The Difference between Reflex and Choice

Uncategorized Aug 14, 2018

Over the past 21 years of more I have spent time exploring this incredible world around me through literature of all type, books on religion, books on philosophy, books on microbiology and health sciences and books on neuroscience and quantum physics. Don’t get the idea that I am an expert by means in these areas, but I have been able to gain an appreciation for the amazing complexity of this world we live in. There were two fields of interest that I focused in on above all others, and if you know me you then you know that it is neurology as it relates to fitness and mind set. In the beginning of my career in the fitness field I was taught to stick tags on the body in my early PT courses, labeling this muscle as a pec, that muscle as a bicep etc. Once we knew the names of the various muscles we then we instructed to create “balanced” exercise programs making sure we used the right exercises, the right intensity that matched the client’s needs. And that’s what we did, not exactly rocket science but hell, it was place to start. Over time and due to my desire to learn more about this field, I came across a text on physiology for the health sciences and I realized that there was so much more to who we are, how we worked was more than just the outside parts we were working. In fact, the more I dug into the material the more I realized this was a very complex neurological / biochemical machine that we called our body could be directed to do amazing things if we just understood some basics principles. Of all the amazing things I began to understand the one that stood out the most for me was the difference between reflex and choice. Now this distinction was not only reflected in our physical realm as in exercise, but also in our mind set or emotional patterns.

For example, when we instruct a client to lift a weight as in a bicep curl, what muscles do you suppose will do most of the work? I just said bicep curl so wouldn’t that be the right answer, well, not always. What we often found was that with newbies to the exercise realm they often put more stress in their forearm instead of their bicep, despite what the exercise was intended for. That, as we soon discovered was the same for every exercise we look at, the target muscle was not always the one that reacted, though everything seem to be in place. And the reason for this?? Well, what we discovered was that it was the nervous systems attempt to interpret the goal of the exercise based on what “it historically understood” about movement in that particular plane of motion. If you work at a computer all day, for years, are your forearms more active or your biceps? Well, I’ve been in a gym for almost 30 years plus and I have flexed my biceps a lot (plus I am a dude, and dudes just do that) so my brain has a history of my bicep activation and relies on it every time I train biceps. If I had never worked biceps before, the likelihood my forearm would be more active than my bicep. Make sense? In order to create a “new event” in the body like training a muscle that is weak and untrained, you must first build a connection to the brain (motor cortex) so that you brain understands what it is you want, because is only knows what it knows based on “historical reference”. The other amazing piece is that the same goes for our mindset. Every time we hear something being said, we automatically go into our history banks and look to see if we have a “reference” for that idea or comment and we will then decide if it is true or not. This is not based on the accuracy on the statement we are hearing, it is based on what we have learned, heard or experienced “historically” and we automatically prejudice the incoming information based on our subjective view of the world. So what does this all mean? It means that we have been horribly deceived by our mind for years and that in order to get what we don’t have physically or mentally (as in new mindset) we have to start building new reference points that will serve as the foundation for a new beginning. Look for those who have gone before you and created the physical and mental changes you are looking for. Chances are they will have valuable insights into how to recreate the platform of the mind to allow for incredible new gains in not only fitness and performance, but also in mindset. There is much truth the saying “It’s the thought that counts”.

C. David Gilks Your Fellow Traveler

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