The research is overwhelming. Mindfulness meditation will help you get ripped. Before I get into the science, I must give thanks to Chade-Meng Tan, author of two books about meditation that everyone should read: Search Inside Yourself and Joy on Demand. These two books are both in the top 10 performance enhancing reads of my lifetime. Since I started dedicating 20 minutes each day to mindfulness meditation, I have become the happiest version of myself that I can remember. In addition, I’ve experienced strange improvements in my ability to learn new complex tasks such as playing the piano, learning new guitar chords, handstands, understanding my partner (Yes, even this has improved, but sometimes it’s still harder than a hangover on leg day. The difference is that now I actually have some patience for her and I’m not as much of an ass). Those 20 minutes a day for me have become one of the few “must do” activities. I would sooner skip brushing my teeth than skip meditation.
The Science of Meditation
Mindfulness meditation reduces serum cortisol source, which is a steroid hormone produced in the adrenal gland. Cortisol decreases amino acid uptake in muscle tissue and inhibits protein synthesis source, so it’s not the type of hormone that will help if you’re trying to build muscle. Cortisol has also been linked to slower wound healing and suppression of the immune system. source Because it down regulates collagen synthesis, cortisol has a deleterious effect on connective tissue.
Got stubborn belly fat? Blame cortisol!
Don’t Wait for Instruction about Meditation
One of the biggest misconceptions about mindfulness is that it requires classes or instruction to learn. In as little as 1 minute, by giving attention to your breathing, you can begin reaping the benefits of lower cortisol, but the benefits won’t stop there. (Faster learning, lower blood pressure, improved negotiating skills, solving complex problems more quickly, being happier) Need a place to start? Read Joy on Demand for a quick and easy ways to incorporate mindfulness into your busy day.
Everyone has time to be mindful regardless of how crazy your schedule is. You will be amazed how many short little meditations you can hack into your day.
Think you have to sit in a funny posture on a funny little mat on the floor to meditate? Nope. You can do it in your car on the way to work or waiting in line at the grocery store. You can do it while waiting for the squat rack at the gym. There are hundreds of opportunities to be aware of one breath. One breath will change your life.
Don’t wait to be a happier version of yourself.
Check out how meditation helped my surfing.
Breathe. Pay attention.