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Working Out Starts From The Neck Up
by Mike Mauney

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Mental stretching is a first step toward getting your body toning off on the right foot.

Everyone knows it takes exercise, cardiovascular work and a healthy nutrition plan to develop a great swimsuit body. But, what else will you need to be successful? It is so easy to say "Yes, I want to have a great body and I am willing to do whatever it takes to have it." This sounds good, but how willing are you? Do you have the all-important mental ingredients that it will take to get the job done?

Let's break these mental attributes down into three words: committed, motivated and responsible. Then we can explore what you are truly saying when you say, "Yes, I am willing to do whatever it takes to have a great body."

We will start with the word "committed." According to Funk and Wagnell, the definition of the word committed means to do; to devote (oneself) unreservedly. In order to be successful you must first decide if you are truly willing to be committed — all the way, completely, 100 percent, not most of the time or 90 percent of the time. Each time you fail to follow the best procedure, your chances of having maximum results will be greatly diminished. Instead of 100 percent, you begin to look at a success rate of 90 percent or 80 percent. When it comes to exercise, nutrition and cardiovascular work, you must be 100 percent committed. Remember the saying about the chicken and the pig? The chicken is dedicated to producing an egg, but the pig is committed to giving his all by providing the ham.
Jodi Clark exercise photo
The right mental conditioning can help you achieve physical goals sooner. Seen here working with light weights is Mike Mauney client Miss West Virginia 2000 Jodi Clark.

Our second word is "motivated." The meaning is a conscious or unconscious need, drive, etc., that incites a person to action or behavior; incentive; goal. Anytime a person makes a decision to change their body, they are beginning a long and tedious process. Staying motivated throughout this process is very important. Normally most people are very motivated in the first three weeks of their body-shaping program. Unfortunately, shaping the body takes much longer. Be prepared to see the change come slowly. It is natural to feel disappointment, especially when you are working and trying so hard and you feel certain the results will be quick. When results do not appear as quickly as you would like, the motivational level begins to drop. Do not expect to see much change in the first two or three weeks of your body shaping program. Just remain focused on your goal. Once this time has passed and you begin to see results, your motivation level will increase and you will be encouraged to keep up the hard work.

During this early period, surround yourself with highly motivated people — people who are successful at what they do, who enjoy life and what life has to offer. Always keep a mental vision of the way you intend your body to look. Never step on a set of scales more than once per week. If you stumble on your nutrition plan, do not beat yourself up for your mistake. Learn from your mistakes and use them as a "lessons learned" for future motivation. This will help you become mentally stronger.

The last word we will talk about is "responsible." There are several definitions for the word responsible. The definition I like to use when it comes to personal fitness involves accountability and obligation. Obligation means a duty, a promise, or a contract. When it comes to obligation, you only have one true obligation.

There will be several people along the way who will help you on your journey to success. To each of these you will have different degrees of obligation. The main person to whom you are obligated, the person that you should care about the most, is the person who will walk across the stage. That person is you. For all the work others have done to help you, they will not be with you on the stage as the judges make their final decisions. Your supporters will not be viewed by hundreds, thousands, or possibly millions of people watching the competition. Your first obligation is to yourself and to being the best you can be.

There are several items that you will be responsible for when it comes to obtaining a great swimsuit body. You will be responsible for finding the right personal fitness trainer. This person will hold you accountable for all phases of preparation. This will include nutrition, cardiovascular work, and light, medium, or heavy weight training. These will be determined by your condition at the beginning of your body training program. You will need a trainer who will care for your training program while you are in and away from the gym. (Personal Fitness Trainers will be discussed more in future articles). You will be responsible for completing your daily body shaping routines. You will need to feel good about your choice of swimsuit. Your feelings about your swimsuit will show up in your facial expression and body language on stage. Make sure you are satisfied with your choice.

So, what have you learned about the three ingredients for a great swimsuit body? You can see that it takes more than just physical fitness training. You must also be involved in mental fitness training, always staying one step ahead of the physical routines by leading the way mentally and allowing the physical effort to follow. When it comes to developing a great swimsuit body — a perfect "10" — make sure you have the three important mental ingredients for success. Be committed, motivated, and responsible. When you have all these in place, go for it.

Mike Mauney, owner of Body Design By Mike fitness center in North Carolina, is a Personal Fitness Trainer certified by the National Federation of Professional Trainers. Mike specializes in Personal Fitness Training for women of all ages. For twelve years he has been training dancers, models, cheerleaders, pageant and swimsuit contestants of all ages and competition levels (local, state, national, and international). His daughter Michelle Mauney was Miss North Carolina USA 1995. Some of Mike�s training credits includes the following: Carrie Stroup, Miss World representative 2001, Chelsea Cooley, National Titleholder, Janice Ward, Mrs. United States 1999, Vanessa Minnillo, swimsuit winner and Miss Teen USA 1998, and Michelle Warren, 1st runner-up Miss America Pageant 1998.

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