Your mind and body are constantly influencing each other. That means that even though there are exercises that may target one over the other, they can never be trained separately. It also means that a training can be designed in such a way that the physical exercises optimize the impact of the mental exercises. Welcome to 2Mynds mind-body training!
The mind-body package deal
Your body does not work without your mind and your mind doesn’t work without your body – they are a package deal. For some reason though, most physical movement disciplines focus on physical aspects only. The mental aspects are often left for the sports psychologist or mental coach. Conversely, when mental training takes place, the physical aspects and applications of the mental skills in functional environments are often left for the athletes themselves or their sport-specific coaches. This scattered approach separates mental from physical aspects to let the experts do their work and to keep their life simple.
We believe making life easy for coaches is is a bad motivation when it comes to athletic development, especially if it leaves the athlete with a sub-optimal environment for development. So, enter mind-body training…
The unique 2Mynds approach
First of all, throwing a bunch of exercises together doesn’t get you a workout. In fact, properly progressive workouts are an essential component of any training regimen and the 2Mynds approach to training is no different. Even though the term mind-body intervention is somewhat established in western medicine, mind-body training is poorly defined and 2Mynds is a pioneer in this area, with a unique approach.
The 2Mynds version of mind-body training explicitly alternates exercise bursts that either have a mental purpose or a physical purpose. That doesn’t mean that you don’t move in the mental exercise burst, it’s just that the primary purpose of the burst it to work on a mental skill. Also, as explained in the next part, the physical exercises are not there for the sake of physical development, but they are there to optimize the effect of the mental exercises. The graphic below shows an example design of a mind-body workout as we may use it in 2Mynds.
All of our mind-body workouts progress, but we design them with different progressions, depending on the purpose and the skill.
2Mynds MBT, although it has physical aspects, is designed for optimal development of mental skills. This doesn’t mean that 2Mynds MBT does not have physical benefits, it just means they are a nice side effect of the overall approach to optimize mental fitness.
Why 2Mynds mind-body training?
It’s interesting that there are million-dollar companies like Calm and Headspace that offer hundreds of meditation exercises in various formats yet fail to provide workout plans that progress to stress. That means that hardly anyone trains their mental skills under stress and thus it is entirely conceivable that someone who practices deep relaxation and mindfulness diligently in the morning can exhibit road rage that same afternoon, simply because the mindfulness was never trained under challenging circumstances! Their meditation never progressed, and consequently, the applicability and functionality of the skill they practiced didn’t either…
This is where we do things very differently, based on a simple line of reasoning: mental skills are needed most when people are under pressure in real-life situations, so let’s make sure they are trained under conditions that are comparable in stress level and comparable in situational conditions! To gradually introduce stress into the workout, we may progress movement complexity, we may push you to your anaerobic limits, or we may take your cardiovascular system to its max! Practically, that means you don’t do your visualizations and imagery with waterfall sounds and incense burning! Instead, you may start your visualizations under controlled conditions but eventually, you may do them while your heart rate is 140 and your arms are sore from push-up variations. And guess what, now you prepare yourself in a much more functional way (at 5-6 in the third set of a tennis match you don’t have incense burning either; you’re tired, sore, and your heart is racing).
Besides the physiological functionality of our approach, a nice side effect of adding progressive stress via physical training is that it’s more fun. You may not be tempted to do a 10 minute meditation, but 15 minutes of mental skill development that gets integrated in a physical workout may seem like a breeze!
The 2Mynds mind-body training gives you a unique edge: you train your mental skills progressively and towards function. More importantly, you progress to stress and transition to functional conditions so it becomes easy to transfer your exercises to situations when it matters and apply what you learned and trained.
Curious about mind-body training? Simply register for free and try our free resources. There is material for athletes, parents, and coaches. Check out this post for more information about the process of getting started.