Athletes Brain is a term I’ve come up with for a common scenario I run into. At least I think I’ve made it up… Please correct me if not!
I use it to reference a time where people think they can do more than they are physically capable of. Or more specifically, their brain remembers what they used to be able to do but their body can no longer do that. Their brain remembers when they used to be an “athlete” of some sort, but their body is no longer at that same level.
It comes along with common phrases like:
“I used to be able to do that”
“I used to be able to lift more weight”
“I used to run way faster”
“But I should be able to do way more than this”
“Oh my god, I can’t believe how sore I am after such a simple workout”
As you can see, the theme is that the brain is still in the past. Your brain remembers everything you used to be able to do and for some strange reason your body isn’t doing it any more.
Your brain says “yes” and your body says “no”.
Guess what, your body wins.
The challenge with this scenario is that it can be frustrating as hell. I just want to be back where I used to be. Why can’t I be there now? I don’t remember it being this hard.
Fact is, in the past you worked really hard to get yourself to a certain spot in fitness or sports. You pushed, you overcame obstacles and you got results.
But then you stopped.
For whatever reason your life changed course and you stopped pursuing that path.
Maybe it’s been months, maybe it’s been years. Either way, it’s been a while. When you don’t keep at it, you don’t keep the results. As my university professor used to say: “If you don’t use it, you lose it”.
Your body has become de-conditioned and it now has to start all over. Although unfortunate and often frustrating, it is what it is. The only way to move forward is to accept it and just do what you can.
If you suffer from Athletes Brain, you’re going to have to tell your brain to shut up. Just like your parents when you were 16, it doesn’t know what’s best for you!
You need to get your brain to stop talking and start listening. Listen to your body and just do what it can. It may mean you start a little slower, but the good news is that won’t last.
You’ll start seeing results pretty quickly even at a modified level. If you don’t believe me, you might be suffering from All or Nothing which is a cousin of Athletes Brain.
Your body will actually re-gain a decent level of fitness pretty quickly. Within a few months (yes months, not weeks) your athletes brain will regain it’s value. Your body will have re-built a foundation and now you can use that same brain to start pushing yourself again. You’ll use it for good instead of evil and launch yourself into success!
Have you ever had Athletes Brain? Did it frustrate you and cause you to quit? Share your experience in the comments below.