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Why it is important to be tenacious

Hey friends, Branden here!

Today I want to talk about tenacity. Tenacity is defined as “the quality or fact of being very determined; determination.”

What comes to mind when you hear that word?  For me, it brings up many feelings and emotions from my past.

We all have a story, and we all have hardships that we endure in life.  It may sound cliche and overplayed, but you know the saying, “fall down seven times, stand up eight”?

There have been several instances in my personal life that have knocked me down, such as our house fire, having shoulder surgery while at UW-Stevens Point with no recovery time, my parents getting divorced, so on and so forth. tenacity

Hardships like these will test your mental toughness and your mental tenacity.  It is important to have a good support system and be able to discuss and process these life events.

Beyond the mental is the physical, which I am better at dealing with. These are roadblocks that may be short, or much longer of a healing process.  I’m sure we all have twisted an ankle, or pulled a muscle, or something along those lines.  It’s the physical injuries that I can heal quickly because I know what is wrong and how to fix it.  Something I have gotten quite good at is listening to my body and knowing when to push the envelope and when to step back and recover.  It is important to know what ailments you have that require time off from the gym, or that require further needs, such as surgery.

At any rate, whether you are experiencing mental or physical pain, you must be tenacious.  Life is not fair, things will happen that are out of your control and they may seem insurmountable at that time.  Take things one day at a time and keep putting your best foot forward.  I wholeheartedly believe that if you have a positive mindset, good things will come.

I hope you remember this post in a time of need and you can say to yourself, remember to be tenacious.

-Branden

Him

Muscle to Mind Connection

Hi, my name is Branden Westlund, you can find me on Instagram @westlundbranden.  After winning the state championship my last year at UW-Fox Valley, I traded in soccer for bodybuilding and have dabbled ever since!  I work in a hospital laboratory as a Medical Laboratory Scientist.  I am also a huge gamer (Halo, World of Tanks, Counter Strike), hunter, gearhead, and much like Macy, I love puppies!

Starting this month, Macy and I are launching a blog series that will feature a monthly post written by me. Stayed tuned each month to check out my fresh perspective!

I want to use this post to discuss one of the biggest lessons I have learned in the gym. There are many little nuances and tips/tricks that you can pick up along the way from people you meet or friends who work out with you. The most important thing that I have learned was from Kai Greene. For those of you who don’t know who he is, I urge you to check out his YouTube videos or social media accounts; Kai is full of knowledge and is a very knowledgeable bodybuilder. It was on one of his series, “Train with Kai” that he helped an aspiring bodybuilder to understand the concept of muscle to mind connection.

I have always been a stickler for using correct form and tried to perform lifts properly without cheating myself. When I watched this series, it made even more sense and you start to understand things more when you see a professional bodybuilder explain his mindset to another person. When you can check your ego at the door and really get down to business in the gym, you will be amazed at the progress you can make!

I began thinking about every rep, every contraction and every extension of each muscle I am training. Not only did I see progress, I got a better understanding of how to work each muscle group on its own and stop using other accessory muscles that were hindering the growth of what I was training that particular day.

The concept may be deeper than your understanding of the musculoskeletal system of the human body, but anyone can utilize it if you just break it down.

When you are doing a bicep curl the only way for that weight to move is by contracting your bicep.  You perform so many tasks every day that involve your bicep, what you are trying to do now is slow down and think about that movement.

When you were a kid you had to learn to tie your shoes; today you don’t even think about that motion because it is just muscle memory and engraved in your brain!  Stop and think before you tie your shoes this morning and really think about it.  The same applies to working out in the gym; you have to really think about what muscle you are using and not just go through the motions.

The muscle to mind connection can be utilized in more than just the sport of bodybuilding. I have a coworker who loves yoga. Her concept of mind to muscle connection is the same and is just as useful. She has learned to control each muscle according to the pose she is attempting, which has led to greater strength and endurance for her. You can utilize this concept even if you are a beginner weightlifter or cardio enthusiast; it is always important to know and understand what your body is trying to perform in order for you to maximize whatever goal you may be working towards!

 

-Branden

Find Branden on Instagram: @westlundbranden.