Let’s face it, just getting to the gym can be a challenge, and then when we get there, we can get easily distracted. This loss of focus can reduce your gains and limit what you’re getting out of your workout. To ensure we’re getting the most out of our time I want to discuss how to improve your focus during a workout.
Why Does (mental) Focus Matter During a Workout?
Just like your job, if you lose focus on the task at hand it increases the chances of making a mistake or making an error. The same can go for workouts. If you lose focus during your workouts, at worst you can increase your chances of hurting yourself, and at best, you don’t get the most out of your time. And our time is very valuable. If you’re paying for a gym membership, we should be getting our money’s worth. And lack of focus rest on your shoulders, so it’s up to you to maintain or improve that focus.
Unless you’re one of the few people that live to workout, exercising is a struggle and it takes self-discipline, willpower, and time to reach our workout goals. A drop in any of these can be the difference between hitting the number on the scale or just coming close. And we all know that success breeds more success.
If you’re hitting your goals, it drives you and motivates you to continue. So losing focus, even if it’s in the short-term, can have long-term effects. This is why you need to keep that level of focus high. And if it’s lacking, do what you can to get it back. And this brings me to my next point, of tips to improve your focus during a workout.
What Are Some Tips For Improving Focus During a Workout?
1) Get Your Pre-Workout Done
“My passion is my best pre-workout.” What I mean by this is do whatever you need to do to get excited to hit the gym. Some people like to take a pre-workout, others are motivated to meet a workout partner at the gym, and some just need to watch a Youtube video to get amped up. Some just need their jam on the radio blasting through the speakers. If your energy is low, your workout will struggle to take off. But if your energy is high and you’re anxious to get started, your results will skyrocket.
2) Workout Playlist
“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” I mentioned this above on the utility of music and getting you amped up to hit the gym, but music can help you stay focused during your workout session. We’ve all felt how powerful music can make you feel. The Rocky theme music is a great example. Use music to stay focused by putting together a playlist that can help you visualize yourself accomplishing your goals. I have several songs on my playlist that I got from movies and just by listening to that music and visualizing the movie, it really hones in my focus and helps me get the most out of my workout session.
3) Mind to Muscle Connection
“The body achieves what the mind believes.” If you’ve never heard of mind-to-muscle connection it’s the deliberate focus on using the muscle the workout is designed to engage. For example, if you’re doing curls, it’s actively and consciously using the bicep muscle to curl the weight upward.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s easy to engage or use momentum to curl the weight upward. By focusing on using the bicep muscle to curl the weight up, you’ll be using a mind-to-muscle connection that yields better results than mindlessly working out. Another advantage of engaging mind-to-muscle connection is using proper form. When you focus on engaging the intended muscle to lift the weight, using proper form will help prevent injury.
Squats is a perfect example of this. Focusing on using your leg muscles vs engaging your back muscles, can keep you healthier and prevent injury. After all, the squat is designed primarily to build leg muscles, so focusing on using your legs, will yield better results.
4) New Routine
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” This one is pretty obvious, but trying a new routine will help keep you engaged, excited, and you’ll see better results. Doing the same workout day after day or week after week can get boring. If you’re bored with your workout, you’ll zone out and you’ll lose focus. Additionally, doing the same workout over and over again will not be the best use of your time. Your body is smart and after a while, it will take less and less energy and exertion to lift the same weights.
You’ve probably heard of the term “muscle confusion.” It’s the premise that by mixing up your routine you’ll be engaging different muscles, which will provide better and quicker results. The point of working out is to exert yourself so that your body will need to burn fat and build muscle to lift the weight. Changing up your routine will make that happen.
5) Set Achievable Goals
“Setting goals is the first step in turning the invisible into the visible.” Fitness goals are important because they line up our workouts with our goals. We’ve all had days where getting to the gym is difficult enough, but then trying to find the energy to do a workout is a hill in itself. If you have short-term and long-term goals, you’re much more likely to do the workout needed to hit those goals.
For example, if you’re goal is to decrease your body fat so that you can fit into those trendy and expensive jeans you bought, you’re more likely to do those harder squat and deadlift workouts. Hitting those short-term goals will keep you motivated and they’ll keep you focused. By achieving the short-term goals week after week the ultimate goal becomes more obtainable.
6) Have a Workout Plan
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” This quote about the importance of having a plan summarizes what happens to your goals. They can disappear into thin air. Showing up to the gym without a plan, increases your chance of having a mediocre workout. Granted any exercise is better than no exercise, but as described above we want to make use of our gym time as best as we can. A workout plan helps you stay focused, it can prevent you from getting sidetracked or distracted and it provides a clear path for you to follow.
Wrapping up Improving Your Fitness Focus
If you find yourself looking down at your phone surfing social media or sitting idle watching tv, you know that you’ve lost your focus. Without focus, your goals get further and further away. Use the aforementioned tips and tricks to regain and improve your focus, so you don’t become another example of someone that tried working out but quit.