Train with Intention
Mindfulness; How often are we actually present during our sessions? Mindfulness is a concept that is celebrated in practices such as yoga. Let’s take the philosophy and take it one step further- becoming completely mindful during your training.
Do you find yourself zoning out and just going through the motions while you’re at the gym or are you present and in the moment? Now, you may be telling yourself, “Of course I’m in the moment- I’d get hurt otherwise”. This is true, but I personally have found there are two (of many) ways to work through a session:
1) Going from rep to rep, checking off each set and just going through the “routine”.
2) Setting a clear intention before your training and visualizing the movements you’re about to experience.
I personally vote for the later. Now- before you start thinking this blog post is going to get all “zenned out” I want to invite you to think about what I fully mean in setting an intention and being mindful in your movement. One of the practices I’ve learned from one of my mentors and coach, Ryan Hurst of Gold Medal Bodies, is to visualize yourself succeeding in the movement.
What does that mean? Exactly how it sounds. I look into my mind’s eye and visualize myself completely succeeding in the specific element that I’m practicing in that moment. Let’s use hand balancing as an example; I don’t worry about falling, I don’t worry about having that “perfect” line, I just envision myself successfully nailing that handstand. This visualization tool can be used for any type of workout you’re performing.
The second practice I’ve learned that I include into every session is to anticipate and “feel” the movement patterns before they’re performed. How does one anticipate that type of feeling? By creating muscle memory by focusing on quality repetitions. Practice. Learn what feels right. Repeat. I really can’t stress this enough- although it may be an “obscure” way of viewing your workout, it’s a practice I have found the most success with.
In the past you may have felt worn down and physically exhausted after each and every work out. At first glance this may look like the aftermath of a successful workout- but there is still a huge disconnect from the mind-body element. Your body has gone through a physical experience but your mind may have been completely set to “pause”. By adding mindfulness into your routine you may start to find yourself feeling more relaxed after your workout. Don’t get me wrong, you’ll still have a challenging session, but the connection to mind + body will help transfer the same focus you have in the gym into your day to day activities.