Best Workout Ever: Improve your training with two easy brain hacks

Young woman choosing right music for the morning run

Best Workout Ever: Improve your training with two easy brain hacks

Young woman choosing right music for the morning run

Are you bringing 100% of you to your training?

Do you ever find yourself dragging your feet to get in your workout? Are you having a hard time shifting gears from work or school mode into training mode? Do you ever feel like there are a million things you'd rather be doing (or “should” be doing) than going to practice?

One of the most profound and important things you could do to increase the quality of your physical training is to actually be there 100% mentally. Oftentimes, we aren't mentally present in the place we are physically in that moment; meaning - when you're at work you're thinking about the training you should be doing, and when you're training, you’re thinking about how you should be spending that time on work or with your family, etc. One way to immediately increase the quality of your training is to actually be where you are when you're there.

At times it can be challenging to feel motivated to get your training in at the exact moment in your schedule that allows for you to get that training in. Assuming the lack of motivation is not a sign that you're completely depleted and need a break; you might just need a little assistance getting yourself in the right mental state to get to work. The next time you need help shifting gears, try doing these two things for yourself:

 

Write down what's on your mind

Sometimes the thing that keeps you from being in the present moment is your running list of other things you could be doing while you're training or at practice. Before your next practice, try writing down all of the things on your mind in that moment that are keeping you from being 100% mentally present. Write down anything and everything on your mind on a 3x5 card, a little notebook, etc. As you're writing, imagine as if the weight of those concerns and tasks is actually being transferred to that piece of paper; as if that notebook or 3x5 card is literally holding onto it for you so you don’t have to carry it with you into practice. Know that it's being held safe and then give yourself permission to just go be absorbed in practice.

 

Listen to your favorite song

Once you've let go of the things that are keeping you from being in the present moment, your next act is to get yourself in the right emotional state that is optimal for your training.

To get motivated and excited to train, put on your headphones, and listen to your favorite upbeat song. Think about choosing a song that helps put you into whatever emotion you want to feel in that moment. In this scenario, you might consider songs that make you feel excited, inspired, happy, confident, etc. If you're having trouble choosing a song, think about a song that when you listen to it you can't help but dance. Listen to that song before you get started as part of your mental prep. Try a couple different songs over the next few weeks and see which one resonates the most.

There is a difference between using your training to improve and simply showing up, grudgingly, in order to check the next box off of your to-do list. Helping your mind shift gears, get into the present moment, and get excited to workout - is one of the most powerful things you can do to immediately improve the quality of your training.

 

 

Comments ( 4 )

  • John Greaser

    Greetings Carrie,

    Remaining mindful of the task at hand (goal) is always a challenge. I like the note card exercise that you propose for dealing with distractions (thoughts, to do list, etc.).

    Thanks.
    John

  • Sarah

    These two tips absolutely help! I am racing my final collegiate national MTB champs this weekend, and one of the best ways to stay focused is to write out all your concerns/worries, and then just go out and enjoy every minute of racing. If you get stuck on the “what-ifs” the whole time, your warm up, eating, digestive systems all starts to change. Acknowledge what you have bunched up in your mind, leave it on your bed, and dance to your favourite song before having the race of your life! ?? Love it!

  • My pleasure John! It certainly is a challenge and takes a consistent (and gentle) practice of bringing yourself back. And not judging when you catch yourself needing to bring your focus back to the present moment.

  • Writing it out can help with letting go and quelling all those fearful “what-ifs”. And I am a BUG fan of the 2-minute dance party :) Good luck with your race this weekend Sarah! Yes! Go enjoy every minute of it!

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