You’re in your 40s now, and it’s likely that you see your gym time more as an outlet and less as an active training regimen. You’ve drilled the form into your body, and most days, you can get in the zone, focus on your music and let your body do its thing. It’s good to take a break from this autopilot work out once in a while, though, and mix in some mind training with your session.
PREP YOUR MIND BEFORE A WORKOUT WITH MIND TRAINING
MINDFULNESS WHEN MOVING
Mind training? In the gym? It’s a new idea based on maintaining mindfulness while moving around, based on a research paper by Chih-Hsiang Yang and David E. Conroy published earlier this year. To sum it up, the study has established a link between lower ‘momentary negative affect’ or those brief bouts of stress and anxiety and being mindful while moving.
BRAIN TRAINING IN THE GYM
While the study was based on college students, the idea was applied in sports training first then in regular workout programs as well. Since the concept easily translates into the scope of your typical workout day, you can give it a try now.
The first step is to simply focus on your workout routine for the day. Go over your plan before you start working out, take a few minutes to remember what each routine will develop for you. Review the equipment you plan to use. Think about why you’re in the gym in the first place and what you hope to achieve while you are there.
Reinforce the perfect form you have practised in your mind before you start the first reps. Picture yourself going through each count with the ideal form and the precise movement every time. Imagine how it feels as everything aligns just right in your body.
As you start with the exercises, give attention to your posture and alignment with every rep, filtering out other thoughts as much as possible. Focus on getting efficient movement from a stable position, and get satisfaction from each exercise that you can nail perfectly.
THINK OF YOUR BREATHING
As you focus on each rep of your exercise, be mindful of your breathing, as well. Pay attention that you are taking in deep breaths with a good rhythm while getting those perfect reps at the same time. Tune your breathing rate to the exercise you’re doing at the moment, while also trying to keep your breath as deep and even as you can manage.
BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS
Do you tend to look down or stare at nothing during your gym exercise? Now that you’re fully mindful and in control of your routine, the next step is to connect with your surroundings.
As you keep nailing those perfect reps and breathing, take notice of anything interesting going on in your view. Ditch the headphones for a day and take the time to focus on yourself and your surroundings instead.
Mind training and being mindful in your workout is something that can take some practice to get used to. Try it for a few minutes first thing into your workout and see how it makes you more centred and focused on your routine for the day.
I keep repeating that I am strong and I have the stamina, and it’s always made a huge impact on my performance.