As my members walk through the door I always wonder what is on their mind before they begin the workout for that day. Are they thinking about all the things they have to do once their workout is over or what happened right before they stepped in the gym? Or maybe they are thinking about all the fun food they indulged in over the weekend and how this workout will hopefully burn it off? Are they thinking they hope this workout helps them reach their weight loss goal? Or will today’s workout make their body sore or toned? Maybe some are thinking about all the complaints they have about their body and how this workout will rid them of those. Or maybe they aren’t thinking about anything in particular at all.
Here’s the thing…most of us rarely make the time or effort to check in with ourselves. We go through the motions of our day and scheduled activities without a second thought. We probably don’t stop to wonder why we are working out on a particular day or why we haven’t gotten to the gym in a while. When we do think of our gym time or lack their of most people are beating themselves up for being lazy, not fit enough, etc. Stopping for a moment and pondering what makes us feel good and how to be better at the things that make us feel good is probably not happening as often as it should.
What’s the point of all this rambling? To get you to stop for a moment and think about why you do what you do when it comes to exercise, working out, training. To piggyback off my recent post “Where’s your head at?” I want to encourage everyone to take the best pre-workout available on the market…check-in & set an intention!
We all need to pause and check in with ourselves before we begin our workout of the day. We are all guilty, myself included, of just jumping right into it and not giving our intentions much thought. We get a “good workout” and go on with our day. We don’t set an intention or reflect on the experience. We aren’t in touch with what we are doing. We just do and are disconnected from the experience and the growth we can gain from it.
If you stop for just a moment and think “why am I training today and what do I want to focus on” it can give your time in the gym all new meaning along with producing greater results. Once we are in touch with our purpose and body we have better focus, better performance and an overall better experience.
Sometimes I will note in my training log before I start my weight lifting workout of the day that I feel tired, sore, etc., but I at times forget to check in with myself about what I want to accomplish, focus on, or work towards in that session. The times I do hone in on my purpose I get a better workout, I can lift more effectively, sometimes add some load and feel stronger. My mind is right; it’s in the game. I am connected to the experience and can accomplish what I set out to do in that session.
We aren’t talking grand goals here; we are talking small daily areas of focus (that most likely are part of a larger goal). I may have a goal to hit a certain PR on my deadlift, but I can’t accomplish that in one day, so I set a daily intention that helps move me towards that goal. My intention might be to focus on my grip, how set I keep my shoulder blades, my bar position, breathing, etc. In a day I can accomplish my intention not my PR.
This is why focusing on weight loss every day becomes defeating. If your goal is to lose 5, 10, 30 pounds….um you can’t do that in one day nor does focusing on that set your mind up to train in a way that’s advantageous to your health and performance. What you can do in a training session is focus on improving the way you do a certain lift, your boxing technique, breathing, connection with your teammates and all of those things lead to better health and fitness. Weight loss and body focus needs to be on the back burner while you set daily intentions to become stronger, move better and improve your performance.
Whether you want to achieve a numbered goal and you want to build strength, endurance, flexibility, confidence or friendships from your training…set your workout intention so you have a focus during your training that will guide you. Don’t waste your time worrying about how many calories you must burn or if you got sweaty enough, focus on things that will propel you forward in life!
So next time you step into the gym and before you start your workout…ask yourself “What is my intention for today’s workout?”. That is the best pre-workout you can take!
Need help figuring out how to set an intention for your workouts and more? Check out this great article!
Jessica Storch, MA is a boxing coach, personal trainer, health coach and owner of Knockout Women's Boxing Club in Westmont, IL. Her mission is to empower women to be their best through the sport of boxing. She promotes a health focused mentality and encourages women to let go of the diet mentality. Jessica believes weight loss doesn't equal health and works with women to support them in building healthy lifestyles and happy lives.