FOCUS! Make the most out of your training!

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Establishing your own workout routine with exercises you enjoy and sticking to it regularly is an excellent way to stay young and healthy, along with good overall lifestyle habits of course. That being said, we don’t necessarily want or have time to spend hours in the gym daily.

A common issue that I see in people training is that we don’t maximize ou efforts. That explains why we can get frustrated and it takes so long to lose that extra fat or we don’t get the results we are aiming for…

Forget the two-hour cardio! There is a much more effective and faster way to stay in shape, get rid of that extra fat and get toned. The key is to focus through every movement we make as we exercise, be conscious of which muscles should be working and engage them. Don’t just do the movement mecanically, ”feel” the movement! 

Focusing and squeezing consciously the right muscles while training is the best way to increase efficiency and avoid compensating with muscles that can reinforce poor posture. Remember that the way you train is the way you’re going to reinforce your body’s natural position in your everyday life so you want to prioritize a good posture at all times.

Whether you’re running, riding, circuit training or working out in a gym, you have to know (or get a trainer that does) which muscles should be engaged and which should remain relaxed (Please see my articles on Running and Spinning for essential tips on what to focus on performing those disciplines!).

For instance, while cycling, our upper body (belly button and up) should be completely relaxed (especially shoulders, arms and neck), otherwise, not only will you lose some of the energy you need tensing up useless muscles, but you also are proned to get neck injury of feel numbness in your arms. Another example is ABS exercises, don’t get satisfied with just doing the crunch movement, instead you want to SQUEEZE your abdominals every single time you get your upper body up, and also keep the muscle contraction as you go down. That means no swings! If you are performing a couple hundreds abs a day, chances are you’re doing them the easy and wrong way and you probably wouldn’t last 15 or 20 repetitions doing them as I am suggesting, and that goes for almost any training program. I’m not trying to insult anybody here, just letting you know that doing small repetitions the right proper way and squeezing consciously those muscles every single rep will increase your results to an extend you wouldn’t suspect and also save you a lot of time and boreness.

Control every single movement even if you’re working on explosiveness! Always make sure the right muscles are initiating the movement. For instance, if you’re doing squat jumps, engage your glutes and hamstrings which is where the explosion should start from. Don’t be lazy (in your body or mind) and penalize your back by compensating with it because you feel tired or your muscles burn. (It is ok that your muscles burn!) Not only will you get much faster results and get stronger but you will also avoid injury. If you are too tired to perform the exercise properly, you have two solutions… My favorite is to get back to a harder mental focus, breathe and regroup your vital energy to push through it even if it burns, visualize yourself getting stronger and performing the movement perfectly, focus on the form, not the pain (make sure you make the difference between muscles burning because they are working hard and pain from an injury!)! Or secondly, if you’re more conservative, stop, take a break, and start again when you’re ready and you know nothing will stop you.

Being focused means you concentrate only on yourself and the movement you are performing and remain calm in your thoughts as you are visualizing your body and muscles performing perfect form and getting stronger… Free your mind of any stressful thoughts and enjoy the time you are spending with yourself and be grateful to yourself that you are taking care of your body. 

To remain focused is the opposite of being lazy, and laziness is not just physical but mostly mental. Fight through it!

Breathe in a constant rythm, that’s how you bring oxygen to your muscles and keep them working, and it will also keep you calmer and avoid tensing muscles that should be relaxed.

And meditate! Yes, meditate while training… A form of meditation where you are breathing, celebrating your body and your soul, where you are focused and are aware of everything that is happening in your body, where you are visualizing how strong, lightful and proud you are, and that if you really decide it, nothing can stop you!

These tips are for training but also works in real life, having the right attitude could be what’s missing for a true feeling of fulfilment and happiness!

With love, happy training to all!

And don’t forget to remain focused!

Annie Cap

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