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By Columnist Michael Meredith – Athletic Coach:

Sound Mind Sound Body
Photo Credit: Kyle Lane 2010 – Sound Mind Sound Body


We have all heard the term mind over matter before. But, when it comes to athletic performance your strongest asset is your mental strength.

I have read many studies on mental strength. I’ve found that élite level athletes train their mental capacity to succeed under high levels of stress and in some of the most testing conditions. Now when It comes to preparing your mental state, meditation is a highly effective way to gain control over both you conscious and sub-conscious mind. Many élite athletes will meditate daily. They do this for short periods and experts even suggest that at this level of sport, most athletes have a dual personality.

Let’s call this dual personality “Athlete Mode” Vs “Everyday mode.” Success lies in the separation of the two modes. Thus, an athlete can switch into “ATHLETE MODE” when it’s time to perform. Let’s look at this mode in greater detail.

Athletic Mode

This mode covers few key areas. These are as follows:

  • Discipline;
  • Focus;
  • Control;
  • Calmness;
  • Desire; and
  • Resilience.

These attributes are all required to control your “fight or flight” response. I find most recreational athletes will spend months preparing for an event. Then by the time the event arrives they feel confident and ready to go. That is, until the night before. This time is when the nerves kick in and doubt takes over. When this happens, you will find that you can’t sleep. So, when you turn out to your event, you’re so nervous that your entire preparation falls apart. Sound like you?

Tips to Take You to the Next Level

if you’re constant fighting your nerves before an event, then try these remedies:

  • Relax;
  • Breathe;
  • Visualise; and
  • Control your response.

Being nervous is natural. You can even use this as an asset. But, nerves need control. To do this, see your outcome. Be confident in your mind. See yourself winning or crossing the line strongly. If you continue to do this, then in time you will achieve what you wish.

Understanding Control

Control is essential to your success. For example, you’re on the start line of your event, and you’re extremely nervous. You look at the other competitors, and you think, “OMG they look so much fitter than me.” Then, the gun goes off. Everyone sprints off. You freak out, and just about give up because – in the first 500m – everyone is so far in front of you that you are a now the slowest in the field. Reality sets in. After the first 1km, the field sorts itself out. The nerves are gone. The body is warm, and all the drama that was going through your minds means absolutely nothing anymore. All you are now focusing on is your ability and how you feel. Plus, you just want to get to the end of your race and finish as strong as you can.

Controlling Your Fight or Flight Mechanism

The most successful athletes have control over their “FIGHT OR FLIGHT” Mechanism. So when it comes to your performance, and changing your mindset, you need to focus on being calm, in control and having a strong desire. Be confident in your training and your ability. So, take a deep breath and switch into “ATHLETE MODE”.

In your head be confident as you like, so visualise success and your training outcome. Once you are in an event, let calmness and resilience become your primary focus. Be strong and tough; really tough. This time is where your mental capacity shines. Remember when times get tough, you get tougher. Know that your mind will endure more than your body, so if the body can keep going, then you must be mentally strong enough to keep up.

Your job now is to build your “ATHLETE MODE”. There is a superstar inside of us all mentally. Therefore, it’s your job to train as tough as possible. So when next it comes to competition, switch on “ATHLETE MODE” and unleash the superstar within.

About Our Athletic News and Review Columnist – Michael Meredith

Michael Meredith

Michael Meredith, Master Personal Trainer, Elite Obstacle Racer, Former Sydney A-grade rugby league player, Runner, and all-round health enthusiast, is the Founder of Aussie Athletes Health and Performance. As a coach, Michael’s philosophy is to focus on health and performance. His 12-week training programs for men and women, include strength and fitness, OCR (or obstacle course racing) and recreational running. Micheal aims to narrow the gap between strength training and aerobic endurance so that his clients’ can balance the two effectively to create the fittest, healthiest version of themselves.

“After more than 5-years as a Personal Trainer, I have helped celebrities, recreational athletes make it all the way to an élite level of fitness. In addition, I have annually sponsored two ‘everyday athletes’ as a mentor. This give one male and one female the opportunity to take on certain events throughout the year under the guidance of the #teamaussieathletes community.”

“My major focus as a trainer is to complete an exercise science degree and turn my Aussie Athletes business into a community based-group that operates out of its own head-quarters. Aussie Athletes Health and Performance is now operated via two of Australia’s premier Fitness First Platinum Clubs in Sydney Australia, these being in Park Street Platinum and Bondi Platinum.

Disclaimer: The author’s own professional and personal knowledge, and opinion form the basis of this column. This information and opinion are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment of any manner. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding any medical condition and consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on InShape News.


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