Located in Sterling, VA (703) 421-1200

August 2021

Mental Focus

Improving one's ability to focus is a critical life skill that can pay dividends in terms of education, job performance, reading comprehension, and in a whole host of other endeavors. In our current fast-paced world, it seems as though we are continuously overwhelmed with stimuli, making it difficult to maintain concentration on any one thing for more than a few seconds. Sometimes, in order to sharpen mental focus one must change their mindset and reassess their priorities. This requires maturity, honesty, and discipline, and while it is not easy, it can be done. When it comes to exercise, proper mental focus can be the difference between safety and injury, and it can also be the difference between an average workout and an exceptional workout.

Many novice Total Results clients come to us after having performed several different workout regimens over the years. Sometimes a change in thinking is required, and they must unlearn certain things that they have accepted as truths. It is often difficult for new clients to initially grasp the real objective of exercise, which is muscular inroad (fatigue). Most of us will tend to base our progress on how much weight we lift or how many repetitions we complete, as our society has a habit of equating "more" with "better." This is not the case. The true measurement of how well one performed on an exercise is how thoroughly the muscular structures (and the entire body) have been inroaded, because that is the stimulus that the body requires in order to stimulate physical improvements. This is where mental focus becomes very important. Excellent form is the key to maximizing muscular loading, and patiently executed turnarounds, proper speed and pace, and minimizing form discrepancies requires attention to detail, which can only come with good mental focus.

How can you improve your mental focus? First, it is important to understand that the fear of muscular discomfort is actually far worse than what is truly experienced at muscular failure. We often make a mountain out of a molehill. Yes, a Total Results workout is often uncomfortable and not fun, particularly if you train very intensely, but there are many things in life that you have or likely will experience that are far more unpleasant (helping a friend or family member move comes to mind). Try shutting everything else out of your mind for the next twenty minutes, and remind yourself while you are likely to experience muscular discomfort, it is completely different from injurious pain, and you are in a completely safe environment. Remind yourself of what you are here to accomplish (systemic inroad); take pride in the journey, and in knowing that you are about to undertake something that most people are not even aware of. Make it a point to perfect each individual repetition; do not allow fatigue or exertional discomfort alter your form or diminish attention to detail. When the burning of your muscles reaches its apex, concentrate on your breathing. This will encourage you to stay in the game long after most people would quit, and it helps to take your mind off of the muscular discomfort. Finally, celebrate the accomplishment of completing a demanding task, and know in your mind that you have achieved victory.

If you visualize success ahead of time, it will be that much easier to achieve. Every workout cannot be a personal best, but each time you walk out of our studio you are taking another step toward something great. There will be days when you feel that your performance was subpar, but if you give the best effort you are capable of giving, you always win. Follow the blueprint; it all starts between the ears.

Posted August 12, 2021 by Matthew Romans