“Our life is what our thoughts make it”
-Marc Antonius

Are your thoughts connected to the life you experience?

Can your thoughts directly affect how you look and feel?

I think the answer is YES, definitely!

In fact, the power of your mind can shape everything; your life, your body, and your happiness. 1 2

In this article, I will show you how you can leverage the power of your mind to help push you towards the body of your dreams as if by divine influence. An invisible force will drive you forward, closer and closer to the body you envision.

Sound farfetched? Well it’s not…

Visualization is a time-tested, proven technique that involves focusing on positive mental images in order to achieve a particular goal. Visualization is so powerful because it impacts our subconscious minds and without us even realizing it, we are propelled in the direction of our thoughts.

Many of the most successful people in the world use the power of visualization on a daily basis to achieve both personal and professional goals. For example, Michael Jordan used to visualize making the game winning shot thousands of times in his mind before he actually made the shot in countless games.

So how do you create the right visualization that inspires you?

I encourage you to spend a couple minutes visualizing how you want your body to look and feel. Think deeply and take into account the following questions:

• What are you wearing?
• What are you doing?
• Are you with anyone?
• Do you hear anything?
• How exactly do you feel? What is your emotional state?
• What is it about the way you look that is so appealing? Anything in particular?

The more detailed the visualization, the more real, the better. If you are 5’10” and visualize yourself as a ripped 6’6” guy who can do a 360 dunk, that visualization is not going to help much. But you can certainly make your vision more extreme, like an ideal.

Finding photos of guys who really inspire me to improve my physique who also had similar body types as me helped make my visualizations more concrete and real. Here are some of the photos I put together that inspired me:

In time, I developed a physique comparable to the guys in the photos above. It was a surreal feeling looking at myself in the mirror and seeing a reflection of the body I dreamed about for so many years. The constant visualization of the body I wanted manifested itself into physical reality.

There is one major challenge to making this visualization work for us 24/7. It’s such an insidious problem that it can make our visualization exercise almost worthless:

It’s Belief.

We must believe in our visualization. It’s only a matter of time before the vision becomes reality.

Here’s a shocking statistic for you: As I mentioned in the Top 10 Quotes For Fitness Motivation, some studies show that more than 90% of our approximately 60,000-70,000 thoughts each day are negative, and most are the same as the previous day. 3

Are these negative thought patterns impacting our success? You bet. 4

These negative thought patters create self limiting beliefs that derail any chance of success.

So next time you have a negative thought, or are stressed out, step back and think about it. Making negative subconscious thoughts conscious can snap you out of a negative thought pattern.

Here are some examples of making a negative thought into a positive one:

• Going to the gym for a tough workout is not a chore, but an opportunity to improve your body and your health.

• You are not depriving yourself by asking for salad on the side instead of fries, you are improving your body and your health, getting one step closer to your visualization.

• The soreness you feel after a workout is not bad, it’s proof you had a good workout.

Ascribing positive thoughts to actions or things that you typically would ascribe to pain is a game changer!

I usually know within 5 minutes of meeting someone whether or not they will reach their transformation goals, because it’s all in their head!

It has NOTHING to do with genetics, or even with lifting experience. It’s all about mindset. Period.

I’ll leave you with a few great quotes on the power of visualization:

“Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them – a desire, a dream, a vision.”
-Muhammad Ali

“As you think, so shall you become.”
-Bruce Lee

“Visualize this thing that you want, see it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blueprint, and begin to build.”
-Robert Collier

Have you ever used visualization to help you achieve a goal in your life?

Leave a comment below!

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16 Comments

  1. profile avatar
    Atif Aug 11, 2011 - 12:34 #

    Hi Marc ,
    After reading your Article on visualization I am sure this single technique can change the way i look at things in my life ….. the reason why i am saying this is just because i had a talk with one of my friends who is very good with this Technique and she applies it on her daily life. She told me how poweful this is. Now i know how guys like you get Great physiques , Its just not Workouts its always some thing Extra.
    Anyways , Thank you for such an enlightened article.

  2. profile avatar
    Kishalay Aug 11, 2011 - 12:43 #

    Awesome article. Mental health is critical in transforming your body and visualizing that physical goal is a great way to keep yourself inspired and motivated.

  3. profile avatar
    Alexander Aug 11, 2011 - 14:28 #

    I really like this phrase you wrote: “It has NOTHING to do with genetics, or even with lifting experience. It’s all about mindset. Period.” Truly inspiring article. Thanks, Marc!

  4. profile avatar
    Leila Aug 11, 2011 - 16:15 #

    Marc, THANK YOU for this article – I will be referring back to this again and again. Such good wisdom in here, and so very broadly applicable. Compelling and invaluable!

  5. profile avatar
    Vic Virzera Aug 11, 2011 - 16:48 #

    Hi Marc:
    Once again congrats on the great info provided I concur with this very-well researched and thought out presentation. I have been an advocate of positive thinking and the mind- body connection. The only thing that I can suggest is that you look at an old approach to learning called Programmed Learning that was developed in the late 60’s. In summary it has to do with learning by getting instant rewards. A written question is presented and the answer is given directly beneath the question. Of course it would consist of numerous question to cover a particular topic. This method produced results in which difficult topics would be learned with great ease. Simiarly, I think the positive mind set and its physical results could benefit from having small increments of accomplishment. This could result in a snow balling conditioning effect for positive physical fitness results. FYI and thoughts…..

    Thanks for the inspiring information.
    Take care and best regards to all,
    Vic

  6. profile avatar
    Yas Aug 11, 2011 - 17:15 #

    Great article, the power of positive visualisation is definately imortant in achieving not only health goals but for every goal that we want.

  7. profile avatar
    Brian Aug 11, 2011 - 20:55 #

    Amazing post!!

  8. profile avatar
    Hank Aug 11, 2011 - 22:45 #

    Simply a great article.

  9. profile avatar
    Mary Aug 13, 2011 - 00:25 #

    Great post! Thought provoking and inspirational.

  10. profile avatar
    Marc Perry Aug 14, 2011 - 14:54 #

    Thanks everyone for your comments.

    @Vic – I think the idea of small rewards is VERY powerful and I think the snowballing effect of building momentum is interesting. I’m going to be exploring this reward concept for sure in the future.

  11. profile avatar
    Nat Aug 23, 2011 - 02:04 #

    Hey Marc, I’ve been reading alot of articles on your website and everything you say makes alot of sense, its definitely some of the better workout tips I have come across in my research. If I’m going for a body type like the people above, do you recommend body part splits (i.e. chest one day, biceps/back the next, etc.) a full body workout, or upper/lower body splits? and how do I fit in cardio? I’m 6ft, 170-175lbs, and I do not know my body fat but it cant be any higher than 10% im guessing and I am already in fairly good shape, but I think i can do alot better when it comes to the tone of my muscles and the lean, “ripped” look I am going for (which I don’t have too much of, especially in my arms). Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Aug 23, 2011 - 14:51 #

      @Nat – It’s funny you are asking this question of a full body workout vs. split routine because I just got finished writing a 1,500 word article on that exact question. I should be publishing it in the next couple weeks. FYI, you can subscribe to get new articles via email by inputting your email in that little box that says “Free Updates” on the right hand side.

      As a very quick summary, if you are looking to refine your physique and shape it, I believe a split routine is superior to full body workouts, no question about it. While a split routine does not burn as many calories as a full body workout, assuming you have your nutrition nailed down, you should be able to get ripped with any type of strength training routine, because as you know, it’s really a matter of losing as much fat as possible without losing muscle.

      In terms of the specific type of split, it really is a preference thing. I’m also planning on writing an article about the 5 best training splits, but that one may be a little ways off. I do think an upper body/lower body split with 2-4 workouts per week (depending on your schedule) can be excellent as long as you are recovering properly for each workout. Some others to consider are a chest/back, shoulder/arms, legs, or a chest/bis, back/tris, shoulders/legs, where you superset the opposing muscle groups (i.e. go back and forth between chest and biceps exercises). I did this type of workout for years, but again it’s a more advanced workout that does not necessarily optimize fat burn, but allows you to have great control over how you shape your physique. Hope this is helpful!

  12. profile avatar
    Nat Aug 24, 2011 - 17:05 #

    Thank you so much for the help Marc!! I just have one more quick follow up question after reading one of your other articles. I think I will continue with the split routines and just change up the exercises every few weeks so they do not get stagnant and boring. I am also going to take your suggestion of doing more supersets! They will save time and I really like the feeling of working different muscle groups, make it seem like there is alot less time wasted. Anyways, my follow-up question is say that I am doing splits and lifting weights 4 times a week, when is the best time to fit in cardio, namely some intense interval training? Should it be after a weight workout? before? Or days in between weight workouts? Or will this counteract the weightlifting I am doing with my arms and legs and burn me out?

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry Aug 25, 2011 - 22:39 #

      @Nat – Not a problem. Happy I can be helpful. I definitely agree you should be doing a lot more supersetting. That’s the only way I workout and it’s killer effective. These are also great questions that are not easy to answer and deserve a separate post, but in short, definitely do interval training AFTER your weight training, or on a separate day. What I would personally do is 3 days of lifting with 1 interval training workout after one of those workouts, then 1 day of metabolic conditioning/interval training as your fourth workout. Whether you want to do cardio after a workout, or on a separate day depends on your energy levels. If you are completely wiped our after your strength training workout, then do it on a separate day. If not, why not fit it in. I’m a big believer in energy during exercise and working with it. Regarding possible burn out, you really have to get a feel for it. I find that interestingly enough when I do interval training, my body gets more resilient and I do not get sore as much. This happens because your heart gets better/more efficient at pumping blood/oxygen when your cardio capacity improves. Finally, if you have not checked out my BuiltLean Program, you sound like a good candidate to follow the Level 3 Exercise Level. It’s well structured with interval training built into it.

  13. profile avatar
    kon Feb 09, 2012 - 17:03 #

    Great article Marc,very inspirational.Just one objection.I know that pretty much everyone can achieve a good looking body and a high percentage of the effort is mental but dont say genetics have nothing to do with it.Genetics is an incredibly persistent barrier for some persons and i know that from personal studying as well as experience since my genes are pretty much awful like not genetically gifted muscle mass,endomorph bodytype thin bones and skeletal mass in general(a female friend of mine has larger wrists than me) which doesnt help with strength or injury recovery as u know.All im trying to say is that you should not say genetics have nothing to do with it.It is a barrier that people should know of,not saying it cant be surpassed but all readers should be aware of it and i believe saying that it has nothing to do with them is a bit misleading.Still great work and effort on ur behalf i have enjoyed all of your articles keep them coming

    1. profile avatar
      Marc Perry, CSCS, CPT Feb 13, 2012 - 22:42 #

      @kon – thanks for your comment. I think overall you are right. I made a blanket statement that could be construed as you point out. I do agree genetics is a very important factor, but 99 times out of 100, almost anyone (aside from a major disease, debilitation, or hormonal imbalance) can be overcome “bad” genetics with the right mindset and approach. My point in putting it in the article is that way too many people use genetics as a crutch for not achieving their fitness goals.

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