There is definitely is very real link between the mind and body when it comes to working out. You will see different people do many things as they prepare for sets in the gym. Some make weird animal grunting noises. Others take it to the extreme and slap themselves or pound a fist to their chest. Certain people think about things that have upset them during the day and try to create anger and rage to channel into the lift.
But is this approach productive or counterproductive to working out?
Do you really think that focusing on negative thoughts, trying to inspire anger, or working yourself into a frothing rage from grunting or groaning truly can make you stronger? Maybe you have read too many Hulk comics.
The Cluttered Mind
Thinking about things that make you mad is one of the worst things you can do at the gym. In fact thinking about anything else other than the task at hand is always a bad idea. There is a definitive mind and muscle connection. When you are thinking about other issues such as the guy that cut you off in traffic or how mad your boss made you at work, the focus is not on the workout.
While it might give you a temporary burst for a rep or two, over the course of the workout it will be detrimental. More than likely after your set is over the mind will wander, either consciously or subconsciously, to that moment again. Using things outside of the gym as motivation tends to bring those things into the gym which then throws off our rhythm and focus. Pacing around and muttering is not proper preperation.
The Positive Mind
Many great athletes have spoken about the idea of a positive and focused mind being a key to their success. When you are doing something with your body you need to engage your mind 100% if you want to obtain the best results. Why hold back?
A positive mind starts before you even get to the gym. Before your workout, think about the workout itself. Think about how great it is going to feel working your muscles and accomplishing your goals. Let your mind remember that great pump from the last workout or how good you look in the mirror as a reminder of success.
Before you go into the gym remind yourself why you are there and what you will accomplish. Go over quickly the game plan for the day including exercises, sets, and even rep ranges. Then remember to be happy because you are doing something you enjoy. You want to be here, you want to do this, and you are going to take another step forward towards your goal.
Then take that mindset into the gym. When doing each set focus on the form and feel of your muscles. Give it everything you have mentally and physically. Between sets focus on the next set or exercise and how you are going to do on it. Don’t get distracted by what’s on TV or other things. If you do just remember to refocus before you start another set. Remember why you are there and what the goal is. Then make it happen!
The Bottom Line
Everyone has the ability to focus and work hard without tricking themselves. But much like learning how to properly workout, learning how to properly focus does take practice. But with practice comes experience and then mastery of a tool that will pay dividends in many areas aside from the gym over the course of your life; I’m positive.