The Importance of Being North (Mentally) Strong

At North Strong Collective, we’re passionate about staying active and keeping our body in shape so we can make the most of the environment around us. We try to optimize our bodies so we can live longer, be healthier, and enjoy our free time. However, a part of this discussion that is often ignored is the idea of optimizing our brains – finding a way to have the best mindset while working out and navigating our lives. 

In many sports today, there are no secrets among athletes regarding the best training techniques, performance strategy, or nutrition and sleeping patterns. The result is that in elite competition, there ends up being a very even field with similar training, nutrition, and sleep to perform at their best.

What allows the best athletes to separate themselves from the pack?

According to Dr. Tom Waller, lululemon’s Senior Vice President of Innovation, it is now the athlete's mentality that allows them to get over the line ahead of their competition. Now that the other aspects of preparation are relatively even due to access to information, he believes the next step is for athletes to gain an advantage through mindful pursuits like yoga and meditation.

An example of this concept was the first ever 4-minute mile run by Roger Bannister in 1954. Prior to that time, no one in history had ever run the mile in under 4 minutes, and it was thought to be impossible. However, less than two months after initially breaking the barrier, one of his competitors John Landy, did the same. The fact that Bannister had proven the 4-minute time could be broken removed the mental barrier that allowed Landy to achieve the same "impossible" feat.

How can we maximize our mental performance?

Companies like Halo Neuroscience are working with elite athletes like Canada’s Camille Leblanc-Bazinet to “prime” their brains before practicing to maximize training time. While this may be interesting technology, it’s not necessarily something the average consumer would use. What these stories convey to us though, is the importance of training our brain to maximize our performance in exercise and in daily life. Yoga and meditation can go a long way to helping us achieve a strong and resilient mind. The ability to channel positive energy and to stay focused and calm in stressful situations allows us to get the most out of our everyday lives, and truly Live North Strong.