Stronger Bodies Yield Brilliant Minds
"How to Ignite Your Creativity Through Athletic Strength Training" by Elliott Hulse, CSCS
Photographed by SAS Digital Memories 2008
“To a good bodily constitution corresponds the nobility of the mind.” —Aristotle
Aristotle has been recognized as perhaps the greatest thinker in western civilized history. I once heard that all philosophy is just footnotes to Aristotle. When it comes to maximizing our mental capacities and potential, it would be safe to say that any program or advice that a man like Aristotle could deliver would be greatly welcomed.
According to the brilliance of our esteemed philosopher, what is the very first step to take in order to unleash our hidden potential for genius thought and delivery? Aristotle once said, “Care of the body shall proceed care of the mind.”
To be accepted as a philosophy student, Aristotle required that all applicants partake in rigorous physical training. He understood that a body that has been trained to withstand the demands of arduous physical activities has a greater potential for high levels of consistent and focused thought. The stronger the bodies, the more brilliant the minds.
Today, the most brilliant minds are typically found in upper level management and as the officers of multi-billion dollar corporations. These men and women have trained and been tested not only mentally but by character and will. They consistently are posed with increasingly greater demands on their focus and intelligence. In several instances, they are also of the poorest health among our nation’s workforce due to stressful inflow with very little opportunity for physical release.
As human beings, we are constantly in an energy flux. We are receiving stimulus from our environment and responding to it. But often we are not in a position, socially or otherwise, to respond to our given stimulus with the appropriate physical reaction. For example, you are on the phone with an irate customer who is taunting you and speaking to you in with a belittling tone. Our primal instinct would be to approach this individual with a violent posture and perhaps attack physically. However, this response is not morally or socially acceptable.
So instead of acting on your primal instinct, you accept the in-flow of stress and hold it physically in your body, typically in the neck/shoulder region. For developmental humans, the stiffness in the neck/shoulder region would relay a message based on its form. So if you have a tight neck with your shoulders shrugged and head jutting forward, this will relay the message that you are in a dangerous mood and are protecting your self. Check your posture as you read this. Are your shoulders shrugged with your head jutting forward?
Exercise when used as a modality for the release of stress allows your subconscious attention to shift from safety and security to higher thought. A man or women who is protecting him or herself from attackers, in the figurative sense, will not have the capacity to act creatively nor focus and concentrate intensely. It is essential to your mental health and performance that you use athletic strength training to release physiological loads as well as to increase vitality.
Athletic strength training differs from the typical “gym based” exercises programs because it focuses on movement, muscular strength, and functionality rather than machine-based exercises and aerobics. This approach not only focuses the mind and cleanses the body more effectively than “gym based” exercises but also yields faster lean muscle gains and fat loss. This is what Aristotle expected his students to use over 2,300 years ago to build strong bodies and sound minds.
Athletic strength training involves the use of strength-based exercises that are performed in a functional manner within a given time interval. The best examples of the use of athletic strength training are Olympic weight lifters and professional Strongmen. Movements such as the clean and jerk in Olympic weight lifting or tire flipping in Strongman require a huge demand on the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and muscular system all within a single movement.
As opposed to the typically recommended 30 minutes of boring cardio, athletic strength training is fun, fast, and effective. Your body will release greater amounts of anabolic hormones, and your nervous system will be sharpened due to the complexity of the movements and heavier weights used. This will set the trainee up for improved mental capacity and higher levels of energy.
Elliott Hulse CSCS trains athletes and "Regular Joe's" to get stronger and faster so they can play harder.
Find out how at: http://www.StrengthCamp.com
Elliott Hulse's eBook - The Critical Gridiron Program