When life gets busy, it can be tough to stay focused during your workout. It’s a familiar sensation: you get stressed, your mind wanders, and suddenly you get into a rut of going through the motions without really getting the most out of your gym time. When you are focused, on the other hand, you notice it. You feel a little stronger, a little faster, and you leave the gym thinking about how good that workout felt.
That’s why it’s so important to follow these three pre-workout tricks to help improve your focus during exercise. It’ll help you make the most out of your workout because you’ll be zoned in, and perfectly ready to take on the next set, mile, or circuit.
Clear Your Mind Through Energetic Breathing on Your Way to the Gym
One of the biggest things that gets in the way of a successful workout is your own mind. On the way to the gym, try practicing energetic breathing as a way to clear your head and benefit from some on-the-go, pre-workout meditation.
What’s energetic breathing? Well, put simply, it’s breathing with a purpose. Throughout the day, we tend to have very shallow and subconscious breaths. Energetic breathing is conscious; it takes focus and a clear mind. While you’re heading to your workout, sit, stand or walk tall. Soften your gaze, and begin to take deep, purposeful breaths that fill not only your chest, but your belly as well. Inhale through your nose as deeply as you can, and then exhale smoothly and calmly through your mouth, creating a soft whisper.
Focus all of your attention on your breath, and soon you’ll have a clear mind, and your body will actually be filled with energy and attention, ready for a workout.
Write Down Your Workouts Before You Do Them
So often, we go to the gym without a real plan, and we impulsively choose exercises to do without a rhyme or reason. Even if you know exactly what it is you’re going to do, writing down your game plan will increase your focus in the gym drastically.
When you write things down, it creates not only a physical note, but also a mental note and guide that can lead you from exercise to exercise. This allows your mind to think only about what you are doing in the present moment, and stops it from thinking prematurely about what exercise you’re going to do next.
For an added benefit, write down what you’ll do for your workout beforehand, and then during your workout, write down the sets, reps, speed, and/or duration of the workout you performed. This will improve focus during your workout as you’ll be able to keep yourself in check and accountable for the decisions you’re making about how much weight to work with, or how fast to go through your reps. This will also accelerate your progress in the gym because you’ll always have a record of what you did at the gym last time, and will know to push yourself just a bit further this time around.
Develop a Workout Ritual
The final trick for improving your workout focus is to develop a pre-workout ritual. This isn’t the same as a pre-workout routine, because routines are carried out physically. Rituals, on the other hand, are both physical and performed within the mind.
So what would a pre-workout ritual consist of? An example would be that before every workout, you take 10 minutes to stretch out, methodically and carefully, while listening to music that gets you pumped up. Or maybe you stretch in silence while you say a motivating quote or phrase in your head over and over to get you into a deep and driven mindset for the workout.
Rituals are developed from within, and you should be experimental with them to find what gets you best focused for exercise. Once you’ve crafted a ritual that you perform with ease and excitement, perform it each and every time you set foot in the gym. This creates a mental and physical memory that reminds you that you’re about to exercise. It connects the mind to the matter, and gets you ready to attack whatever you’re about to do during your workout.