Meditation + Fitness: Holly Rilinger Explains Why You Need Both to See the Results You Want

“If you don’t train yourself mentally, you’re not going to be as good as you can be.”

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When you think about “getting your head in the game,” you may think it’s just about strategizing against your opponent during a team sport, or finding the motivation to work out at 5 AM. But according to Holly Rilinger, a Nike master trainer, former pro athlete, and avid meditater, the mind plays a much bigger role in helping you achieve your fitness goals.

“You can train your body, you can be fast, you can be quick, you can be strong—but if you don’t train yourself mentally, and you don’t show up to that game in the right mindset, you’re not going to be as good as you can be,” says Rilinger.

According to Rilinger, you should be training your mind the same way you train your body—with discipline and repetition. “In any kind of training program you’re going to have moments where you think you can’t do it, or you’re in too much pain and you think you need to stop,” says Rilinger. “But if you take a breath and you realize those are just thoughts, and you can push through and gain control of yourself mentally, you’re going to be able to push harder physically.”

A key to finding that focus and being able to control your thoughts during a workout is to practice mindfulness outside of the gym.

Riligner sets the tone and purpose for her day by meditating for 10 minutes every morning.

“I sit down and I breathe—it allows me to condition myself to stay focused for the rest of the day,” she says. Read more about how meditation helps Holly Rilinger jumpstart her day.

“Meditation and training may seem like two very different methods, or two very different things, but I think what you’ll find is they actually fit together seamlessly,” says Rilinger.

Never meditated before? Here’s how to get started.