Distractions Are the Enemy
Posted October 14, 2022 by Matthew Romans
Our current culture places an emphasis on multitasking, accessibility, and near-constant stimulation. In spite of rising inflation and an uncertain economy, we live in a period of relative abundance compared to a few generations ago. Pretty much anything you need (or really don't need) is available with just the click of a button on a smartphone or other electronic device. Text messages, video conferencing, email, and the ability to work from home mean that we are available 24 hours a day. If we allow it, the temptations and constant accessibility can get in the way of accomplishing meaningful tasks. The repeated ping of our phone makes finishing that school assignment, business proposal, or blog article much more difficult and time consuming, since our attention and focus are going in several different directions. Simply put, distractions are the enemy of a meaningful experience!
I have talked at length in previous articles about the commercial gym as a pernicious environment with lots of nonsensical behavior being passed off as exercise. It can be great for entertainment value but harmful to anyone looking to participate in a quality metabolic experience. There is a stark contrast between the commercial gym environment and the setting at Total Results. Commercial gyms are a zoo; Total Results is the ideal exercise environment. Our studio is quiet, private, and clinically controlled, while gyms are chaotic. Only one client is in our exercise room at a time, so you don't have to worry about crowds or having to wait for a certain machine. There are no mirrors, music, or bright lights to distract your attention; our clinical surroundings enable you to achieve a Zen-like focus on what is important - your workout. What truly matters is for us to help you to achieve a safe and effective exercise stimulus so that you can achieve the best results in the least amount of time.
That being said, even in spite of our best efforts at eliminating external sources of impediment, distractions can arise from within you. Things happen in life, and we understand that curveballs can be thrown your way from time to time, but there are a few proactive ways that you can work to keep potential sources of distraction at bay.
Silence your phone. Nothing can break your concentration like a ringing phone during a workout. It is distracting for both the client and for the instructor. Once that focus is taken away, it is difficult to regain. Not only does it impede the effectiveness of the workout, it is also a safety consideration. Please put your phone on mute before entering the workout area.
Don't confuse the assumed objective with the real objective. This is a common mistake made by novice clients, who erroneously believe that the goal of exercise is to complete as many repetitions as possible with the heaviest weight one can handle. It is an incorrect mindset and can cause you to take liberties with form, which is never a good idea. The main objective of proper exercise is thorough inroad, not achieving a certain time under load (TUL). Concentrate on form and effort, which will lead to the ideal outcome.
Minimize talking. I realize that this may sound rude or harsh, but exercise is not a social event. You cannot concentrate on your workout if you are talking, and talking increases the risk for injury. In addition, this will decrease the effectiveness of your workout due to a lack of focus on what's important. When I was a kid, I tried to convince my mother that I could do my homework properly while the TV was on. She was right, I couldn't. I am always happy to chat with clients before and/or after a workout, but during a workout the talking should pertain strictly to exercise and be largely one-sided.
Don't worry about the weight stack. Clients often get too wrapped up in how much weight they are lifting, which is common on the Leg Press because it's the heaviest weight most people will use. This can cause a mental block, but on certain exercises like the Lumbar Extension and Leg Curl (where the weight stack is located on the side of the machine) looking at the stack violates neutral head position. Don't focus on what you're lifting, but rather how you're lifting it. I will typically wait until after the workout is finished to tell a client if I have raised their weight on a particular movement.
Use just enough instruction. This is more directed toward the instructor that is supervising the workout, but it has bearing on the client. Giving cues or commands too frequently during an exercise can be a distraction too. I have been guilty of this in the past; in fact, when I was preparing for my practical examination many years ago, my master instructor had to tell me several times to "stop babbling." I regularly remind myself to be economical with my instructions. These teaching points need to be timely and used sparingly; in an ideal scenario I would say very little, or only what is necessary to guide the client through the exercise process. The client's goal should be to get me to shut up, because the less I talk the better the client's performance.
What separates Total Results from other facilities is our respect for your privacy, and also a thorough understanding of the need for total concentration and focus on the task at hand. The instructor and the client must work together to achieve this, and both parties play a critical role in the process. Walk in for your session with the mindset that you are prepared to give 100 percent effort and attention to your workout, and that nothing else matters for the next 20 minutes of your day. Leave all the other distractions outside the studio door. Anything that needs to be addressed can wait until your workout is in the rearview mirror.