Mind and muscle: can negative thoughts affect muscle growth?
Surely by now we have all heard of the placebo effect and we know how it affects the mind and muscles. I wrote a decent post about this which can be found on my blog.
The placebo effect is generally found in medical practice. It is when a patient is given a substance, also known as a “sugar pill,” and is told that the substance is a real drug. When the drug is ingested, the patient is aware of the drug’s healing capabilities, believes that it will be cured by the drug, and is cured.
Upon further investigation, we find that it was not the sugar pill that cured the person, so the question remains, “What cured him?”
I wasn’t the sugar pill that cured him, it cured itself.
The human brain is simply amazing with its power. He created your body and can heal it. What really healed the individual was his firm and unshakable belief that he would be healed. Although he thought it was the pill that cured him, he believed it would heal.
There is an opposite reaction to this called the Nocebo Effect. This is simply the opposite of the Placebo Effect in the sense that someone believes that they will not be cured, regardless of the medication they take or the steps they take to improve. Because they believe they will not be healed no matter what, they are not healed.
The placebo effect doesn’t always work, what I mean is that you don’t always get what you want just because you think you will. Also, with the Nocebo effect, you may sometimes heal even if you hope you won’t.
What does this have to do with building or losing muscle? The placebo effect has a lot to do with muscle growth. The reason people are healed is because of their faith that they would be healed. People can build muscle because of their faith that they will. The problem is that you can also lose muscle, or simply not gain muscle believing that you will not or will not be able to gain it.
This is a huge problem within the fitness industry as a whole. I’m not talking about the placebo effect, I’m talking about people’s faith in their physical abilities. People will start a program expecting immediate and mind-blowing results. Unfortunately, most people don’t achieve the incredibly amazing results they wanted as quickly as they also wanted. Once this happens, people’s faith in their ability to lose fat or gain muscle is very quickly replaced by self-doubt, shame, remorse, and even anger.
Remember the medical example of the placebo and nocebo effect above. The person believed they would be healed and was, or the person believed they would not be healed and was not healed. The ability to increase muscle mass can be in the same way. When you think you will gain muscle, you will, but if you think you will not gain mass, you probably will not because it is working against you.
When you begin to believe with all your might that you will gain muscle, you set the wheels of your mind in motion, which activate your brain in muscle-building mode. The sad part is that when you lose faith and doubt invades your mind, the wheels of progress will stop. It is like a blade of grass about to surface with positive thoughts, then negative thoughts appear and the grass dies and dries up quickly.
The best way to keep progress going is to maintain the positive momentum and leave no room for doubt. Here are three simple steps to maintain mental muscle building progress:
- Always think positive thoughts – this seems obvious and simple, but it is necessary. If you are always thinking positively about your muscle gains, there is no question. This doesn’t have to turn into some kind of therapy session that you watch on TV, just make sure that all your thoughts on your training, nutrition, supplementation, or anything to do with success in gaining muscle are always. positive.
- Reinforcement Visualization: Not only should you always think positively about your training, you should also visualize your success. Imagine lifting the weight you want to lift, imagine your body looking the way you want. Don’t just look at the image, interact with it. Feel how good it will feel when you achieve your goal.
- Believe in yourself: always believe that you can achieve your goal. Never have any doubt that you can gain muscle or strength. If you don’t believe in yourself and your abilities, you will never be successful.
Winning the muscle building mind game is only half the battle. You must have a good training, nutrition, and rest and recovery plan to fully benefit from the mental techniques mentioned above. Your brain has the power to make your body build muscle, and with a certain mindset, you can use it to your advantage.