Fitness Focus - 3 Top Tips To Eliminate Distractions and Zone In
When it comes to prescribing exercise there’s 4 general things involved, frequency, intensity, time (duration) and type. Otherwise known as the FITT principle. It gives you a pretty straightforward way to plan and organise a training session as well as your training schedule. Like Daryl Somers’ presenting career though, focus often gets left by the wayside. Dialling in on your focus is a powerful tool to utilise during your workouts. Especially if you have long term goals and progression in mind. Your favourite instagram hippy will often refer to this phenomenon as being ‘mindful with your movement’. In honour of calling a spade a spade, in this blog we’ll call it focus.
Why is focus important in fitness? It will help you ensure that the steps you take along the way are purposeful and will keep you on track. After all, a quote I found on google states - “You don’t get results by focusing on results. You get results by focusing on the actions that produce results”. From the devil in the details of the exercises you’re doing, through to the details of your programming, there’s a few ways that focus can help you bring success to your training.
1). Work on progressions
There’s nothing like doing it properly. Whether it’s learning to break down the components of a deadlift or understanding what it takes to successfully do a full body push up, progressions help you become more efficient. Poor form might help you lift heavy in the beginning but it won’t help you progress in the long run.
Need some help with progressions? Here’s two to get you started. Learning how to deadlift and how to get to full body push ups.
2). Remove distractions whilst working out
Dedicate your workout time to exactly that. Working out. Keep the phone in your pocket and take a break from social media during your training. Improving your attentional state during a workout will help you be present and give you the ability to concentrate on what you’re doing in the now.
Distracted Workouts via Spark
If you’re a parent like me, time to yourself with a training session is pure joy. If I’m not at work, being an uber driver for my kids sport, cooking dinner or folding laundry (we call our washing pile Mount Foldmore at our place) then I’m either asleep, on the toilet (also a place of parental solitude) or if I’m lucky, training.
Distracted workouts and letting your mind wander is a sure fire way to a crappy workout that often ends up being rushed with poor form. Set your intentions at the beginning of your workout and dedicate the time to yourself and your goals. Need to set some new goals? We’ve got that covered for you too.
3). Train focus like a muscle
Crazy as it sounds there is a way to train your focus. A few years ago I was the Wellness Manager at the Real Estate Agency Toop&Toop. On one of their sales retreats I was invited to do some speaking on wellness topics but also had the luxury of sitting in on the other guest speakers including the highly sought after sales coach Michael Sheargold. It was here that I was introduced to focus training… with an analogue clock. I still use that drill 6 years later, it actually helps my eldest daughter when she is a bit overwhelmed with homework.
What you’ll need - An analogue clock that has a second hand. You can actually use a phone stopwatch timer for this too.
Place the clock in front of you, clear your mind and focus on nothing but the second hand ticking around the clock for a minute. Hold your focus on the second hand and try as hard as you can to think about nothing but the seconds ticking away.
The first time I tried I failed miserably and could only last about 12 seconds before my mind wandered away from the second hand ticking away. So how can you actually make this exercise work for you? Practice it a couple of times a day and you will start to notice a change in your ability to concentrate and focus over time, no pun intended. Personally I sometimes use it to slow my mind down on a crazy day or before a workout to get in the zone.
At the end of the day, the skills required to do a workout require attention and development. As you get better you will also become more motivated which in turn will help with your end results. Give improving your focus a try and you might surprise yourself.
Simon has a Bachelor of Human Movement, is a certified FMS trainer and has worked in the fitness industry since 2003. Simon started his fitness journey as a trainer with iNform Health and Fitness before moving into commercial radio and then back into fitness with Bodyism in the United Kingdom and Australia. A career highlight was being one of Daisy Ridley's Personal Trainers on Star Wars IX - The Rise Of Skywalker.