The Conscious Athlete

“What’s your conditioning like?”

What is the most powerful weapon in your bodybuilding, fitness and figure contest prep arsenal? Is it a low carb diet? A high carb diet? Moderate cardio? HIIT Cardio? 5X5’s, Multi-Vortex-Conditioning?

So many techniques, tools and gadgets are being thrust upon us (not to mention the marketing!) that everyone forgets the most important tool: your mind! More specifically, your conscious mind, or as I will call it here, the “thinking” mind. “What is the thinking mind?” you ask. It is that small, small portion of your brain that actually allows us to think about specific things in specific ways. That of course is in addition to your conditioned, and powerful “unconscious mind” or, as a few scholars like to call it, the “room behind the closed door”.

“Bweep-bweep, bweepbweep.” Skype is complaining to me that someone is trying to do a video conference call. Gotta answer this one, it’s Belinda and she not only has a smokin’ body, but she also has a BIG set of. ..cortices! Yes, that’s right, her brain is so big I am surprised it can fit into her well formed, perfectly sized cranium. We struck up a conversation at a health conference some time ago when I was still a competitive bodybuilder and rolling around at 5’9”/230 with abs. Nowadays, she always calls me to go over her plans for whatever show she is currently prepping for, because, as many of my clients and friends know, while I’m a great listener – I’m even better at talking.

“Hello? E-mo? Yeah, it’s Belinda, I am so stoked for this show! I finally have the money for the best supplement stack ever, and I further researched my water loss methods during my spare hours at the lab. I also hired the best choreographer for my routine and I had enough of my xmas bonus left from Professor Colman for a custom suit that cost me 1000 dollars! I think that all that, coupled with the scientifically proven training routine I found on that wicked site you told me about last time, will guarantee a top three for sure! Last time too many things just came up at the same time and I just couldn’t seem to pull it all together. My sleep is still not the best but THIS time, I am going to be so dedicated, and those cheat meals I ate last time won’t happen again.. .”

Ah, the dedication, the pure blood and sweat people like Belinda put into their prep. They do have the best “intentions”, the best researched supplement stacks, and they hire self-proclaimed contest prep “guru’s” that charge a nifty couple of grand (upfront) for diets. And their positivity simply can’t be beat! So, why is it they can never beat “buffy the bimbo” that barely passed grade three? How is it that these supposedly more intelligent people can’t seem to get it together and win?!

Well, we had to go down this path at some point, so here goes; down the rabbit hole so to speak. The “thinking” cortex is capable of 2,000 bits of information processing per second (1-3 “action” events at a time; like typing, while talking on the phone and eating a sandwich) and the subconscious mind is capable of a staggering 4 billion (!) bits of information per second, which translates into quite literally thousands of processes at a time. How else do you think your heart beats, diaphragm contracts and relaxes and you stay alive when in a deep Delta sleep cycle? It certainly is not the supposedly “intelligent” Vic-20 you have as a frontal cortex.

I think we can all admit that the expansive unconscious mind patterns we all develop before we hit the age of 6 always crush the thinking “conscious” mind that we trust and “think” we make all of our well-meant decisions with. This is why most people just can’t “discipline” themselves enough to follow through and come out on top. 2000 bits will always succumb to 4 billion. Period.

No wonder the bodybuilding and figure community gets a bad rap when people rate the athletes on an IQ scale. The winners are usually not well developed when it comes to their cortical functions and are many times a very reactive “hindbrain” dominant person. You could say that these people, through no fault of their own, but perhaps their environment, were born reactive street-fighters, fight or flight instead of Einsteinlike, methodical and deep thinkers.

Of course for you people wanting to pick a brain as it were, there are always exceptions to every rule and some do manage to get really high IQ levels as well as a highly developed and over-active Amygdala/adrenal axis; I already have a whole article on how that can occur, but as usual, one of my typical conditioned patterns is to get onto another thought stream and take a wide detour.


If my only goal in life was to take people’s money and run, then I’d just hang out at all the local shows, pick out the guy that got 3rd or 4th because he just did not have a technical clue about what he was doing in general, but still placed well (meaning that, perhaps he has great natural muscle and fat loss genetics). Then I would double check to be extra sure he was the most obsessive, compulsively mind patterned person on the planet, and then give him the strictest, well structured diet, (low carb, high carb, cardio, no cardio…this all becomes relatively irrelevant when you peel back the skull plates and have a look under the hood) along with some basic heavy training and tell him to dress like John Wayne when he went to the gym because it would, “increase your man juice bro”, and hey presto, I would have all the plastic trophies lining my mantel that 3K a client can buy.

If you have been to enough shows you will always see a few of these people; usually wearing a John Wayne outfit between pose downs, hanging out with their “guru”.

By Eric Morrison, Director – Topdown Wellness