Staying focused during your workout is a benefit to practicing mindful exercise. You see, mindfulness, allows you to concentrate and remove external distractions that cause you to lose attention and waste time.
For example: looking at the clock to check how much time is left (I see this one all the time), dragging yourself out of bed in the morning and coming into the gym still half asleep, or maybe something from the day before that you can’t get off your mind, to include a host of other life-like issues that we deal with every day. In finding your focus (being mindful) the result is a more effective and safe workout. If you struggle with staying on task at the gym, try these methods to increase your focus and improve your results.
Remember (movement is medicine), exercise can be therapeutic, beneficial, relaxing, and fun. But sometimes, it isn’t always the most thrilling activity in your day. Minutes can feel like hours when you’re in a training class, doing the same weight-training movements over and over, and even having a boring coach can set anyone into snooze-mode at the gym. Although you may be there physically, your mind may be far away. So what can you do to maintain focus?
Having a mindful approach helps you remove your focus from negative thoughts and distractions that you experience every day, and apply it to your body and breathing for improved exercise performance. You can practice more mindful exercise with these tips.
Target your training
When strength training, focus all of your attention on the muscle group you are working. Keep your eyes on the muscle when possible. When performing a single bicep curl or a leg extension exercise, place your free hand on the muscle being worked and feel it contract and relax. This increase in focus can help you push harder during your workout.
Your body’s demand for oxygen increases during exercise. Research shows that a greater supply of oxygen leads to improvements in exercise performance. The more oxygen, the longer and harder you can exercise. Focus on taking slower, deeper breaths to improve your respiratory fitness and to supply the body with more oxygen.
Mind over matter
I hear this term all the time (not as easy as it sounds). During challenging exercise, your attitude and mental focus are just as important as physical strength and endurance. Sometimes, during your training, increasing your run distance from 1.5 miles to 2, or staying in the plank position for 30 more seconds takes all you have. Cue the positive self-talk, focus on the working muscles, and visualize yourself reaching your goal.
In some cases, listening to music or watching a movie can help you through a workout, but their true role is to provide distraction. Think of it as outside ambient noise that is used to break out of your distracted state.
Being outdoors (different environments) can lift the spirits and help clear the mind. Concentrate on your movement, breathing, (running, cross-country, or trails) and allow the sights and sounds to envelope you for a more rewarding experience and provide a refreshing break from the daily grind.
Safe strength training (heavy lifts)
Distractions during exercise cause you to lose focus on the most important part of a workout: safety. Proper form, selecting a weight that is right for your fitness level, and mental focus ensure you execute each move correctly reducing your risk for injury.
First, it’s helpful to understand that being present during a workout offers big benefits. Paying attention to form and the motions helps to keep injury free and make the exercise more effective. Plus, you’ll feel like you’ve really accomplished something when the session is over, not wondering what it was you spent the last hour doing.
If you still find yourself losing focus during workouts, try these tips to keep your eyes on the prize
For every repetition, for every set, each movement, whether you’re lifting weights, using machines or relying on your own body weight, think about the muscle you’re using. Concentrate on contracting and relaxing muscles as you breathe. Concentrating on the muscles being worked keeps your brain and body engaged, and you target that area rather than just going through the motions. Don’t be surprised if you feel sore the next day! This is how we coach at KALFIT.
“Regarding Time”, “what doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get managed”
This is a crucial variable to your success. This is one of the complaints I hear all the time; taking too long between movements or sets. Hence, increasing a waste of valuable time in the gym. Rest periods are measured and consistent workout to work out. This is why we use a timing clock in all our training sessions. This will truly add a dynamic with a new focus during your training
Before you step foot on the weight floor, you should review exactly what exercises you’ll be doing that day, and what weights and reps you’re aiming to complete. This way you don’t have to waste time and compromise your focus to figure it out once you’re in the thick of it. When we coach, there is always a review & Q&A of the workout of the day for each of our members.
One of the main reasons we can fail to make progress is that it’s not measured. You need to know and record all your lifts, movements, and time in order to identify and ensure that we are progressing in the right direction. If you are working on strength, then you must know what your one rep max is. If you are working metabolic conditioning, then you need to know what weight was used and time elapse. Also, making notes of failed attempts on particular lifts and identifying your weaknesses is beneficial for safety and what you still need to work on.
Before you perform a set of any exercise, particularly any compound movement (e.g. squat, deadlift, bench press, row), take a few seconds to close your eyes and visualize what you’re about to do. Feel your muscles move the weight, and feel your body complete the entire movement. Do this for 3 or 4 reps.
This little warmup technique will prime your body and your mind for what’s to come… And sometimes this little bit of extra preparation will give you the edge you need to grind out that one last rep.
Workout alone with a personal trainer or coach
A workout partner or training in a group can keep you motivated, but sometimes he or she also serves as a distraction. If you find that you spend more time chatting than exercising, or if you reduce your intensity so you can carry on a conversation, consider exercising alone at least once or twice a week. Use these solo workouts to incorporate more challenging activities. This is where a coach can help.
Essentially, my program helps people in 90 days, to lose up to 20 lbs. while toning your body so you can experience life as the best version of yourself.
Habit-based lifestyle & nutrition coaching is my approach to generate momentum and keep you moving forward one day at a time. We coach small, directed, and intentional steps that will get you amazing results, so easy to follow each and every day to keep you on track towards losing your desired weight.
In the end, this is about you and no one else, I really feel that we working together can bring about that change you are looking for. Don’t be indecisive, that is a killer in any choice you make.
Having a coach with you on the journey can be the difference maker in being on that inconsistent roller coaster or not.
I hope this provided some information that was helpful and I wish you the best on your journey.
Let us know if we can help get you started
To Your Success,
Kipp – KALFIT Coach & Mentor
Let's have a real conversation about how you can create intention and take action and move forward for the final time, so you never have to start over again.