All Free Athletes know that any exercise is 90% mental. But like any muscle, your mind can become fatigued, overworked and in need of rejuvenation. The solution to this? Training mindfully.
It’s important to dedicate as much time to looking after our mental well-being, as we do with our physical well-being; self-care means more than just going to the gym three times a week. Having time to reflect is crucial for our mental well-being, but many of us lead such busy lives that it can often be difficult to find time to ourselves.
This is where your workout can step in; when all you’re thinking about is the next set or rep, there’s no time to worry about life’s problems. When we’re training, we’re focused on ourselves and our bodies; it’s the ultimate mindful reflection.
Training hard isn’t just a physical workout, it’s a mental one too. It forces us to concentrate, to be acutely aware of our bodies and to focus on the moment at hand. Like any muscle, the mind can grow and improve. As you become better at focusing on the moment, eliminating surrounding distractions and focusing on your body, your performance will improve.
Set yourself goals and follow them through
Training mindfully is training with a purpose. Goal setting is an important part of mindful training as it gives you something tangible to focus on and to strive towards. With a clear goal in mind, it’s easier to eliminate distractions and quieten the noise from outside, not to mention encouraging you to get the most out of your workout. A sense of achievement, no matter how small, is a crucial part of strengthening the mind.
Focus on your breathing
Paying attention to your breathing makes you focus on the moment. By taking your attention away from the pain of the exercise or any external distractions, you will execute the exercise more effectively. Focus on what you are doing in the present, not on the 100 Climbers yet to come, or what you need to get done at work that week. Distractions hinder the journey to our goals; a focused mind is a strong mind.
Be aware of your body
Pay close attention to how your body feels. You should always aim to train hard, but also SMART. This means taking time to assess your body’s condition; how do your muscles feel? Are you tired? Do you have enough energy? Awareness of any aches, pains and soreness can not only help prevent injury, but can help you push yourself that bit further. Working out is the ideal way to connect the body with the mind; the two are never more connected than when your mind is pushing your body through those last ten burpees.
The mental state you occupy during a workout directly impacts your performance; a mind entirely focused on the body, the surroundings and the immediate goal will lead to a more focused and rewarding performance. It is easy to overlook the importance of mental strength on your overall physical strength and well-being, so focusing on training mindfully is a perfect way to optimize your performance.