How many times have you heard yourself saying things like "turning up to the gym is half the battle" or "doing something is better than doing nothing"? Both statements are true in so far as they can motivate us to get up and do some exercise. It's also true however that beyond the first few weeks of a new workout, when you tend to see dramatic improvements no matter what, we need a bit more structure, intention and purpose in order to see results.
That means actively putting our mind where our muscle is.
Most of us are not overly enamoured with the thought of going to the gym. It is another task on our "to do" list every week, and we approach it with about as much enthusiasm as we do our morning commute - understandable given that successful exercise can be repetitive and tedious.
And here's the irony - if you don't give your exercise the positive focus and attention it deserves, we are highly unlikely to get a return on our time invested in the gym.
If we want results we need to give our workout as much focus as we do time, which means clearing our minds of everything else other than the task at hand. We need to think of exercise as nourishment for our muscles and mind, rather than an inconvenience and something that we have to endure. Be mindful of the muscles we are working and our technique is a hugely important, but often ignored in exercise.
Practicing being "present" during a workout might seem a bit over the top, especially if you are the kind of person who just likes to get in and get it done, but engaging the mind and body fully and noticing improvements is perhaps the biggest way to enhance your results and stay motivated.
We all want the most from our time spent exercising, and what we get out will be a direct reflection of what we put in. But remember, it's not just talking about time spent here, it is also about intention, energy and focus. If we approach exercise half-heartedly and treat it as a tick box exercise, we should expect half-hearted results. If on the other hand we approach it with purpose we can expect to see significant and continual improvements.
Be clear about your goals or purpose and focus your mind.
Turn your phone off, clear your mind, as best you can, and turn your attention to your overall goal and the individual task at hand. Your body, and mind, will thank you for it.