In Spain, the matador is a symbol of strength, heroism, and power.
A matador is a trained, fearless man who enters unflinchingly into the bullring to conquer and slay his mighty opponent, the bull. Although most of us will hopefully never come face-to-face with a bull in a last-man-standing confrontation, there’s plenty to be gained from the discipline of the matador.
I believe that Spanish matadors are the perfect example of balanced health between mind and body. In my personal endeavors for health and wellness, it’s the quick, strong, and daring Spanish matador I envision as my ultimate ideal.
But in order to emulate any physical ideal— whether you’re aiming for the body of a professional swimmer, a long-distance runner, or a bullfighter—you have to first take into account the emotional strain that you’re about to subject yourself to.
The number one reason diet and exercise plans fail is because people aren’t willing to undergo or prepared to suffer through the trying emotional side of getting in shape. Many healthy lifestyle plans (not just fad weight-loss programs have concluded that emotional strength, not physical, is what pushes us to succeed in our health and wellness.
Mind Of A Matador
The mind of a matador must be calm yet prepared. Before you can begin to shape your body into bullring condition, you need to tone your mind.
Of course, there are plenty of physical exercises that will help you along this peaceful path.
The ideal workout to connect mind and body is yoga. If you’ve never tried it before, I suggest a gentle or Ashtanga class, where poses are designed to build strength and all levels of yogi can find comfort in the different progressions.
But if you’re more advanced, try hot or even Bikram yoga. The high-heat atmosphere loosens your muscles, allowed for the utmost flexability, while your body is able to purge all of the toxins through waves of sweat.
The practice of yoga is based on breathing to guide you through your workout. By focusing on this one, simple, natural act—your breath—your mind becomes calm and doesn’t’ fight the strain or discomfort of each pose.
And of course, a yoga workout is great for your body, too. After only a few weeks of classes, two or three times a week, you’ll notice increased strength and endurance, two things you’ll no doubt need in your physical training to achieve matador status.
Body Of A Bull
A matador’s body is the vehicle that guides him through the challenge of beguiling a bull into submission. His mind is the engine that runs that vehicle; once your engine is tuned, it’s time to work on the body of the vehicle.
To evoke the matador’s persona, balance and quick reflexes are crucial. Practicing a hand-to-hand sport, like karate or boxing, will improve your reaction time and agility. Yoga, as I mentioned above, is also a wonderful way to build balance.
It may surprise you to hear that physical strength isn’t the only, nor is it the most important, line of defense a matador has in his arsenal. Much like the bull he fights, a matador may seem to be using his power to fight his opponent, but it’s the quickness and shrewdness of his movements that ultimately lead him to success.
Of course, you have to maintain a strong body in order to uphold any standard of health, so strength training is definitely something you want to work into your routine. Long-distance running does wonders both endurance and strength, or just try simple rounds of weight-lifting.
Eat Like A Champion
Finally, if your goal is to emulate the strength and agility of a matador, you need to eat like a truly disciplined champion. What you put into your body is as important as how your exercise it. It may even be more important.
So if you’re doing hours of exercise every day and not getting the matador-esque mind and body you desire, take a look at your daily diet.
Heavy foods, like carb-loaded bagels and greasy burritos, weigh down your digestive system and sap energy from the rest of your organs, making your body run at half-capacity. Similarly, empty foods and so-called “diet” drinks—like protein shakes—only fool your stomach into thinking it’s full, while providing nothing at all that your body can use to fuel itself.
Alcohol is another no-no. Other than the occasional glass of wine with dinner, don’t indulge. It pulls your mental capacities down, causes depression, and slows physical reaction time to a near halt.
Eat often, and eat well. Five or six small meals, heavy in veggies (which provide vitamins, minerals, and good carbs), nuts (rich in the proteins and fats your body craves), and some meats (which give you the rest of your nutrients to keep going), will have your body operating at matador status.
And drink lots of water. All day, every day. But aside from water, keep coffee, tea, and alcoholic drinks to a minumum.
In the end, it has to come down to one thing: you’re not going to fight a bull. Since you’re not going to fight a bull, there’s no reason to kick your own butt beyond repair trying to replicate the dietary and physical lifestyle of a Spanish matador.
Having heroes is healthy; trying to be your heroes is not. It’s good to sap inspiration from the physical and mental prowess of examples like the matador, but if you simply can’t give up your morning latte, or feel like saying goodbye to an evening glass of wine is just too much to ask, then don’t.
Adjusting your diet and exercise to fit your lifestyle is healthy; the opposite is not. You can harness the strength and disciple of a matador while still enjoying your life.
Because really, what’s the point of looking great if you can’t enjoy it?
Hannah Tool enjoys spending time with her dog, boyfriend, exercising, and writing endeavors. She’s been published in places such as the Truth About Abs reviews, and websites such as http://www.NaturalWeightLossTruth.com. Through her progress with her own health, she’s become passionate about helping others with their weight loss journeys.