Ambition vs. Reality: 7 Steps To Improve Focus During Workouts.
By Stuart Carter, Men’s Health Coach & Head Trainer, The Fit Father Project
In addition, the risk of serious illnesses, such as coronary or respiratory disease and even diabetes drops when you exercise regularly.
That’s great if you are looking for a reason to start exercising.
But, if like me, you have been doing it for a while, the real challenge is staying focused and getting the most out of your workout.
Your ambition may be to lose 20 pounds of fat, or to gain 20 pounds of muscle. You may even be looking to get your body into shape for a special occasion.
There are many reasons why you will have developed this ambition and it’s important to keep this in mind while undertaking any exercise program.
Health scares and the desire to run with your children (or faster than them) is a common reason why men over 40 feel the urge to get in shape.
This may be the start of your ambition, but as you know, once you start to see and feel the improvements happening in your body, your ambitions may well evolve.
Exercise is addictive and can actually be fun; especially when you see the right results.
Despite all the best intentions and an ambition that you’re eager to fulfil, the reality is that most people don’t just breeze through achieving their ambition at the first attempt.
In fact, most people will get side-tracked with family arrangements, household chores, work commitments and a whole host of other things.
This is perfectly normal and is not something to beat yourself up about.
What will set you apart from those that just quit, will be your ability to refocus, get back on track and see things through to a satisfactory end.
In this article, I will show you 7 simple steps that will invigorate you and improve your focus; offering you the opportunity to dramatically improve your results.
The Answer – Your 7 Steps To Improve Focus
Each of the following 7 steps will help you to focus on the exercise in hand.
The key aims of these steps are to ensure you avoid distractions and focus on why you are exercising.
You don’t need to complete these in the order listed, but to get the best possible improvement in your focus, it’s advisable to build all of them into your workout.
In this section, I will share the steps you need to take and a practical tip on how you can implement them successfully.
Let’s get started…
Step #1 – Use Visualization Techniques
There are many bodybuilders and athletes who use visualization as a tool to improve focus and achieve the right results.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is an excellent example of how successful visualization can be. Visualize by trying the below:
- Choose the body image you want.
- Before you start every exercise close your eyes for a moment and visualize your body as you want it to be.
- Then imagine how the exercise you are about to do will work your body to help you achieve this result.
Step #2 – Set Yourself Specific Goals
The obvious follow on from visualization, is to set goals.
This is applicable to every walk of life but can really transform your focus during a workout.
- Make your goal exercise specific; for example if you are doing 50 pound dumbell deadlifts then commit to doing one set at 55 pounds.
- Evaluate and adjust. One set becomes two; then three. Once you hit all three, you can increase your weight again.
- Focus on the small goal, not your overall goal. That will take care of itself as you achieve your smaller goals.
Step #3 – Set A Scheduled Time
One thing is certain, you must be dedicated to your workout. This means setting a time in your schedule and sticking to it.
The Fit Father Project can help you with a 24-min workout program if your time is particularly limited.
- Think about when you have the most energy and free time during the day. It may mean giving up your favorite television program.
- Commit to it. Set a reminder on your phone, write it in your diary or even post it on the fridge.
- Tell your partner. You’ll be surprised at how they can push you, simply by asking you why you’re not completing your routine.
- Evaluate your time. Choosing a time slot does not mean it’s the best one. Regularly evaluate and change times if necessary.
Step #4 – Pre-Plan Each Workout
It can be easy to have a workout planned, then hit the gym and just end up going through the motions.
You might get to know others that are working out and decide to have a quick chat with them.
The result of this interruption is a lack of focus on what you are doing and time wasted.
Improve focus by following this plan:
- Choose what workout you will do.
- Decide what time you have for your workout.
- Focus purely on your workout.
- Start and do not stop until you have completed your workout.
Of course, I don’t want you to become an anti-social asshole, but keeping your focus on your workout, during your workout, will be beneficial.
If others are there to get the best from their workout, they’ll understand.
Step #5 – Focus on Your Form
During your workout, you can strengthen your concentration by also focusing on your form.
- Study the correct form for each exercise in your workout. Make notes next to it if you need to.
- Focus on your body. Make sure it’s in the right position and muscles are being moved correctly.
- If possible complete the exercises in front of the mirror. This will help to ensure you’re in the right position.
Step #6 – Log Your Workouts
You should start to log your exercise routine. This is not just the number of reps or the time it took to complete your 5 mile run.
You need to record the parts you struggled with the most and any other issues you feel while exercising.
- Select an app, or pen and paper to record your exercise and specific issues.
- Log the date, time and any unique features; such as running in the rain.
- Keep notes on the parts of the exercise that were hardest and why.
- Review after your workout.
When you evaluate your results you will probably see a trend that you can learn from and adjust.
If it’s beneficial, you can re-enter the logged details into your computer at home to create a long term log.
Step #7 – Compete With a Friend or Partner
Having a partner is a great part of successful training. A partner makes you accountable for your routine. They will want to know why you didn’t complete your workout.
They can also point out when your form is suffering and push you to complete the entire workout, even when you feel drained.
- Pick a friend or your partner who has expressed an interest in exercise.
- Assess their fitness level and yours.
- Set a goal for both of you to achieve; these can be diferent if your fitness levels are different.
- Aim to reach it before your friend; your honor is at stake!
It should be noted that if you are unable to locate a suitable friend you can rely on your fitness partners here at the Fit Father Project.
Everyone here is eager to help you improve focus and be the best you can.
The best way to improve focus is to make yourself accountable for your actions. A partner can help with this… but, if this is not an option you can do it yourself.
You simply need to remind yourself that the only person who suffers if you don’t have the correct form or you don’t finish your set; is yourself.
No one else need ever know that you didn’t complete your workout, but you will; and it’s that which will haunt you throughout the day.
Providing you realize that your workout routine is for your benefit first, you’ll be able to integrate these steps into your workout.
The result is more than just the ability to improve focus; you will see positive results which can be particularly rewarding if you’re stuck on a plateau.
I appreciate you reading this article and if you found it useful, please share it with anyone else you think it would help.
How Can I Share?
We have social media buttons on the left and below. Just click them to share via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
Until next time, I hope this has given you everything you need to improve your focus and get more from each workout.
Your new friend & health coach,
Head Training Staff, The Fit Father Project
Brotherhood Nickname: “The Fit Brit”
Bragging Rights: 16 Years in the fitness industry, Author of ‘The Easy Fitness Guide’, Father of 4 boys and Husband to a Venezuelan beauty.
*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info to help you improve focus.