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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

How Improved Focus Will Improve Your Training

How focused are you when you’re at the gym? Are you laser focused on short or long-term goals? Or do you find yourself thinking about what you are going to do later that night, or maybe what you’ll eat when you’re done.

Being able to focus on your workout can maximize your training and your progress. From the overall goals of a workout session, to each individual rep of each set.

It’s not unusual for someone to lose a little focus over time. Here are some of the common reasons why people start to lose focus, and see their gains plateau as a result:

-- Lack of motivation due to gains slowing down.

-- Becoming bored of doing the same training in the same gym.

-- You don’t have any current goals to work towards.

-- Training is no longer one of your main priorities.

If you find yourself in any of these situations, you need to recapture that focus you once had. You need to reignite that fire that used to push you to bench a new personal best, or squeeze out an extra rep. Because that is when you’re making quality gains. You can do this by practicing mindfulness.

What is Mindfulness?

Do you ever have that feeling that you have just been on autopilot? This is commonly experienced when you drive the same way to work each day, or you do repetitive tasks for your day job. You have moments when you suddenly realize you were not paying attention for the past few minutes.

Well mindfulness is being aware of what you are doing at the present moment. It’s being consciously aware of everything that is going on around you, and not going into ‘autopilot’ mode. With mindful thinking comes improved concentration, and with improved concentration comes better, longer, and more rewarding training.

How Mindfulness Can Help Your Training

When weight training it’s common to think about the future. By this I mean thinking about short or long term goals, or how many reps are in your set. So your brain already has a determined goal to hit, and when you hit that goal you’re likely to stop.

I’m sure this is resonating with a lot of you reading. I know it’s how I used to train, and how I see people commonly training today. But you can get more out of your workout by shifting your thoughts to the present. I’m an advocate for goals, you need to set goals. But you can still shift your mind to concentrate on each and every rep at it happens.

You will find yourself ‘feeling’ each rep. Helping you achieve the maximum gain from each rep, and in turn helping you achieve your goals without you having to think ahead. The same applies to your rest and nutrition. On your rest days, do you really rest? By this I mean, you should be resting your body and mind. Taking some time to yourself to totally unwind and allow your body to heal from the training.

With regard to food you should look into new and different recipes and foods. You’re probably in a rut eating the same few meals that you know are quick and easy. Be mindful that your mind and body needs variation to be stimulated.

How to Be More Mindful and Apply It to Training

It’s the same principle as fitness training or weightlifting. To become more mindful and be able to focus better you need to train your mind. It’s very similar to meditating, you need to start out by spending a few minutes a day to work on it.

Sit somewhere quiet and concentrate on your surroundings. Focus on the present, avoid thinking about the future or letting your mind wonder off. Concentrate on your breathing and be more aware of your senses. What can you hear, feel, and smell?

After you’re comfortable doing this start taking 10 minutes a day to be mindful, then move up to 15 minutes a day after a few more days. Work your way up to a duration that you’re comfortable with, and feel like you’re benefiting from.

You should start to see improvements in your focus, and sensory feeling while working out. You will be more aware of how you feel and how your body is reacting to your training. Some people have changed up their training after taking a more mindful approach. Noticing that they reacted better to different workout, or making faster gains from certain exercises.

Author Bio: Phil Ashton is the owner and webmaster at where he blogs about mindfulness, positive thinking, self-development and more. He’s also a regular contributor at Smart Beard.