Life is busy. And hectic. And crazy. Our to-do lists are usually a mile long and as Mothers, that list seems to get longer, not shorter, as the day goes on. Trust me when I tell you that I understand that life is busy. I understand that when I ask you to fit in your workout, you often roll your eyes and think “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ll get to that somewhere between work, the grocery store, Little Jimmy’s dentist appointment, cleaning the toilet and throwing food at my kids”.
Life is busy. But, for those of you who have figured out how to fit it in, I want you to ask yourself if you’re really present during your workout. I know when I train my Hot Mamas I can look around at my group and see who is actively present in their workout and who is making lists in their head about all the things they need to do. I get it, you’re a multi-tasker. You can burpee and solve Little Jimmy’s t-ball/soccer/hockey practice schedule conflicts. You can Tabata and meal plan for the week. Sprints? Yes please, And, while you do that, why don’t you just go ahead and finish that marketing plan you need to get done by tomorrow.
Oh yes, I see it in your workouts and, Mamas, you need to get out of your heads and get present.
Nerd alert: Did you know that by not being present during your workouts, you’re doing your body a great disservice? It all comes down to satisfaction. In a research study in 2016, researchers found that those who were mindful during their workouts were more satisfied with exercise and would typically sustain exercise compared to those who were not mindful.
Basically, if you’re present during your workout you’re more likely to feel satisfied with your workout and continue to get your buns out there and get active.
How can you stay present?
I’ve recently started using a “Power Word or Phrase” in my own workouts and with the women I train. Before you start working out, choose a word or phrase that inspires you to connect to your workout and snaps you back to what you’re doing. Your power word or phrase should motivate you to push a little more, dig a little deeper and it should bring you back to the present, sweat-soaked moment.
The key? Remind yourself to use your power word or phrase. If you find your mind shifting over to what you need to get done, say your word or phrase. Say it out loud or say it in your mind, it doesn’t matter. But focus on it until you’re back to being present in your workout.
I have my participants write their word on a sticker and put in on the front of their shirts so if I see them drifting I’ll yell their word or phrase at them and remind them to be present, in the moment, even if they don’t particularly want to be present during a minute of burpees.
Benefits of staying present during your workout
- First and foremost, when you’re present you can help prevent injury. Many times injuries happen when we’re not paying attention, so being mindful as you workout can help decrease your chance of rolling an ankle, tripping, etc.
- Exercise can actually feel good and being mindful of how your body is responding can help you remember why you’re working out in the first place. By staying present and being in your body, by feeling the exercises, you’ll start to notice strength gains, changes in your cardio capabilities and improvements in your overall health and well-being. It can be incredibly empowering and may help you stick to your workout plan.
- Being present during your workout helps you focus and gives you a purpose. Working out with a purpose also helps with commitment throughout the workout. Focus on the block of exercises you need to do, focus on the muscle group you’re working. If you focus on the purpose of different parts of your workout, you’ll not only be able to push a little harder, but you’ll be more likely to finish the workout feeling stronger and more capable.
- Being present and mindful of your body during your workout will help you with your posture and form. I’ve seen a lot of people snap back to their workouts after their mind wandered and they’ll stand taller, adjust their feet, engage their core. Being present helps reminds you of how your body is positioned right here, right now.
- Finally, there are numerous research studies that conclude that by thinking about a muscle as it does the work results in greater strength increases than just going through the motions. So, if you’re going to take the time to workout, you might as well make it as effective as possible.
Get out and get active today! Choose a power word or phrase and see how it effects the quality of your workout. Be present and mindful as you workout. You’ve dedicated your precious time to working out and by choosing a power word or phrase, by being present and mindful, you’re going to help ensure the time you’ve dedicated to your health and fitness is the most effective time possible. And really, who doesn’t love efficiency?!
Off you go!