I first discovered meditation about 5 years ago during one of the more stressful periods of my life.
I have a neurotic mind, and rumination is my worst enemy. I had trouble sleeping at night so I listened to guided meditation videos to calm my brain down enough to get some rest.
Eventually I realized that meditation was not only an effective tool for falling asleep, but it was a powerful way to start my day.
These days, I don’t do anything until I meditate.
But like anything else, you don’t fully appreciate the benefits of meditation until you miss a few days.
Which is what I did last week. And the results were borderline disastrous (at least it felt that way).
By day 3 of no meditation I could feel the tension building in my stomach and stretching across my chest. My capacity to do work got smaller by the day, and I needed more time alone to charge my batteries.
Being a personal trainer, being around people and showing up with a mountain of compassion and love is mandatory.
No meditation. No bueno.
For me, meditation is mandatory, and last week confirmed that. If I were given the choice to skip breakfast or skip meditation, I would skip breakfast.
And I get hangry. It would ruin my morning. But still, meditation before everything.
We know that our mental health is a fragile thing, and it’s to be taken seriously. And having the ability to show up with presence, patience, and focus is a huge benefit.
But I help people build lean, awesome bodies. So let’s explore why I recommend meditation to all of my clients.
We Eat Our Feelings
That’s a weird phrase, right? Eat our feelings? You can’t actually eat feelings.
But how we feel dictates what we do, and the fact that we have feelings does cause us to eat.
Picture it. It’s Wednesday afternoon, and all hell is breaking loose.
Your kid pooped his pants at school (or whatever kids do to stress you out), your boss hit you with a surprise deadline that’s less than reasonable, your brain is fried. No, it’s scrambled.
When you finally get home, you’re starving, anxious, and your shoulders feel like they have bombs about to go off inside them.
You know good and well you’re working hard to lose weight, but at this moment you don’t give a flying fox.
In response to all of that, you annihilate the entire box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch (the best cereal of all time, by the way.)
See, meditation doesn’t help your kid make it to the bathroom on time, or stop your boss from being a jerk. But it does increase your capacity to process and handle all of that.
That means you make better food choices based on your actual goals, instead of based on the fact that you need to feel better now before your shoulders explode with tension.
Recovery is Half the Equation
Training to build an awesome body requires hard work, and your ability to recover from that hard work.
Stress and anxiety crush your ability to do either.
All that stress we carry around with us sucks away at our energy stores like a parasite.
That means you aren’t showing up to your workouts with a full clip of ammo.
It also means you aren’t able to recover fully from your workouts because your energy is being used to worry about that report that’s due Friday, or your sister-in-law’s cryptic but subliminally insulting Facebook status.
Meditation will boost your productivity in the gym, and super charge your ability to recover between workouts by keeping stress to a minimum.
I Want My Clients to Be Happy
I don’t want to over step my bounds here, but I assume you want to be happy too.
Here’s the deal. Here in North America, we’re the biggest group of sad sacks on the planet.
Sure, we have all the food and shiny cool things. But we’re weighed down by those things as well.
Our lives move lightening fast, we face a certain pressure to provide, perform and keep up.
This can cause a lot of unhappiness.
Meditation helps you clear the outside noise and get back in touch with what’s actually important to you.
This helps you stay happy.
And that’s important.
I’m far from a meditation guru. Really, I’m just a guy who found a way to manage my neurotic mind, maximize mine and my clients training, and maintain a higher level of happiness.
Meditation is my cornerstone habit, and it’s a crucial aspect in my clients fat loss plans.
By helping them train harder, recover better, and manage their stress, they’re able to build leaner, stronger bodies.