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When You Should Listen To Your Body

By: Matt Furey
Combat Conditioning Functional Exercises Combat Conditioning Functional ExercisesBest Selling Author of "Combat Conditioning"

In a recent conversation with a client, I was asked what I thought were the most important qualities that help a person succeed in an exercise program.

Without hesitating I said, "There are two things that every trainee needs to know how to do - and both are mental. The first is called "listening to your body." The second is called "telling your body what you want it to do."

Now, think about this for a moment. It would be easy for me to say, "Do 100 Hindu squats, 50 Hindu pushups and a back bridge each day - that's the secret." And truth is, if you do those exercises, you'll succeed in a big way.

Yet, there is something "foundational" that anyone who wants continual success needs to understand. First, your body is talking to you all the time. It's telling you how it feels. It's telling you if it's tired, injured, too hot, too cold, unbalanced, stressed out, too tight, full of aches and pains ... or ... "on top of the world."

Your body is constantly talking to you. Question is, do you ever listen? If not, you're ignoring the messages in which your body is leading you toward what it wants to do - as well as all the signals that tell you to be careful.

I remember the day I was gung ho mixing dips and pullups and Hindu squats together during a workout in the gymnastics school where I often train. The first couple rounds went well and I was looking great. Then all of a sudden, I wasn't feeling the best. I needed a longer rest, but I refused to take it. I was ignoring my body's signals.

I jumped up to do another set of dips and something didn't feel right but I refused to pay attention. Next thing you know I felt a sharp twinge of pain in my shoulder.

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Now THAT got my attention. I shut up and listened.

I moved to another area of the gym, away from the parallel bars and tested the shoulder with some basic pushups. They didn't feel right, so I did the smart thing for a change, changed clothes and called it a day.

Woke up the next day and was a bit sore, got a massage for the shoulder, slapped on some Zheng Gu Shui (Chinese linament) and within a couple days was back to normal. If I hadn't listened to my body, I would have injured myself far worse and the recovery wouldn't have been so quick.

So listening to your body is essential.

At the same time, what do I mean by "tell your body what you want it to do?"

This is when you "program your mind and your muscles" to accomplish a specific goal. Whether it's doing 100 straight pushups, 25 pullups, running hill sprints, swimming a mile, doing 500 straight Hindu squats or walking on your hands ... you mentally picture what you want to do in the future and you tell your muscles that you WILL do it.

Your body responds to your commands. Your muscles get stronger because you tell them to do so. You shed excess pounds because you look your flesh "in the eye" and tell it that "YOU" are the captain of this ship - and that you're the one issuing orders - not the other way around.

You can get your body to do almost anything, it seems ... but not unless you tell it what you want it to do.

The key to these two principles is balance. Both of these keys represent the yin and the yang of fitness. As such, there will always be a bit of overlap in the two.

Sometimes in telling yourself to do what you want - you may go too far and cause yourself a slight problem. No big deal so long as you readjust and move to the listening phase. On the other hand, if all you do is "listen" but you never give commands,you may be listening to nothing but "I'm tired" crapola.

Strike a balance between these two principles and you'll live a lifetime of superior health and fitness.

Copyright, Gold Medal Publications, Inc 2004


Editor's Note:

In Matt's Combat Conditioning book and videos he give you the commands, the what to do. He also gives you the "precautions" - telling you when to back off or when to change gears. This is invaluable information that will put you on the fast track to fitness success. Read more about his best-selling program at here

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