It’s early spring and you’ve gotten into the habit of working out consistently. You’ve embraced the idea of “just showing up” as the first step toward getting fit.
As the seasons change, it is a good time to think about what you can do to enhance the quality of the workouts you show up for.
I recently read that when stuck in a traffic jam, those who just stay present and notice what’s going on around them — the people who don’t try to use every distracting measure at their disposal to forget that they’re sitting in traffic-- actually experience less anxiety, frustration and anger than those who try hard to distract themselves. This rang true for me, and made me reflect on my workouts.
Periodically I listen to podcasts while on a long bike ride or hike. When I really think about it, though, these are the rides/hikes that feel the most tedious: the ones that I feel the most aware of time passing slowly. It turns out that the more I try to take myself out of the experience, the less the experience feels positive to me.
Staying in the moment when attending a class or working out on your own might be your next step in getting the most out of the time you spend at the gym. It’s easier said than done to keep from letting your mind wander to what’s for dinner or your to do list for the day.
Here are a couple of ideas that may help:
Come back to your breath. This is a simple technique taken from meditation and yoga. When your mind starts wandering, pay attention to your breathing for a couple of breaths.
Go to your discomfort. We all know that working out is not always comfortable! Feeling that burning sensation in your legs or abs isn’t always fun, but staying present with it will ironically help you to endure it--even welcome it! It’s also important to be able to tell the difference between normal discomfort and a joint problem, for example, which is the signal to stop or modify what you’re doing.
Use a MyZone. Getting feedback from your MyZone will help you be able to equate how you’re feeling with different levels of work and to keep up a constant effort. You’ll learn over time how the right pace for you feels, and it will become second nature.
Here’s to enjoying every moment you spend in the Zone and on the Strong floor!