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Friday Fitness Tip 7/25/14 - Focus

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We all have different goals when we go to the gym - some of us go there to put on muscle and lose fat, some have the goal of being the strongest person in the room, some go there to get into shape for a particular sport, and at my gym especially it seems people go there to hang out with their friends so they can say “I work out”. Whatever you goal is, if you want to make any kind of progress, you’re going to need to eventually push yourself past the level you are at now. We’ve talked in the past about how important it is to constantly strive to make progress in your workouts. The problem a lot of people run into is that IT IS REALLY HARD TO KEEP MAKING PROGRESS! You need to be able to narrow your focus to just the task that is at hand - which is moving the weights or pushing yourself to that next level - and block out all of the other thoughts in your head. I have a few tips that have worked well for me, hopefully they will help some of you out.

1) Decide that your gym time is just for working out! What does that mean? It means that you need to walk into the gym with the mindset that once you leave the locker room to go start your workout you are on a mission to get the workout done. You are not there to socialize, not there to text message with your friends, not there to read the newspaper, and you are not there to talk on the phone while you go through the motions of doing a workout! I see a lot of people at the gym working out in groups, and that is a great idea with the right group. Some of the groups are in great shape and you can tell all of the members are there to work out hard and are focused on their “mission”. Other groups appear to be at the gym simply to hit on women, move some weights around, and talk about their plans for the weekend - those people all look exactly the same week after week… and that look is not the look of people that work out every day! I also see a lot of people “working out” while talking on the phone… I don’t understand this at all. I was doing warmups for decline bench press yesterday and I had a guy on either side of me both talking on headsets as they repped out. FOCUS ON THE MISSION! Get in, get it done, go about the rest of your day!

2) Listen to music! This is a necessity for me. Putting on my headphones and cranking up the music helps me to focus my mind on the task at hand. It blocks out the morons next to me talking on their cell phones, shuts down those thoughts in my head wondering how many of my patients are going to walk in late today, and it helps me find the zone of intensity I need to move past last workout’s numbers. I have a few songs that I reserve for my heaviest sets - and after years and years of listening to them when I need to enter “beast mode” I have almost a conditioned response to go lift something ridiculously heavy when I hear the music! I just have to be careful not to play certain songs when it wouldn’t be appropriate to throw weights around… but your results may vary.

3) Be a human forklift! That may not make sense, but here is what I mean: Years back I read an article written by Dante Trudel - the guy that invented the DC Training program - where he talked about using positive self talk to get yourself psyched up for what you are going to do. One of the things in that article that stuck with me was telling yourself (and I may be paraphrasing here a bit) “I am a human forklift, I am going to move this weight” and repeating it in your head until you believe it. Trust me - it works. Once you get yourself psyched up and are ready to go - you unrack that barbell with your new personal best weight on it and start repping out don’t start daydreaming! Focus on making that weight move, controlling it on the negative, exploding back up - picture that number in your head that you are going to beat because you are a machine!

4) Supplements can help! I find that some days I just can’t “flip the switch” when I get into the gym. I’m stuck in “sore, tired, old man mode” and can’t get myself into “logbook destroying beast mode” no matter how much I try. Days like that I find that a pre-workout supplement that has a bit of caffeine in it makes a world of difference! Caffeine has been used as a supplement for a very long time - mostly because it works. It helps with energy and focus as well as bumping up the metabolism and some studies show it does actually improve athletic performance. Caffeine is great for helping kick up your workouts whether you drink a cup of coffee or have a scoop of Beast Mode (that’s an actual supplement that I’m doing a long term review on right now… it is good) .

So the message here is you need to get yourself focused when you get to the gym. You are on a mission to destroy the numbers from your last workout. You need to flip the switch in your brain to get yourself into whatever your “beast mode” is. Turn yourself into the human forklift that can move those weights you didn’t believe were possible for a human to move. Turn yourself into a perpetual motion machine that can keep running for hours on end. Tell yourself you can do something that was once impossible for you - get your mind focused on it and your body will follow!

Have a great weekend everyone.

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