words by nerissa

…observations, thoughts and questions

Archive for the tag “weights”

Mind over matter: how I lifted 125kg without even knowing it

Our brain is a magnificent organ. Without it, we would die.

The most complex part of our body, it is responsible for every thought and action we have. It can retain and recall information, control voluntary muscles, balance, movement and coordination. It controls bodily functions such as digestion, breathing and blood circulation. It produces hormones that are vital for many systems of our body to work properly, and it controls our core temperature.

On top of all of this, it is estimated that we have anywhere between 50,000 – 70,000 thoughts every day. That’s around 35 to 48 thoughts per minute!

What an incredible machine we have inside our skulls!

But do we use it to its full capacity?

I’d say most of us don’t.

While there are many processes in the brain that we can’t control, we do have control over our thoughts. We can control what we place in there, what we give our attention to, and what we let run rampant.

mind over matter

Negative thoughts are like weeds

Negative thoughts can choke us

Have you ever seen an overgrown garden? Grass grows through the garden beds — sometimes higher than your head. Weeds are the dominant plant, spreading with great ease. These weeds choked and sucked the very life out of the beautiful plants and flowers that once grew there. An overgrown garden is chaotic and serves no purpose at all.

Our minds can become like overgrown gardens if we are not careful.

If we don’t take the time to cut off the negative thoughts that we have, they soon take root inside and hold us captive.

Thoughts like “I can’t”, “I’m not worthy”, “I’m stupid”, “I’m scared”, “I don’t know”.

Some of the most powerful thoughts we have are negative words that someone else uttered to us once years ago, yet we replay it over and over in our heads as if it were truth.

“You’re no good”, “You’re useless”, “No one likes you”, etc. etc.

What we think about (or allow ourselves to think about) pretty much shapes our lives. If you don’t consciously think about anything, then chances are the negative reel of your thoughts is playing in the background anyway.

What we think, we become. What we dwell on, we attract.

Even thinking about what you don’t want to happen causes that very thing to happen.

If I say to you, “don’t think about a red car”, what do you immediately think of?

Yep, a red car.

How can we tame our thoughts?

It’s pretty impossible to stop thinking at all. How many times have you tried meditating and ‘emptying your mind’, only to start thinking about what you have to get done that day, or wondering what you are going to have for dinner? 1 minute, 2 minutes…5 minutes, if you’re lucky? And that’s when you are consciously trying to block them out!

So if we can’t stop thinking, how can we change our thinking?

Dr Wayne Dyer (who sadly passed away this year), was an internationally renowned speaker and author of more than 40 books, in the fields of self-development and spiritual growth, likens our thoughts to the stock market ticker that runs along the bottom of a screen, with each stock price representing a single thought.

With 50,000 – 70,000 thoughts running through our heads on any given day, this ticker is running constantly. We are capable of thinking many opposing thoughts within seconds. Sometimes we can jump from one idea to another and end up feeling fear, ecstasy, joy, worry and sadness, all within moments of each other.

In order to begin to tame our thoughts, Dr Dyer recommends we see our thoughts as things on a conveyer belt, continually running past us in our minds. Take a thought off the conveyer belt and see how it feels. If we don’t like the way we feel, put the thought back and take another one. Keep doing that until we find a thought that makes us feel good. Continually choose thoughts in this fashion, taking note of the ones that leave us feeling good.

If we see ourselves as having the power to pick and choose thoughts, based on how they make us feel, then we take great steps in preventing our minds from being choked out by the negativity that often runs unchecked through there.i get what I think about

Start to choose the right thoughts to dwell on, and our life will change for the better. Start to believe the positive thoughts we place into your mind, and we will start to achieve things we never thought possible.

The power when we believe we can do something

After training today, I realised the power of my mind. It was deadlift day and we are at the end of the program. We have one more week to go before we lift as heavy as we can for 1 rep. Today, my training partner and I were aiming to lift 115kg for up to 4 reps.

I was confident I could get at least 2-3 reps out. The week before, I had lifted 110kg for 4 reps. In my last training block, I managed 1 rep at 115kg before lifting my heaviest at 120kg. So I knew I could lift 115kg.

I went up to the bar, positioned my body, focused my mind and lifted. The bar came up, but not all the way up. I was baffled. Why couldn’t I lift it? I had a break while my partner lifted. He got out his 4 reps. I went back to the bar determined to get my deadlift all the way up, because I knew I could do it.

YES! This time it came up all the way. But I couldn’t do any more than 1 rep. Disappointed, I watched while my partner did his second set. I was determined to get 2 reps out next set. This was my third attempt. I was already tired after a full warm-up, but I knew I could do 115kg. Nope. Nothing left in the tank. I only got it off the floor and back down again.

I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t get my full reps out when I knew that I had lifted it before. My partner and I discussed it, and we decided that our warm-up was perhaps too heavy, leaving us tired for our actual working sets. That made a little sense to me, so my disappointment abated.

This morning I took a photo of the weights on the bar, because it looked insane with all those weight plates on it. I’m glad I did.

When I came home, I looked at my photo and did a double-take. I counted the weights. I counted them 6 times. I asked my son to count them. I sent my training partner the photo and got him to count them. After counting 3 times, he confirmed what I had discovered.

We had lifted 125kg instead of 115kg!

That’s 15kg more than last week and 10kg more than we planned. No wonder it was heavy!


That’s 125kg, not 115kg!

However, if I knew it was 125kg, there would have been doubt in my mind. 125kg is new territory for me. Until today, I’ve never lifted that heavy before. I would have gone up to the bar wondering how heavy it would feel; wondering whether I could lift it properly. I probably would have worried about failing to lift it. Those seeds of doubt would have continued to run through my mind during the lift, ultimately sabotaging my success.

But I lifted it because I ‘knew’ I could. In my mind, it was just 115kg. I had done it before, so why not again?

In the process, I reached a new PB without even being aware.

That’s the power of the mind.

Change your thought process

We have a phrase in our training group — “Don’t think, just lift”. That’s because when we think about how heavy our weights really are, we can freak out a little and seeds of doubt begin to sprout.

Sometimes if we think too much about things, we become overwhelmed with the ‘heaviness’ of the task. It seems to big, too hard, too impossible. We allow the doubt and negative thoughts to come into our heads. We can let great opportunities pass us by because we end up paralysed by fear. In those cases, it’s better not to think, but just get on and do what you need to do.

However, if we can take it a step further and take the time to sow positive thoughts; thoughts of “I can”, “I am capable”, “I am worthy”, “I am courageous”, and really believe we are those things, we will find that we can do a whole lot more than we ever could before.

Write to the Point CommunicationsNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com


Find your bliss


My daughter made this for me last year.

As I sit here and write this, I am surrounded by a myriad of things.

There are reminders of my children — photos of them when they were younger, their first drawings, paintings they did for Mother’s Days past, handmade coasters and little notes they leave on my desk from time to time.

There are also books. Lots and lots of books on my desk. Some I have read, some are in the ‘to-read’ category. Some of them are related to my work, and some of them are for pleasure. Books give me a lot of pleasure.

I also have calendars, a diary, planners, paper, journals and lots of pens.  I love to plan and be organised. And being an old-fashioned girl, I like to do it the old-fashioned way — using pen and paper.

My favourite coffee cup sits on my desk, next to my hand cream, a candle and my ipod — things that I use on a daily basis.

Also sitting on my desk is my training program for the next 12 weeks, along with the goals I have set myself.

QUESTION: What do they all have in common?

ANSWER: They all make me happy.

One of my most favourite pictures of my kids, which sits on my desk.

One of my most favourite pictures of my kids, which sits on my desk.

Each day, we have choices to make. Very few of us are free to do whatever we like, whenever we like. We all have responsibilities and things we have to attend to on a daily basis — whether that means going to work to earn our living, raising a family, caring for loved ones, ferrying kids back and forth.

However, there is something that ALL of us can do to bring a little happiness to our days. Even if it is only having a coffee in your favourite cup, or listening to your ipod while you clean toothpaste off every surface in the children’s bathroom.

We all have different things that we love. Things we use, things we do, life choices we make that keep us happy.

We may not always understand why something makes someone else happy, but that’s okay.

For example, I don’t understand what part of bike riding is enjoyable. All I seem to get from it is a very sore backside. However, friends of mine are avid bike riders. They just about live in lycra. It’s their thing, their passion. One of my friends rides “Around the Bay in a Day” every year. That’s 250km in a day ‘for fun’. And he rides his bike from home to the start line, and then home from the finish line. So that’s more like 300km. I don’t get it. I admire him, but I don’t get it.

Just like some people don’t get why I love to lift weights. In some ways I don’t get it either. In my younger days I hated weight training. I would start a program but I would perform it half-heartedly, always having an ‘excuse’ not to do it. As I got older I knew I really should incorporate it into my exercise routine, if I wanted to stay healthy but I kept putting it off. When I was ready to tackle it, I told my trainer that I hated weights and that she would have to make it interesting if I was to stick at it.


I had to include my son’s art work.

More than two years later, I now lift three times a week (soon to be four – WHOO HOO!) and I love it. In fact, I live for it. I love getting strong. I love feeling my muscles working. I love setting goals and working towards them. I love the place I have to go to in my mind before I lift something heavy. I love the feeling of accomplishment I get from lifting something that I thought was too heavy. And the masochist in me loves the sore muscles over the next two days.

(Some of you won’t get it. That’s okay.)

It’s part of my bliss. It’s also something new that I have found that I love.

But it’s not all of my bliss.

There are lots of other things that make me happy, some of which have made me happy for years.

Bliss for me is reading a book while enjoying a good red wine.

It’s a good coffee and some dark chocolate.

It’s planning and making lists and writing with pens and paper.

It’s a day on my own, just for me.

It’s a relaxing massage. Total bliss!

It’s cuddles in the bed with my kids.

It’s a great conversation with a good friend.

It’s sitting at my computer, free to write what I feel like.

My favourite beach.

My favourite beach – Caloundra.

It’s watching the ocean crash on the rocks.

It’s sitting in front of a campfire and laughing with friends.

It’s a warm bath at the end of a busy day.

It’s sitting on the couch, watching a great movie with my husband.

And it’s definitely all the reminders of the two little people in my life.

Bliss can be different things for different people. It’s not our job to judge whether the things that make others happy are good or bad, right or wrong. We just need to accept that sometimes other people do ‘crazy’ things because it makes them happy.

We all have a chance to have bliss in our days, even if it is only for 10 minutes.

The trick is working out what makes you happy, and working it into each day.

Where do you find your bliss?

follow your bliss2

cropped-twitterpic.jpgNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

 She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

The path to success: a leap of faith and a whole lot of trust

leap of faithTrust is something I have been thinking about a lot of late. When you really think about it, all of us exercise varying levels of trust every day. We trust that our train will get us to work without incident.  We trust that the school will take good care of our kids.

Without trust, we would probably spend most of our days incapacitated with worry.

Obviously, there are varying degrees of trust. Yet the ability to trust seems to be related to the consequences of the trust being broken, or the likelihood of something going wrong.

For example, if you trust that a chair will hold your weight, and it doesn’t, then the repercussions are likely to be fairly minor — maybe some bumps and bruises and a bruised ego to boot. So it’s a risk worth taking.

However, one thing that I have realised, is that it can be a lot harder to trust ourselves than to trust other people. Yet in order to begin to trust ourselves, we sometimes need someone to believe in us first.

About seven weeks ago, I completed a 12-week body transformation. It was a fantastic 12-weeks (overall). There were times when I wanted to throw in the towel and just blob on the couch and eat ice-cream. There were times when I really didn’t want to get up at 4.50am to get to the gym for my workout. There were even times when I wanted to quit because I couldn’t see any changes happening, no matter how hard I was working out and how spot on my nutrition was.

So in order to keep going, I began to trust more. I stopped thinking and analysing and began to trust the process. I trusted the advice my trainer Mel, was giving me, especially when it came to nutrition. I trusted my body would respond if I kept following the plan. And during my training sessions, I trusted my partner to ‘spot me’, especially when I was lifting weights where I knew the likelihood of getting out all my reps was low. Trust was becoming more important the further we got into the challenge.

The most important person I had to trust in, was myself.

Trusting in ourselves is sometimes easier said than done. Too often we doubt our abilities and our intuition, only to find that if we trusted in ourselves in the first place, we would have been a lot better off. Often this inability to trust ourselves can render us paralysed with fear, rooted to the spot, afraid to take the next step.

I clearly remember a training session towards the end of the challenge. Six of us were in various stages trying to master three sets of 12 push-ups on our toes. When Mel found out that I could already do a full three sets she told me to get a weight and put it on my back.

“What! A weight?,” I thought. “How much?,” I asked, expecting her to say 1-2kg.

“5 kilos,” she said.

“5 kilos? That’s heavy!” I said in shock.

“There are heavier ones,” she countered.

So off I went to get the 5kg weight plate, pretty sure that I wouldn’t be able to do one push-up with that extra weight on my back. After all, push-ups on my toes had taken a while to achieve. Besides, push-ups were always the last thing in our training sessions, and I had already increased my weights for every exercise. I didn’t trust my body’s ability to push much further than I had.

“Even if you only get out three or four,” said Mel. “Just try it!”

So the weight went on my back. And I began to push them out. 1-2-3-4-5-

“Keep going,” said Mel.


“Keep going”


“keep going”


And then I collapsed, ecstatic but shocked that I had done so many.

I then went on to do another two sets of 12 push-ups with that 5kg plate on my back.

My trust in myself (and my body) was restored because Mel, whom I trusted when it came to exercise and training, believed that I could do it. She felt it was safe for me to attempt it. She also gave me permission to ‘fail’ at getting the full set out, yet encouraged me to keep going in my attempt to get my push-ups out.

Somewhere along the line, we all need people like that. Someone who can see the potential in us that we often fail to see. Someone to help us believe in ourselves when we find it difficult. Someone to encourage us to ‘have a go’. Someone to be there beside us to support us and cheer us. Someone whom we can rely upon to help us out if things go wrong. Someone to say ‘it’s okay if you fail’. Someone you can trust.

success isn't linearThe road to success is never smooth sailing. It’s a bit like a dance where you take some steps forward and some steps back. Sometimes your steps take you back to the start and sometimes they go way off course. At times your steps may be stumbles and may cause you to fall. And depending upon the dance, you may need to take a giant leap of faith.

However, if you have someone beside you guiding your steps, picking you up when you fall, believing in you and giving you the confidence to take that leap of faith, then your chances of success are that much higher.

The question you need to ask is: “Do I have someone like that in my life?”

If you don’t have someone like that…

I don’t wish this blog to sound like an ad, but if you don’t have someone in your life to help you reach your goals (particularly if they are related to health, fitness and wellness), then I really encourage you to contact Mel Cook.

Not only is she a Lifestyle Transformation Specialist and Director at Run With Life, but she is a friendly, positive and happy person who brings out the best in people. It doesn’t matter if you are young or not-so-young, or whether you are fit or not-so-fit. If you want to become a happier, healthier version of yourself, then take that leap of faith and give her a call.

You can also find out more information about our next 12-week Transformation Challenge.


cropped-twitterpic.jpgNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

 She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com


Beefy boys?

I’m health conscious.

Part of my routine involves resistance training three days a week — usually Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. As long as my husband isn’t away for work, I am there at 5.30am, rain, hail or shine (or in the case of this past week, in sub-zero temperatures!)

It’s no big deal. It’s just what I do. I started going that early, because it was really the only time I could fit it in. Now it has become so much a part of my routine, that I am no longer shocked at the time the alarm goes off.

Part of my workout routine involves listening to my ipod. Without it I feel lost. It’s almost like my training partner. It helps me focus, and helps to drown out the odd grunt and moan that come from the ‘men’s area’.

However, a few weeks back, I forgot my ipod. Not quite a catastrophe, but I was put out. After all, gym music is not very inspirational.

So I decided to make the best of it and (shhh), listen to other people’s conversations! Well, I had to do something to fill in the time between sets.

Surprisingly, there are many regular gym goers at 5.30am, but most of them are men.

Two of them I had dubbed ‘the beefy boys’. Not that they are huge, but they are strong. I would guess they are in their late to early 30s. They always train together, and NEVER bring a water bottle. Probably because parading back and forth to the water cooler provides a better opportunity to show off their muscles to the people who don’t train near them.

Anyway, it turns out they were on the machine next to me.

“Great,” I thought. “Now I’ll probably get to listen to them talk cars, compare muscles and generally big-note themselves.”

Well, you could have knocked me off the chest-press when I stopped to listen.

They were talking recipes!! Yes, real recipes. Not what protein mix they use, but how they cook their meals. And it wasn’t simply throwing sausages and chops on the barbie either. I’ll admit the conversation was very ‘meat orientated’, but they were talking marinades, salads, and how they cook their veggies to go with their meat. I was tempted to invite myself to dinner.

They also discussed how different cuts of meat were better in different dishes, and then concluded by comparing notes about their butchers.

They were probably better versed in meat than most of the current contestants on MasterChef. Except for Lynton. He’s from a cattle farm.

But the point is, that I had been making assumptions about these blokes for months — purely based upon what they looked like (and to some extent how they behaved). Never in my wildest dreams did I think they could cook.

I found myself wondering what other people in the gym do during the rest of their lives, and whether I had been making assumptions about them.

How many people do we make assumptions about?

Do these assumptions prevent us from engaging with that person? Or being nice to them? Or letting them go before us in the supermarket queue?

Lesson #1 — People can surprise you, if you take the time to eavesdrop, (I mean listen).

Lesson #2 — Gym music really is bad, so always remember your ipod.

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words by nerissa

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