2 Principles from Greek Philosophers To Improve Your Fitness Journey

I was in the gym when I realized that every single movement I was doing come from a decision: The decision to train.

The more I trained the more I realized the importance of Mind Power over physical performance.

Focusing the mind requires a tremendous effort. The key to completing any set with attention to correct form and visualization, demands complete focus. 

This conception comes from fittest era in mankind’s history: The ancient greek. 

It all comes down to these two principles :

Principle n° I: Your body speaks your mind.

 “No man has the right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. It is a shame for a man to grow old without seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable.”

Socrates

 First, let put some context here, a well-educated person in ancient Greece was instructed in all areas. An athletic victory was considered a credit to the athlete’s physical and moral virtues. Physical training was valued for its role in the development of such qualities as stamina and patience.  The philosophy was motivated by the fact that the success of democracy depended on the moral character of the people; a goal that commanded a holistic training of mind, body, and spirit.

Socrates deeply believed that every human being had the responsibility to live up to their full physical potential.

In order for man to succeed in life, God provided him with two means, education and physical activity. Not separately, one for the soul and the other for the body, but for the two together. With these two means, man can attain perfection.”

Plato

In the “Republic”, Plato emphasized the value of ‘gymnastics’ in the proper development of young people. His definition of gymnastics was broader than ours today, and would include most forms of structured individual and group exercise.

“To a good bodily constitution corresponds the nobility of the mind

Aristotle

To be accepted as a philosophy student, Aristotle required that all applicants partake in rigorous physical training. He understood that a body that has been trained to withstand the demands of arduous physical activities has a greater potential for high levels of consistent and focused thought. Stronger bodies lead to brilliant minds.

Exercise when used as a modality for the release of stress allows your subconscious attention to shift from safety and security to higher thought. A man or women who is protecting him or herself from attackers, in the figurative sense, will not have the capacity to act creatively nor focus and concentrate intensely. It is essential to your mental health and performance that you use athletic strength training to release physiological loads as well as to increase vitality.

Principle n°II: Be Silent, Listen to Masters, Ignore the General Public.

 “Learn to be silent, let your quiet mind listen and absorb”

Pythagoras

The aim of meditation is to notice and then exert control over certain sensory signals while reducing interface from other sensory signals.

To hear one’s heartbeat, to feel posture tension, to flex individual muscles, to control subtle movements of the diaphragm requires focusing on relatively weak sensory signals that are easily drowned out by the background noise of other sensations.

One reason to reduce external distraction is that the nervous system analyses stimulation in terms of sensory ratios, not in terms of absolute differences in sensory magnitude.

Be passive, there is no eagerness, no urgency, no emergency, nobody is forcing you.

Remaining silent allows you to open to the world without feeling the “urge” to have an opinion on it. By having no intention to “judge”, you open yourself to knowledge, to absorb what the world has the offer. By listening you increase the chances to learn something new. And that leads us to second point :

Socrates : When a man is training, and taking it seriously, does he pay attention to all praise and criticism and opinion indiscriminately, or only when it comes from the one qualified person, the actual doctor or trainer ?

Crito: Only when it comes from the one qualified person.

Socrates: Then he should be afraid of criticism and welcome the praise of the one qualified person, but not those of the general public.

The Apology of Socrates – (429–347 BC)

Great mentors and icons have done it before you. From Larry Scott in 1965 to Phil heath in 2016, these people are a library of fitness knowledge, an infinite source of trials and errors.

Instead of listening to what the general public have to say about what you’re trying to achieve, learn from the Masters not the Average.

Is there anything you know about greek philosphers you would like to add ?

The comment section is right below !

Thanks for reading,

Zakaria

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jtrain says:

    Thanks for sharing the knowledge ! I’ll put those principles in pratice to improve The gains

    Like

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