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Master the Mind-Body Connection




Excerpted from
12-Day Body Shaping Miracle: Change Your Shape, Transform Problem Areas, and Beat Fat for Good
By Michael Thurmond

The actual doing of the program on the 12-Day Body Shaping Miracle is fairly straightforward: You shape, tone, and define your muscles by following the workout methods and exercises I will give you in this book. And you enhance your progress with wise, customized nutritional choices, as outlined in chapter 8. But truth be told, the success of this program doesn't start with the body-shaping methods or the nutrition principles you'll follow. It starts in your head-with some important mind-body skills. The sooner you apply those skills, the faster you'll make progress and push your entire body-shaping effort to new levels.

In this chapter, I'll give you several mind-body skills that can make this program more effective, more fun, and even easier. These skills will become a tool for enormous progress when they're used daily and can lead to personal transformation. Make a commitment to use them not only during the next 12 days, but beyond, and they'll become stepping-stones to a fitter, trimmer, and shapelier body.

Skill 1. Visualization

When I started changing my own body (and developing the foundation for the techniques that would later become my makeover programs), I used to fantasize about how I wanted to look-chiseled abs, large biceps, muscular shoulders, a V-shaped back-the whole package. I wasn't just wishing I had an in-shape physique; I was very specific about what I wanted to accomplish.

I'd start by finding images of the body I wanted. I'd study those images in detail. Then I'd imagine the fat melting off my body, and my individual muscles changing shape in very specific ways. This process of mental concentration-which I called daydreaming-helped me stay focused on my goal and eventually played a huge part in helping me get exactly the body I wanted for bodybuilding competitions. Then one day, I looked in the mirror, and there it was: I could see the physique I'd envisioned for myself begin to emerge. It was very exciting. Seeing yourself change is a very empowering experience.

Without knowing it, I was utilizing a technique that is widely known today as visualization. This is the process of creating a mental picture of achievement. You form in your mind what you want your new shape to look like. While this may still seem like daydreaming, in fact visualization is now accepted in a variety of disciplines to help people achieve fantastic goals. Visualization is what helps Olympic athletes and professional ballplayers perform at their personal best. It is what has helped many cancer patients overcome life-threatening illness. And it is what will allow you to achieve just about any goal you set for yourself.

The conception of an event, or an end point, in your mind is the beginning of its existence, and without a clear image of what the outcome will be, the manifestation of that event is almost impossible. In other words, if you don't know what you want and don't believe you can get it, you can't. However, if you have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish and the solid belief that you can make it happen, then success is almost guaranteed-provided you formulate a realistic plan and diligently follow it.

Trust me, if you use your mind to envision what you can be, you will begin to make the right choices, the healthy choices, to become what you see in your mind's eye. Your mind is a very powerful force that can help you achieve your inner vision of your desired outer appearance. The body you sec yourself achieving, no matter how misshapen you feel now, is ultimately the body you want and will have.

Here's how you can start to practice visualization: Get in a comfortable position, sitting or lying with your eyes closed. In your mind's eye, picture your body the exact way you want it to be shaped. With as much detail as possible, think proportion. Think lean defined muscles everywhere on your body. Think about how you will look and feel physically and emotionally when you have the body of your dreams. Take it a step further. See yourself looking sexy and fabulous in a swimsuit or other revealing outfit. Picture yourself out in public wearing new, formfitting clothes and how great you'll look in them. Dream away!

Make this scene as vivid as possible, using as many of your senses as you can. The more senses you call to mind in your visualization, the greater the impact of the image. Notice how you look, what you can hear, smell, feel, and taste. Notice your surroundings, whether there are other people around, and anything else that is part of your success scenario. Notice how good it feels to be in those clothes and in your new body. The more vivid you can make the new you in your mind, the more successful you will be.

The vision you have for your future body is what you will achieve with your individualized workouts, diet, and rest. If you have a clear vision of where you want to go, it makes it easier to get there. Visualization is absolutely vital because it actually encourages your body to follow your brain's plan, and this mind-body link enhances your ability to change your shape and lose body fat.

Do something else with me, too. When you eat your prescribed meals on this program, visualize the food's nutrients going directly to your muscles. Think about the protein making your muscles firmer and better defined and the carbohydrates fueling your body for greater energy. Not only does visualization add an inspiring dimension to your workout, but it may also give you a new attitude toward eating healthier foods.

Do your visualization exercise at least once a day for about 10 minutes. Keep the image of your new body in the forefront of your mind. You can also use visualization when you feel yourself giving into a craving, or when you're experiencing stress. You'll find that this exercise is a terrific way to rid your body and your mind of all kinds of burdens.

Skill 2. Mantras

Accompany your visualizations by what's known as a mantra - a personal statement that is meaningful to you, and positive. Mantras are really a form of self-talk, the dialogue you have with yourself in your mind. The function of the mantra is to give you direction, as well as to ignite your enthusiasm and motivation.

You might tell yourself: I intend to create a lean, sculpted, sexy body ... I'm going to lose weight and fit into a smaller size ... I'm going to look fabulous in my outfit ... People are going to enjoy seeing me succeed ... I love my body, and I'll love it more when I lose those pounds. Direct your thoughts and concentration to what is affirming, what is positive. Creating an unshakable positive attitude is critical to your achievement on this program, and your self-talk, or mantra, will help you have one.

Not only will your mantra help you focus on doing this program successfully, but it will also silence the negative self-talk that all of us hear in our heads once in a while: I'm too tired to exercise today or I feel like slipping off my diet just this once. If you find this kind of unproductive self-talk seeping into your mind, immediately switch to your mantras, and you'll cancel out the negative inner dialogue. At the same time, listen to your body. If you really are too tired to exercise, then your body may need rest.



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