How To Focus During Workouts

I know the feeling all too well… You are 10 minutes into the workout and your mind is racing with thoughts that make it hard to do the next rep, let alone the next 100. “I am so tired, there is no way I will finish.” “Is this over yet?” “The weight is so heavy and I just can’t do it.” If you step back to assess your thoughts you would discover that you have become a master negotiator and didn’t even know it. In a matter of a few minutes, you can create a mental list of at least 10 reasons why you do not actually need to continue and can probably just go ahead and call it quits. But you return and allow the same frustration and arguments to get in the way of the results you truly want. Sound familiar?

As a lifelong athlete, I have created habits and a lifestyle that allows me to feel my best which includes moving my body regularly. I am not perfect and between injuries, having 2 babies, and just regular life, I know what it is like to fall short of your goals and give up on a routine I know is good for me. If you are a parent who has tried to prioritize your health and fitness only to give up after a few sessions, I hear you and understand completely, but as a mental coach, it is my job to encourage you lovingly. 

If you are thinking, “I just don’t have time” or “I will get healthy when …” I want you to consider replacing those statements with “…is not a priority for me”. (Thank you Mrs. Jenna Kutcher for this incredible tip! Check out her new book How Are You Really? for more). If working out and being healthy is not a priority then absolutely stop reading this now, BUT if you cringe when you hear this statement and have had a love/hate relationship with the process of getting in shape then I invite you to continue reading this post. 

In this post, I will share 3 mindset shifts about working out that will help you feel energized and focused on the process so you can commit to the healthy lifestyle you desire. If after reading this post, you feel inspired and encouraged I have an invitation waiting for you.

1. Get lost in the movement

A. When it comes to long, grueling workouts or practices it is easy to let your mind wander to the length of time or reps left until you can call it quits. It seems that the harder the workout, the easier it is to focus on how hot it is, how tired you are, or how you really could get away with slacking off a bit. But those thoughts do not serve you. They are distractions that will make the workout feel 10 times harder than it needs to be. 

B. Instead, find a movement to get lost in. For me, if I am doing a long set of squats I focus on the movement from my stand, to my seat moving back, and the slow descent to the bottom. I reverse the motion back to a stand and repeat. My focus is on the path my body is taking and the feeling in my muscles as I move. This helps me focus on the movement in a way that is helpful vs focusing on things that will drain my energy.

2. Know what you are there to accomplish

A. Why are you working out? Is it because you hate the way you look? Maybe a friend asked you to join her as she focuses on her health and you don’t want to let her down. Or maybe you are an athlete slogging through a conditioning workout your coach dole out as a way of being mean or punishing you. No matter what the surface reason is, it is important to personalize your why in a way that fuels you. 

B. I work out because it is good for my health. Not just my physical health and longevity but my brain health and sanity. It gets me out of my head and allows me to feel grounded. Working out also allows me to be fit so that I feel good about myself and my lifestyle. I am an athlete and working out is in alignment with that identity so it brings me joy. Lastly, exercise gives me energy so that I can keep up with my babies. After years of tumbling and weightlifting, consistent movement is required for being able to move and chase after my little one, throwing balls, and crawling through playground tunnels. Decide what your why is and remind yourself that the work you are putting in today is getting you closer to your goal.

3. Shift your thinking

A. Your thoughts have a direct relationship with the results you achieve. When you go into a workout thinking about all of the reasons you do not want to be there or why it is going to be terrible, it will be impossible for you to put 100% effort into it. When your effort is diminished the results will not come and it will be a long and hard process. Instead, if you think encouraging thoughts that support your bigger vision, you will have more energy and excitement for the process. The task will feel more manageable and enjoyable and you will see improvement and results faster. So if you want to make the time and effort pay off you must change your thinking. 

B. The secret to energized workouts is to focus on gratitude and ways to make the process fun. Be thankful for the ability to move your body. Instead of dreading the work ahead, focus on the opportunity you have been given to celebrate your body and this day. Focus on the beautiful sky or the wonderful people who have been placed in your life to work alongside you. Think about what you have already accomplished and allow that to fuel you and your confidence. Tell yourself how amazing you are and that you are proud of who you are and who you are becoming. Break the work down into bite-sized pieces then only focus on the piece you are currently working on. Listen to music, put on your favorite workout gear, grab your fancy water, and get to work as a celebration of you.

There you go! In case you were looking for a little dose of encouragement today to dust off those gym shoes or even a boost of energy for your regularly scheduled practice, I hope you found something helpful in this post. When it comes to living a joyful, confident life, constant growth and evolution are a must. Find ways to push yourself in new ways and move towards the next, even better version of yourself. A great way to start is by subscribing to our list. You can join by grabbing our FREE Journal Prompt for Athlete Confidence at mgpcoach.com/journal.

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