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Being mindful in the gym

Today I am going to talk about something that is maybe slightly off topic… mindfulness.

You may have already heard of the principles of mindfulness, but if you haven’t here’s a quick summary;

Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. (BeMindful.co.uk)

Now don’t panic I’m not about to go off into too much of a babbling monologue of philosophy, but I am going to show you how mindfulness can be applied to help you achieve your fitness goals.

Starting right now, not tomorrow

Mindfulness and its techniques can be really useful if you struggle to stay motivated and concentrate on the here and now. We can apply its principles to the gym, exercise and motivation.

We’re often so worried about what we need to do later, tomorrow, next week, by summer, that we forget that the actions that we take right now are our life.

In a world of work, traffic, people, stress and responsibilities how often do you take to just breathe?

Breathing techniques

If you’re struggling to get motivated to hit the gym try this first.

  1. Sit in a position you find comfortable
  2. Take in a breath and observe the sensation
  3. Feel your chest rise and fall
  4. Listen to the sound of your inhalation and exhalation
  5. Clear your mind of thoughts, concentrate on you, your body and that present moment
  6. Take a few moments to reflect and be calm

Stop thinking and start doing

When you’re in a gym or exercising it’s quite easy to slip into negative thoughts of self consciousness.

“What if I’m doing it wrong”
“What if they’re watching me”
“They’re doing it different, they must be right”

The trick here is to zone into yourself and your body, ignore everything else in that room. Think about;

  • The muscles you are using
  • The limbs you are moving
  • How your body is achieving those things

You might have heard this referred to as the mind-muscle connection. If you can master this you will find your gym sessions are far more focused.

What are you doing and why

You never really think about doing the washing up, you just do it, and joyfully let your mind wander elsewhere. Which is fine, because really the washing up is a mundane task and it doesn’t much require focus to achieve the end goal! But when you’re training for your body you need to keep your mind on track.

If you’re working out in the gym and you’re thinking about what Burt over there is doing, you’re not thinking about what you are doing. If you’re thinking about the pizza you’re having in two days, you’re not thinking about how you’re working on your range of motion. Try to keep yourself in the moment.

Ask yourself, why am I doing this? And constantly remind yourself, that at this present moment you are doing it for you! And that you deserve your own full attention…

Amy-Kate 🙂

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