Dr. Mona Lisa Schultz advises us to ask our intuition open-ended questions. Sit down in a quiet spot and
pose questions to your inner self. What can I do to get the best workout? How can I tone
my body better? Which trainer should I use? (Don't ask: Is swimming better than cycling?
For some reason, intuition doesn't like to be pinned down.) If you feel pain during an
exercise, ask the body, "What do you need right now?" You may get a flash of insight that
tells you to stretch more, or a feeling of coolness or warmth that indicates you need to heat
or ice the injury. Your body's intuition provides information on what it needs to best heal
FOLLOW YOUR ENTHUSIASMS
Follow your enthusiasms. Many people follow an exercise routine obligatorily, because they've
been convinced of its benefits, but since it often contravenes their natural tendencies,
they soon surrender interest. Intuition can manifest your enthusiasms and lead you in the
direction of more enjoyable, organic sports and workouts.
Ah, you ask, but how do you know that the inner voice telling you to "Skip your workout
oday" is your inner wisdom and not the grinch who stole fitness or a voice from your dark side
that ferociously defies each step of personal growth? And what's the difference between
intuition and fear? (Oddly enough, they're anatomical neighbours, located in the same area of
Robinson claims that when you contemplate a correct intuitive course of action, "a sense of
peace comes over you." You should then take some small steps toward that goal; if you feel
consistently passionate and excited about it over time, score one for your intuition.
For example, you're wondering if you should hire a personal trainer. Your first instinct is
"He'll bully me and I'll feel awful." If you think that's one of your self-defeating devils
talking, review your life and note when that voice last piped up and what happened when you
acquiesced to it. If you're still not sure, call a few trainers. Do you feel excited or
anxious when you speak to them? If you feel positive, that's your intuition impelling you to
"Go for it."
Schultz agrees that the way to corroborate what we think is an intuitive hunch is to collect
additional information. If you're having a bad workout and sense you want to quit, ask yourself
what's wrong. Become more analytical. You may realize that an extra work assignment or a
family problem may be affecting your focus. If you can't find an answer, file the problem in
your mind and monitor your mood the following day. Also, consider your personality: If you're
normally a dedicated exerciser and you show up at the gym unmotivated, it may be a sign to go
AWOL that day. However, if the feeling continues for a month straight, that's not intuition,
KEEP RECORD BOOKS
Ed McNeely, president of the Sport Performance Institute in Ottawa, Canada, says intuition is a
matter of record-keeping. "It may take a year to 18 months to understand how you react to
different training habits, sleep schedules, and diet," he says. To help uncover obscure
patterns and discern their meaning, he suggests you keep a workout log.
McNeely suggests that the logbook contain as much detail as possible, including the
distance you ran/swum/cycled, the number of sets and reps, between-sets rest time,
intensity (percentage of max), and, most important, post-performance data (gathered
the next morning) such as how well you slept, your degree of motivation, any muscle or joint
soreness, your morning heart rate, and pre-breakfast body weight. You should rate these
factors on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the best. When you start seeing things
moving in a negative direction, look at your training program and make adjustments.
"For instance," McNeely says, "suppose you run a mile more than usual and feel tired the
next day. Then you review the logbook and see that the last time that happened you also felt
tired. You'll realize it's probably not a good idea to do that extra mile."
Even though we have all the tools, our intuition can still be drowned out by the din of the
world - as in group exercise classes, with their sonic-boom musical assault, screeching
instructors, disco balls, and nightclub-like disorientation. Under circumstances
like these, you'll have to work a little harder to hear that soft inner voice. And if you
work with a trainer, make sure he listens to how you're feeling and, if possible,
collects information on this as well.
If you follow these steps, your workouts will become more enjoyable and productive.
Don't ask me how I know. I just have a hunch.
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