Your Workout: Why Are You There?
Animal or flower? Are you the beast at the gym diving into any breath-taking exercise, ignoring aches or pains and pushing hard until there is a pool of sweat on their mat? Or the pansy that takes a few sips of water, evaluates the equipment and slowly begins the assigned task before giving a pained squint and quitting early.
What pushes some to work so hard and others can’t seem to find a groove? That has caused me to often ask the participants in my exercise classes to consider why they are there. It’s my way of bringing their focus to what they’re doing and what they hope to gain from participating in the class. Once you put your mind into whatever that is, you can channel your energy into the right direction and find more motivation to press on and surprisingly the time seems to pass faster.
It’s very easy to stumble into the gym out of habit. You can hop on the treadmill or mindlessly follow an instructor hoping to accomplish something or at the very least avoid regressing. But if you begin with an intention your time will be more productive and meaningful.
Otherwise, without focus you most often will get bored with your workout and not get the most out of it. Perhaps your mindlessness will even lead to injury. The time will drag on and you’ll be tempted to quit early.
As long as you’re taking time to be there you might as well get your money’s worth. Research suggests that by focusing on what you’re doing the exercises seem more manageable and goals more obtainable.
Here are some ways to help you fixate on your workout and your goals.
- Keep it fresh! Find new exercises. Take different classes. Keep your body off balance by forcing it to adapt to new tasks. This will keep your mind engaged in figuring it out.
- Fixate on the exercise. Perhaps on one day think about keeping your core engaged, shoulders back and tummy tight during each exercise. It will make you very aware of your body and all strengthens and weaknesses.
- Music helps. Save the love songs for lounging at home. In the gym find something upbeat that keeps you moving. Or lyrics that motivate you to “work it!”.
- Avoid reading or watching television. Although, I applaud my friend who gets in a 30-minute walk on the treadmill watching shows, she could get more out of it by focusing on good form. By concentrating on stride the arms will get pumping, the core will engage elevating the heart rate a little more and strengthening the midsection.
Hate working out? Then you’ll have to spend twice as long at the gym until you find a way to turn your mind away from the discomfort and toward appreciating your body and what you can do with it, while you can. Be sure to discuss any new exercise with your doctor.