We have the pleasure of working with some of the best and brightest members of the fitness community. Our athletes understand how much power the mind has over the body. They respect the mind-muscle connection and recognize that visualization is the first step to actualization.
With the Olympia Weekend around the corner, we offered Arnold Schwarzenegger's famous quote on visualization to learn how Team Bodybuilding.com and others use this magnificent mental tool.
Close your eyes for a second. Imagine the body of your dreams. Now open your eyes and get after it.
Q How do you use visualization techniques to perfect your physique?
Brandan Fokken /// Every time I do a chest routine, I find myself lost within the workout. I'm constantly thinking about how the muscles feel, concentrating on form and contraction.
Because the muscles fill up with blood and you get a pump, you can visually see the chest muscles expand. If anything, subconsciously you think of your chest "growing" when you see this visual change. I have always aspired to get Arnold's "unattainable chest," because his chest was unreal back then, even by today's standards.
If you are going to set a goal, you might as well think big! I also think to myself periodically that "the other guy" is doing more than me, or that he's already ahead so I have to do those extra reps not only to catch up, but to beat him.
I find motivation in comparisons and competing against others' best attributes and even against myself. I've always looked to Arnold for inspiration and as someone who motivates me every day to become a better me in all I do.
Jamie Eason /// I actually use visualization with my least favorite activity, and that's cardio. I hate it so much that in order to keep going I have to say to myself over and over, I'm a machine! I can't think about my tired muscles or the intense breathing. Thinking of myself as a machine helps push those things out of my mind.
Craig Capurso /// I use visualization for my quads and legs. I idolized the Hulk growing up and always wanted to tear through my clothes. I've actually done this a few times when sitting and once when jet skiing. It was quite a show. It's unfortunate that my family was the first to see!
Shelsea Montes /// I always visualize myself performing every exercise full out 100%. I always visualize wearing my favorite outfits including short biker shorts, miniskirts, and cute cocktail dresses and getting away with all of them! I always tell myself: "No Leg Hurt, No Short Skirt!"
Brandon Johnson /// I imagine that my legs are like pistons on a large train engine. With each rep I am pumping out more and more power. Each plate I add to the bar doesn't make it heavier; it only makes my legs stronger.
Kizzito Ejam /// As a kid I always admired the midsections of comic book superheroes. While I'm doing any ab workout, my goal is to sculpt them as if I were going to be drawn in a comic book.
Nicole Moneer Guerrero /// Anything in life that I have set out to accomplish, I have always positively envisioned in my head first. I have even made vision boards to keep me on track toward my goals. They work and are so fun to make. Try it!
Things I have envisioned — becoming a Bodybuilding.com athlete/spokesmodel, an IFBB bikini pro, an author (in-progress), and an internationally-published fitness model — had to do with my optimistic outlook.
I dream, visualize, develop a plan, and then I act. No matter what I visualize, I know I can and will. When it comes to visualizing my perfect physique, it's more than just body parts — it's my mental parts! Like thinking I can do anything I want with hard work and perseverance.
Sean Sarantos /// Shoulders were always a stubborn muscle group for me, but as the years have passed it has become one of my favorite muscle groups to train. Since there are three different areas to train with deltoids, it requires that much more focus when hitting them.
Without the power of visualization so many of us would get discouraged to even start working out! If we only focused on we how look at the present, then we would never strive for what we want in the future.
I like to picture the specific muscle how I want it to look, and then continuously work until I see the little gains add up to the overall goal.
Brian Stann /// I fight, so I visualize having brutal knockout power and defeating my opponent when I do my strength-and-conditioning workouts.
Laura Bailey /// I always visualized my shoulders looking beautifully capped, even when I was resting, and that's what would push me through an extra set of overhead dumbbell presses. I think nicely-sculpted shoulders on women look great and really bring the dimensions of our bodies together, especially since we love to wear sleeveless, backless, and strapless tops in the summer. I always wanted to be the girl in the sun dress with shoulders that made people do a double-take!
Jaquelyn Kay /// I imagine my entire body as a machine, as something that can withstand heavy loads and speed. I cannot let my mind fail me, because the body is capable of anything the mind lets it do. I train like an athlete to look like one.
Michelle Hanson /// I just imagine what my legs will look like when I walk across stage and what they look like to other people when I am wearing shorts. I love pretty legs on girls and nicely shaped legs on guys. I usually try to remember exercises and tips that I learn from my fitness magazines and from my friends who train.
Steve Cook /// I use visualization to train every body part. From an early age I had an image of what I wanted to look like in my mind. It's a look somewhere between Steve Reeves and Arnold: each muscle in proportion with the rest, a body that would appeal to the general population as well as be appreciated by the sport of bodybuilding.
Knowing what my ideal body looks like gives my workouts meaning. I haven't achieved my "prefect" look, and probably never will, but it's the journey that matters, the goal, and the enjoyment of striving for something that you truly have a passion for.
Visualizing is part of my everyday routine. I visualize not just how I want my muscles to look, but how I want my entire life to look. Every day I work until the image I create in my mind becomes reality.