The Benefits of the Placebo Effect

Whenever we add a new member to our team we use a fairly standard evaluation process. And this includes asking what they think is the most important element lending to the success of the client.

And their answers vary from:

‘Nutrition is the most important. You can’t out-train a poor diet. And society in general is eating poorer quality food and more of it.’

Can’t argue with that.

Others will say:

‘Getting enough varied and intense exercise is the key. With some many modern conveniences we can work, shop and be entertained without getting off the couch. Plus fewer schools, in the US, offer physical education and kids are more into social media and gaming.’

Good points for sure.

Really confident young coaches will say:

‘The coaching is the most important. Showing people the proper and safe way to train allows them to lift more intensely than otherwise. Plus they the individual is accountable to another person ensuring better compliance to the process.’

Ok, yeah that makes sense.

And still others will argue that:

‘The program is the most important. As long as you have a solid plan for what is supposed to be done, how much and when, anyone can implement the instructions and get the same results.’

I wouldn’t disagree with that one either.

But guess what? They’d all be wrong. Because the first and most important consideration for achieving a rehab, weight loss or performance goal is mindset.

If you believe you will fail, you already have. If you don’t trust in the process you are just going through the motions. And if you don’t believe that you can achieve great results you won’t.

When I look back after all the years of working in the fitness and performance industry there is one common feature of those who achieved the best results. And that was their positive mindset. It was the belief that they could do it. And it was an attitude to do whatever it takes to realize their goal.

But this isn’t just my opinion and that of our coaches. Consider the following study from Harvard University.

The researchers looked at 84 female hotel room attendants from seven different hotels. So this would work out to 12 attendants per hotel.

Over the course of the 4 week study half of the participants of this study were informed. By informed I mean that they were told of the health benefits of the tasks they were doing while on the job. They were told that the work they were doing satisfies the Surgeon General’s recommendations for an active lifestyle and were given examples of how their work was beneficial in this way.

For example, the researchers would tell the attendants that pushing a heavy supply cart around the hotel is beneficial for whole body strength and that climbing the stairs between floors was helping at developing cardiorespiratory function and leg strength. You get the idea.

The other group of participants in the study were not informed as to the benefits of their work or how it would inprove their health.

At the end of the 4 weeks the informed group felt they were getting more exercise doing their job than before.

But when it comes to science who cares about feelings?

Here’s where it gets interesting…

During the four weeks the informed group also showed:

* a decrease in weight

* a decrease in blood pressure

* a decrease in body-fat

* a decrease in waist to hip ratio

* a decrease in body mass index

when compared to the control group.

So to summarize this study both groups

* did the same work (cleaning hotel rooms)

* for the same period of time (4 weeks)

But one group was told how beneficial their work was in terms of their health & fitness. And this group that was told this blew the other group out of the the water in terms of the results they achieved.

Going forward it is important for you to believe in the process. Know that healthy nutritional choices are helping you to become leaner. Recognize all of the benefits of resistance and energy system training. Be aware of how important adequate high quality sleep is to achieving your goal. And know that you’ve got a team at Okanagan Peak Performance Inc supporting you every step of the way.

Chris [fb-like]

1. Crum A. and Langer E. Mind-Set Matters – Exercise and the Placebo Effect. Psychological Science. February 2007 vol. 18 no. 2 165-171.




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