotherapist seeking stimulating and rewarding advanced training?
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
3. Are you a hypnotherapist wishing to advance the success of your business? Do you need thelp to fulfil your career ambitions?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.
Have you read my book Hypnosis for Running: Training Your Mind to Maximise Your Running Performance? It helps any athlete or sportsperson maximise performance.
Likewise, if you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar. Alternatively, go grab a copy of my Science of self-hypnosis book.