Overview of Rewire’s Neuro-Training System

What is Neuro-Training?

Neuro-Training is cognitive training that involves mentally fatiguing activities to induce mental fatigue to help augment training stimulus and build more resilience.  The traditional way of building mental resilience and grit is to push your body very hard during training, hoping for a side effect that translates to more resilience. The problem is that while this works initially it has diminishing returns over time and can lead to burnout and injury as you will need to continually push yourself harder and harder to realize some form of benefit. Neuro-training is a direct path to mental resilience and targets the specific area of the brain responsible for goal driven behavior, sustained attention and the perception of effort. Neuro-training allows to you to layer on additional cognitive load without the negative consequences or risk of injury from over training. Learn More

How it Works

The Rewire system allows you to perform neuro-training before, during and after workouts using the built-in cognitive training system in the Rewire app in combination with the patented Neuro-Training hardware (only needed for brain training while working out). The most common response inhibition test is called the Stroop test where the subject tries to match the ink color (large word) with the matching word meaning (small word).

(On Left) example of neuro-training workout | (On Right) example of neuro-training Stroop task

How Does the Neuro-Training Hardware Work?

The neuro-training hardware consists of patented ergonomically designed buttons and straps that allow you to perform audio and visual based brain training tasks while working out. This first-to-market innovation enables a brand new way to train both the mind and body at the same time.

Running Example

Cycling Example (For Indoor Use Only)

Features of the Neuro Performance System

  • Neuro-Training hardware consisting of ergonomically designed buttons and straps, wireless Bluetooth technology with rechargeable batteries
  • Library of neuro-training workouts that can be done before, during and after workouts
  • Connects with standard power meters and heart rate monitors to track physical performance
  • Audio and visual-Based neuro-training
  • Voice controls (audio only neuro-training)
  • Comprehensive training analytics for cognitive and physical analysis over time
  • Custom workout builder for creating workouts for a variety of different sports including:
    • Cycling (indoor use only)
    • Duathlon
    • Functional Fitness
    • Flexibility Training
    • Powerlifting
    • Running
    • Triathlon
    • Walking
    • Weightlifting
    • Yoga
    • And More
Custom workout builder for creating mental and physical workouts

What is the Science Behind Neuro-Training?

The science of brain endurance training (BET) was first established in 2009 and has been validated across a variety of different sports. As validated in the lab and numerous peer reviewed studies, BET works by targeting the anterior cingluate cortex (ACC) with a specific type of cognitive task called response inhibition i.e. impulse control tasks.

The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is the frontal part of the cingulate cortex that resembles a “collar” surrounding the frontal part of the corpus callosum

Many studies attribute specific functions such as error detection, anticipation of tasks, attention, motivation, and modulation of emotional responses to the ACC.  In the landmark study in 2009 and subsequent studies, scientist proved that the ACC is also responsible for managing the perception of effort which has been shown to be a limiter to athletic performance when this part of the brain is fatigued during challenging physical and mental efforts.

These response inhibitory tasks such as Stroop taskgo/no-go and others add more cognitive load to the brain creating an adaptation overtime that translates to a greater level mental resilience translating to improved physical performance when an athlete is under mental and physical stress

What Athletes & Coaches Are Saying

“As a professional athlete, I’ve known firsthand the importance of training the mind and body to push the limits of performance. Rewire’s latest platform makes mental strength training more accessible to athletes everywhere with easy-to-use tools to help them reach their goals.”

Kyle Korver NBA All-Star & Director of Player Affairs and Development for the Atlanta Hawks

“I have been using the app for a few months. It has helped me set the proper mindset before workouts, disconnect before bedtime, and gauge my mental readiness on a daily basis. I have also been enjoying working on the Neuro-Training component during some of my indoor rides.”

Matt Hanson Professional Triathlete and Coach

“With the app it’s giving you a controlled environment and structure so that you can choose when you want to to add mental training to your workouts and you can do it as often as you’d like.“

Laura Kline Elite Ultra Runner & Endurance Athlete

“Mental health and strength is so super powerful, but despite that, athletes rarely train it. With Rewire Fitness there is a new platform where it’s accessible and easy to train.”

Marc Anthony Klok Professional Footballer | Liga 1 club Persib Bandung and the Indonesia national team

Neuro-Training Sports Examples

These examples are to give some idea of how one may fit neuro-training into fairly standard weekly plans and periodisation models for the given example scenario. These are not exhaustive but aim to put some paradigm and context to the above information. 


Endurance Athlete

  • More neuro-training in base building, off-season and pre-season phases and less in-season.
  • Try to avoid neuro-training before key workouts and races. 
  • Good times for neuro-training: during or around easy volume (60-90mins Zone 2 of a 5-zone model for instance). 

Team Sport Athlete

  • More neuro-training in base building, off-season and pre-season phases and less in-season.
  • Try to avoid neuro-training before skill training and game days.  
  • Good times for neuro-training: Conditioning days, easy lifting days, rest days. 

Strength Sport Athlete

  • More neuro-training in base building, off-season and pre-season phases and less in-season.
  • Try to avoid neuro-training before technically challenging days, key sessions and competition days.  
  • Good times for neuro-training: Conditioning days, easy lifting days, rest days.

Ready to Change the Way You Train?

Level-up your mental and physical performance by ordering Rewire’s Neuro Performance System today (available while supplies last).

Top 7 Visualization Tips for Beginners

Visualization can be the mental fitness practice you need to help elevate your level of performance. In this blog, you’ll be introduced to seven tips to help you become a master of visualizing high performances

1) Start off slow:

Much like starting a new skill or play at half speed, using visualization to practice the mechanics can add quality to your mental practice. The reason why is because visualization is seen as a functionally equivalent response in the brain ( Lang, 1977;1979; Whetstone,1995). This means that every neurological pathway used for actually doing the skill (such as shooting a free throw) are being used in visualization, minus the motor cortex. Several high level athletes have touted the benefits of visualization such as Aaron Rodgers, Apolo Ohono and Michael Phelps. 

2) Get Specific:

What do you want to do? By setting objective goals to your visualization practice you can quickly master a lot of skills. I tell athletes the closer they get to their big competition that they should start wearing their uniform or practicing visualization in a similar environment, their brain will start making critical connections. If you’re having nerves going into a big game, practicing breathwork and visualization can be a powerful technique to overcome pre-performance anxiety. 

3) Remain in control:

When practicing imagery, it’s paramount that you remain in control of the situation. You can watch yourself in either third person, first person, or both (Hardy & Callow, 1995) to overcome difficult situations. Visualization can also be used for motivation to get to the top of the podium stand, but think about what steps you need to take to get there. These can be different ‘practice sessions’ to help you piece together a high performance experience. 

4) Make it realistic:

One of the most important aspects of visualization is making the environment as real as possible. If you’ve seen the place where you’re competing, think about all the nuances of that environment. If it’s a new field or court, consider finding pictures on the internet to help you visualize the landscape, sounds, smells, even the feeling of the air around you. The more realistic stimuli you add, the more real it will feel. 

5) Practice daily:

Visualization can easily be as much of a part of your training as going to the gym. Aaron Rodgers has mentioned that he learned how to visualize when he was in the 6th grade and has used it time and time again to practice difficult situations out on the field. Simply take 5-10 minutes to start. Whether you’re rehearsing a new play, or running a race, imagery can be included in any mental-fitness technique.

6) Write out your own script

If you have a hard time getting clear and specific on what you want to mentally rehearse, consider writing it out and recording it. If you don’t like listening to your own voice then ask a friend to record it for you. Guided scripts make it easier to help you focus on what you can control. You can also use Rewire’s mindset recovery options which has several visualization practices to help give you different ideas on what to write your script on. 

7) Combine it with Rewire

If you’re not training for anything specific, consider using rewire to help you train your motivation. Rewire’s motivation visualization can help you remain focused on your goals during long extended bouts of training. If you’re reading this on mobile, click here to check out Rewire’s pre-flight checklist to help you practice visualizing your upcoming races.

Click here to read our article on the benefits of Visualization

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What Is The Purpose of Being Mentally Fit

The purpose of mental fitness is to achieve a state of well-being, feeling calmer and more prepared to tackle a mix of life’s responsibilities and challenges. 

Being mentally fit does not mean achieving a high IQ test score or being able to read a book a day. Mental fitness is a lot more holistic — it’s less about one thing and instead a mix of components and exercises that create a healthy mind.

This blog post will explain more about the purpose of mental fitness — we’ll discuss what it means to be mentally fit, the benefits, a few exercises to get started, and more.

What does it mean to be mentally fit?

Physical fitness relates to how the body looks and functions. If you exercise regularly, you improve your health and reduce your risk of disease. If you lift weights, you’ll build bigger and stronger muscles. If you run or cycle long distances, you’ll better develop your cardiovascular system.

But what about mental fitness? While exercise improves physical fitness, it also improves mental fitness. When we exercise, our brain produces and releases endorphins — also known as “feel-good hormones.” It’s why you feel happy after exercise, and it’s likely one of the reasons you keep going back — whether you realise it or not.

The purpose of being mentally fit is similar to that of physical fitness — to improve the function of your brain and how you think, feel, and react to the world around you. And while that may seem somewhat far-fetched, it’s actually rather straightforward.

What are the benefits of mental fitness? 

As you likely already know, there are many benefits to focusing on mental fitness.

For example, benefits include:

  • Increased presence and focus
  • Improved sleep quality and quantity 
  • Increased resilience 
  • The ability to be more present
  • Build confidence
  • Improved cognitive function 
  • Build new skills 

Unsurprisingly, the benefits are centred around how we think, feel, and interact with various situations.

For more benefits, you can check out our mental fitness training guide for beginners.

Mental fitness training — a few exercises to get started

If you want to get bigger muscles, you go to the gym and lift weights. But if you want to train your mind, you need to adopt a different approach.

As previously mentioned, your mental fitness is made up of several components. For example, this could include how much sleep you get, how stressed you are, whether or not you exercise regularly, your immediate environment, and so forth. 

There are, of course, plenty of exercises you can do to get started:

  • Regular exercise
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Do mind games
  • Read
  • Increase awareness and reduce stress with journaling 

Regular exercise

Let’s start with a more obvious one: regular exercise.

The CDC states that adults need 150-minutes of exercise each week. Ideally, this should also include two days of muscle-strengthening activity. We recommend splitting the 150-minutes throughout the week — 30 minutes a day, five days a week, or something similar to best suit your schedule.

Exercise releases endorphins — these make you feel good, can elevate your mood, and improve your outlook on a certain situation or even life, in general.

Regular exercise should be a part of your mental fitness routine — it’s easy to do, it’s super rewarding, and you’ll feel great physically and mentally for doing it. 

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness and meditation often go hand in hand, but you can do one without the other — meditation is not the only form of mindfulness.

Despite this, many people find that meditation helps them achieve a more calm state of mind and improves focus and concentration.

But you can exercise mindfulness in different ways — it could be a short walk, perhaps creating a list of things you’re grateful for, gardening, cooking, or performing another hobby that you find rewarding.

We’re all different — you may enjoy yoga or meditation, or you might find that noting down your thoughts and tracking your goals in a notebook works best for you. You can also try our Rewire mindset recovery sessions, or, if you prefer, our open recovery post-workout deep mind and body session. And if guided sessions are more your thing, click here to give one a go! 

Do mind games

There are loads of mind games that help reduce stress and improve cognitive performance and function. For example, it could be something as simple as a crossword puzzle, sudoku, or a game of chess.

Alongside traditional games, there are also reaction tests and other brain-stimulating tests and activities that increase cognitive function and focus. We recommend trying a mix of Rewire neuro-training sessions, designed to temporarily increase mental fatigue, and build long-term mental fitness. If you’re reading on mobile, click here to try a 3 minute neuro-training session.

Read

Regular reading keeps the mind healthy — it stimulates the mind, reduces stress, improves knowledge, and facilitates better focus and concentration. 

Also, reading may keep the brain active, potentially slowing the onset of dementia in Alzheimer’s disease by up to five years, as found in a 2021 study

Increase awareness and reduce stress with journaling 

Journaling can be as simple as writing down your thoughts for a few minutes each day. But writing down how you feel can increase awareness, contributing to better mental fitness and reduced stress.

It’s a basic practice, but many people find it useful to note their thoughts on paper, almost clearing their heads and sharing the responsibility. 

Mental fitness is a holistic practice 

Mental fitness is a lot more holistic than you might think. Improving your mental fitness is not as simple as going for a run, playing a game of chess, reading a book, or performing reaction tests.

Instead, it’s a mix of several activities — there is no finish line, and you must constantly perform these activities to ensure optimal mental fitness.

To get started with your mental fitness journey, we recommend using the Rewire daily readiness assessment. The short 90-second assessment looks at your unique needs day-to-day, recommending specific neuro-training and mindset-recovery protocols to set yourself up for success.  

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References:

Ciomag, V. and Zamfir, M.V., 2016. The Benefit of Physical Exercises of our Own Body and Health. Univers Strategic, (2), p.26.

Horowitz, S., 2010. Health benefits of meditation: What the newest research shows. Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 16(4), pp.223-228.

Wilson, R.S., Wang, T., Yu, L., Grodstein, F., Bennett, D.A. and Boyle, P.A., 2021. Cognitive activity and onset age of incident Alzheimer disease dementia. Neurology, 97(9), pp.e922-e929.

Winter-Hébert, L., 2019. 10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day. lifehack. org, Retrieved, pp.22-4.

Individualisation and Modification of Training Based on Readiness and Individual Responses to Stimulus With Rewire

With each passing month there is more and more evidence in support of the use of HRV guided training for athletes. Part of this is driven by the increasing interest in HRV as a measure in health and performance, but part of it is also probably due to the intrinsic ‘sense’ it makes. That is; not everyone adapts to the same stimulus the same way and everyone deals with life stressors differently. In fact, if you speak to most coaches these phenomena are deeply ingrained in their understanding of adaptation, the challenge has been how to quantify this and adapt as a result. 

This was the basis for Rewire’s readiness tracking. It was built on the concept of blending both objective physiological parameters with subjective and emotional factors, which is still quite unique in the industry. As is the appreciation of the two and their impact on eachother, perhaps due to modern culture’s mind-body dissociation. 

To this point, a bulk of the research regarding HRV guided training has used HRV as the sole measure to adjust training (either in an acute time frame with acute changes to HRV or a longer term time frame based on longer term trends) and has mostly cut back or reduced training intensity based on this. In reality many coaches would likely integrate subject measures with these sorts of objective measures such as resting heart rate and HRV as well as modify training in more ways than just reducing load on days of poor readiness. 


A recent study from Nuuttila Olli-Pekka and colleagues has taken a very coach oriented view on readiness when it comes to HRV guided training. 

The basics of the study:

  • Runners were split into two groups, one followed a set program and one adjusted training around their HRV, heart rate-running speed index (a measure of the relationship of running speed to heart rate)  and subjective measures of readiness. 
  • In the group who adjusted training, this was done twice a week and saw either an increase, maintenance or decrease in training based on the measures mentioned. 
    • This is of specific note given usually HRV guided training studies use only low HRV to reduce training load, not the opposite. 
  • They trained for 15 weeks, with pre and post intervention testing
  • Top speed on a treadmill and 10km time trial were the outcome measures

What they found:

  • All runners improved
  • The magnitude of improvement was greater for the group with modified training in the 10km time trial 
  • The proportion of high responders (those who had significantly larger improvements) was more in the modified training group (50% vs 29%)
  • The modified training group had fewer low responders (0% vs 21%)

Some thoughts and takeaways:

  • Generally training improves performance, so the global improvement is expected but the difference in the groups is key
  • Using modified training had greater upside (high responders) and lower downside (low responders), crucially there were no non-responders

So to summarize, modifying training to match readiness showed increased performance and improved all participants’ performance. This is very rare in any intervention, let alone one that only takes a few minutes! 

If this, in combination with the fact that Rewire both tracks these metrics and provides actionable insights around modification of training and preparation for training on different days, doesn’t make you want to use Rewire then the next study will help really cement this. 

Jens Voet and colleagues’ 2021 paper showed the disconnect between the training prescription of the coach and the way this was executed by the athletes (in this case, semi-professional cyclists) with respect to RPE. This difference was significant, and importantly, differed between individuals. It likely reflects, at least in part, the disconnect between prescription of external workloads and training responses they induce (internal workloads). 

To simplify, the intention of the coach when prescribing sessions was rarely the reality, and the magnitude of this difference was individual between athletes. Again, for most coaches this probably makes some sense upon reflection. But the challenge is quantifying this gap and the bigger challenge is adapting things going forward to the athlete. 

Enter Rewire. 

The algorithm used in readiness tracking by Rewire adapts to you in that your individual variation is scaled based on your normal ranges, because everyone’s responses differ. 

This readiness measurement drives mindset recovery and pre-workout priming recommendations to help you get the most out of training or indeed recover better for the day. That’s right, Rewire provides actions to take based on readiness, not just a readiness score for you to try and understand. 

Additionally, the gap between intended session difficulty and actual difficulty is currently tracked when undertaking Neuro-training and is something that is in the roadmap for inclusion at a later date for the coaches dashboard for other training sessions.

So with this in mind, why not start your Elite trial of Rewire today?

Don’t forget, Rewire is about more than just readiness tracking and pre-training preparation! Recovery sessions are prescribed thanks to integrations such as Garmin and Strava because training is about repeated efforts over weeks and months, not just every now and then. This is all without mention of Rewire’s key mental fitness focused Neuro-training, which improves mental endurance. 


References:

Olli-Pekka N, Ari N, Elisa K, Keijo H, Heikki K. Individualized Endurance Training Based on Recovery and Training Status in Recreational Runners. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2022 Aug 13. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000002968. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35975912.

Jens G. Voet, Robert P. Lamberts, Jos J. de Koning, Jelle de Jong, Carl Foster & Teun van Erp (2021) Differences in execution and perception of training sessions as experienced by (semi-) professional cyclists and their coach, European Journal of Sport Science, DOI: 10.1080/17461391.2021.1979102

This indicates that the relationship between RPE and iRPE is unique to each cyclist. Both the different execution and perception of the training programme by the individual cyclists could cause an impaired training adaptation.

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What Is Mental Fitness, and Why Is It Important?

And a few tips to help you improve your mental fitness.

Mental fitness is more than a reaction test or a memory game, and it’s not a state of well-being. Instead, mental fitness is all about achieving emotional balance, increasing awareness, making clear decisions, and setting healthy boundaries. 

And while we can talk about what mental fitness is all day, the definition often means somewhat different things to others. For example, one person may see mental fitness as their ability to push themselves mentally during a race, while another person may define mental fitness as thinking clearly and being in a good place mentally and emotionally.

But regardless of what it means to you or me, exactly why is mental fitness important? What happens if you neglect it, and how do you exercise and maintain it? We’ll address all these questions and more below.

What is mental fitness?

While physical fitness is often represented by defined muscles, personal bests, and an impressively low heart rate, mental fitness is a lot more difficult to define. Besides, you can’t touch or feel mental fitness.

If you can’t deadlift with your brain, then how are you supposed to improve your mental fitness? And is it even possible?  

Yes, it is possible to train your mental fitness, and there are various methods to do it. A good place to start would be by adding mindfulness and meditation into your daily routine. You should also follow a regular exercise schedule and stick to a healthy diet. It’s important to stick to these healthy habits long-term to see real benefits. It’s not a do-it-once approach — you must stick with it.

For more tips on improving mental fitness, check out our mental fitness guide for beginners.

Why is mental fitness important?

Being in a state of positive mental fitness enables us to respond to the many challenges life throws at us. Our state of mind and emotions directly impact the decisions we make, how we respond to certain situations, and how we think and feel daily.

Poor mental fitness may negatively impact your relationships (spouse, friends, or family), your emotional and mental health, and even your self-esteem. As an athlete, you may put less effort into training, perhaps lose interest in your sport, and no longer perform at your best.

By now, you likely understand just how important mental fitness is. And if you neglect your mental fitness, you may begin to experience negative consequences in other areas of your life. So, take control of your mental fitness and better control and manage how you think, feel, and act.

What is the difference between physical and mental fitness?

The difference between physical and mental fitness is an easy one.

Physical fitness is the body’s ability to function as expected, whereas mental fitness is focused on the mind — how we think, feel, and experience certain scenarios. 

Both mental and physical fitness can be trained — you can build bulging quads and other defined muscles, but you can also exercise and stimulate the mind to improve your well-being and how you respond to stressful situations. 

For example, American psychologist Roy Baumeister and colleagues compared self-control to that of a muscle — it can be strengthened and fatigued. The theory is known as “ego depletion” and surrounds the idea that we all possess a limited mental reserve of energy — once it runs out, we’re more likely to lose self-control. 

This is further supported by the theory that willpower can be trained, helping us deal with a variety of stressful situations we not only encounter daily, but in sports — think long-distance running, challenging training sessions, and gruelling triathlon distances.

Anyways, it’s important to achieve a balance of both physical and mental fitness. However, achieving excellent mental fitness may result in the motivation to improve your physical fitness, whether that means losing weight or overcoming an injury.

How do you exercise your mental fitness?

We’ve previously touched on a few methods to exercise your mental fitness already. But there are numerous methods at your disposal, such as:

  • Practice mindfulness: reduce distractions and practice being present and in the moment.
  • Exercise regularly: aim to exercise for at least 150-minutes a week.
  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone: seek new opportunities and challenge yourself regularly.

Exercising your mental fitness is not as simple as completing one task daily. Instead, your mental fitness is linked to multiple factors. Therefore, it’s recommended to engage in these tasks regularly to provide yourself with the best opportunity to increase and maintain your mental fitness.

The Rewire Fitness app has an entire library full of mindfulness and recovery sessions designed to increase mental fitness, reduce stress, and allow you to re-focus on what’s important to you.

Start training your mental fitness today

The concept of mental fitness is fairly new. And while the increased awareness surrounding mental health is more than welcomed, more people need to know what mental fitness is and how it works.

To get started, we suggest using the Rewire daily readiness assessment. The short 90-second assessment measures how prepared you are to tackle the day. It’s easy to do, and when used with the Rewire app, it provides you with the tools to better manage your mental fitness.


FAQs

Why is mental fitness important? 

Mental fitness is important for many reasons. For example, it allows you to respond to situations better, enables you to think clearer, and may positively influence work or training performance.

What is the difference between mental health and mental fitness?

Mental fitness is about thinking, feeling, and performing your best in all areas of life. Mental health is greater concerned with maintaining and managing a positive and healthy state of mind and well-being.

What is more important, physical or mental fitness? 

Both physical and mental fitness are equally important. If you work on both, you’re likely to see the maximum benefits in all areas of your life.

Why is it important to have a healthy mind?

Having a healthy mind directly impacts how you think, feel, and act. Set yourself up for success by prioritising your mental health and mental fitness.


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