Title: Mind Body Connection
Author: Frank Zane
Publisher: Zananda Inc
Looking back on Frank Zane’s bodybuilding history is the perfect start to “Mind Body Connection”.
Right from his early days of training in his basement with a pair of adjustable 15lb dumbbells to competing on stage with the best of the best, it’s clear that Frank had the hunger within him to climb to the top of the bodybuilding ladder.
Frank Trained Hard on the Basics
Putting in tons of hard training on basics like rows and presses and enduring many demanding sets of 20-rep squats, he built a well-muscled body ready to compete against world class bodybuilders.
This hard work earned him the titles of Mr. America, Mr. Universe (in 1968 when he famously beat Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Mr. World. Of course, he was the three time winner of bodybuilding’s highest accolade, Mr. Olympia, making him one of the most admired and respected bodybuilders of all time. To achieve your goals in bodybuilding you will need to condition your mind just as much as you condition your body.
Focus is Your Essential Ally
Focus is one of the essential qualities that you will need to develop. Frank rightly says it’s “one of the most important ingredients for success in building your body.” He explains the differences between short and long term focus for us. Short term focus requires your concentration only for a relatively short span of time, a gym workout being a prime example.
Long term focus involves setting goals for a specific date in the future and keeping track of progress with a journal or diary. In preparation for competitions, Frank practiced lots of long term focus to ensure he hit his peak condition. Developing your focus is obligatory for top performance in the sport of bodybuilding. Equally important is the ability to think and speak positively.
How you speak and how you think can shape your destiny. Frank suggests avoiding “powerless speech” , which is a way of talking without taking responsibility and blaming somebody or something for your actions.
Negative Self-Talk is Dangerous
Negative talk can be detrimental – what you say can literally come true. Mindless expressions (eg. “Get off my back, “You make me sick”) can lead you down the road of illness, injuries and accidents. Clean up your speech and it will surely yield positive results.
Full body visualisation may be something you’ve heard of. In Mind Body Connection there is an opportunity to give it a try. It’s an effective method that can strengthen the mind and aid relaxation.
There is a useful audio track to accompany the book which guides you through the full body visualization process. Frank’s voice is warm and soothing as he instructs you to close your eyes and picture each of your muscles relaxing, from lower body to upper body. Calves, thighs, abs, pecs, facial muscles – every muscle gets attention one by one.
Relaxation and Meditation Enable You to Go Further
It’s a beautiful feeling when tension leaves your body and you enter a fully relaxed state. As the book progresses, Frank gives us excellent guidelines on how to meditate. As I’ve recently started my own exploration of meditation, I found this section of the book particularly useful and informative. Three stages of meditative techniques (intrusion, off sensation, absolute peace) are explained in detail to enhance your knowledge and awareness of this effective practice.
Absolute peace can be achieved with regular meditation and you will ultimately feel serenity and openness. Frank suggests twice a day – early morning and late afternoon – is a good way to fit meditation into your daily schedule. With its list of benefits – sharpened concentration for instance – it makes sense to include meditation in your bodybuilding lifestyle.
3-Way Split Routine
Programme ideas for training are always a most welcome addition in any bodybuilding book. To satisfy us, Frank has provided a 3-way split routine that can be used to pack quality muscle onto your frame.
Over the three days you will train the upper body pushing muscles on the first day, legs on day two, and the upper body pulling muscle groups on the last day. Each workout is straightforward in structure and has 8-10 exercises to perform, with some ab work thrown in to build a rock solid midsection.
Photos of Frank accompany each exercise so you’ll find no shortage of inspiration in this final section of the book.
As always, Frank Zane does a first-class job of educating the reader. He passes on his wealth of knowledge in a way that is easy to read and digest, and shares his own experiences for the reader to use to their own benefit.
Developing the mind is undoubtedly a necessity to reach your best version of you in bodybuilding or any sport, and the 64 pages in Mind Body Connection contain enough info to help you improve and optimise the performance of both your mind and your body. Well-worth reading.
“The more you visualize and focus on your goal the easier it will become. We become what we think.” -Frank Zane
“The same as exercising your body, if you don’t train your mind it gets out of shape.” -Frank Zane
Book Rating: 9/10