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Arnolds Psyche – Mind to Muscle
When you mention the name Arnold Schwarzenegger, the image that immediately comes to mind is peaked biceps and a tremendous side chest pose. Others might note Arnold’s amazing movie career, but for me, the overwhelming impression is one of his commanding psyche. I’m not talking about his psych-out methods used to throw Louie off his game in Pumping Iron; I’m talking about the mental tricks that Arnold used on himself to succeed. It was his relentless mind-set that propelled Arnold from an unknown boy in Austria to the world’s most recognizable bodybuilder and box office superstar. It is this mind-set that afforded Arnold all his success during his illustrious career. This month’s pearl from “Elite Physique” is the importance of mimicking Arnold’s psyche so that you can elevate your physique game.
Before we start I need to come clean and admit that I wasn’t always the biggest Arnold fan. I rooted for Lou Ferrigno in Pumping Iron. It wasn’t until my first Arnold Classic that I truly understood the immense gravity of Arnold’s persona. I felt it when he walked out onstage. I could feel electricity in the air. It was life changing. The crowd went crazy. I had goose bumps and the hair that I missed while shaving my arms was standing at attention. I realized the weight of Arnold’s powerful charisma and firmly grasped the advantage of his positive mind-set.
It should be no surprise that positive visualization played a pivotal role in Arnold’s rise to stardom. In his book The Education of a Bodybuilder, Arnold revealed how he employed this psychological tool to his advantage:
It became part of my routine that year to start out every day with total concentration. The way I did it was to play out exactly what I was going to use, how I was going to pull my muscles, and how it would feel. I programmed myself. I saw myself doing it; I imagined how I would feel it. I was thoroughly, totally into it mentally. I did not waver at all.
Arnold has said he used to visualize his biceps as great peaked mountains. To Arnold, improvement and success in bodybuilding was all psychological warfare. Arnold also wrote “It’s in the mind … you talk yourself into it. You tell yourself you are going to be the hero. And you picture yourself completing the lift before you even touch the weight.”
It’s this mind-set that makes champions. Having worked as a contest prep coach for 13 years, I can predict with a high amount of certainty who has the mental fortitude for success. This attitude becomes even more evident during prep. You need to believe in yourself because if you don’t, no one else will. Have you ever heard the phrase “Fake it until you make it”? It’s that simple. Commit to seeing yourself onstage and winning the overall title while you are killing fasted cardio. You need to act the part of a winner before you actually become a winner, not the other way around. It’s not about being cocky or arrogant; it’s about believing in yourself. This is the attitude of a winner and the attitude of the Elite Physique Team.
For more information about the Mind Muscle connetion from an IFBB Pro, check out this incredible article!