When talking about fitness and working out, we often hear people talk about using exercise as a way to zone out. Many people like to turn off their brains, seemingly escaping from the stress of their daily lives. Some people like to put in headphones and pedal away on a stationary bike, or walk on a treadmill positioned right in front of a television to make the time go by quickly. I even remember one gym we attended many years back that had a cardio room with a movie theatre sized screen! It was easy to knock out an hour or more of cardio when your favorite action hero was distracting you from the monotony of the elliptical.
While we do agree that working out can be a great tool for clearing your mind, at OPEX Franklin and all of our OPEX Gyms, we encourage our clients to zone ‘in’, rather than ‘out’. Why is that?
Zoning out can be problematic for a number of reasons:
- When you switch off your brain, silly accidents and injuries can happen.
- When you’re not focusing on your workout with the right intent, you won’t get optimal results.
- When you’re not connected to why you’re doing what you’re doing, it can be hard to stay motivated and it becomes easy to make excuses to skip an exercise or a session.
Zoning in, on the other hand, will maximize your results in the gym, while still affording you the mental clarity and enjoyment that come from losing yourself in your workout.
We encourage our clients to zone in by using deliberate practice when they are training. This will mean something different for everyone and for each session, but broadly, it means to keep the intent of the workout at the front of your mind as you do it.
OPEX coaches are experts at communicating this intent to their clients through consultations, TrueCoach notes (the app we use to deliver daily your daily program) and on the floor, so the purpose of the workout is always clear. And since your coach knows and understands your goals and purpose for training, you can rest assure that the program your coach has designed for you is 100% aligned with your overall, bigger intention.
An example of deliberate practice is as follows. John’s coach has designed a workout to help him develop his upper back muscles. When doing dumbbell rows and pull-ups, John focuses on squeezing his armpits and keeping his shoulders away from his ears, as directed by his coach.
By zoning in on his workout, John experiences a number of benefits.
- By moving mindfully, John uses the correct muscles so that he can fix muscular imbalances his coach found during the assessment process, and get the best results from his time in the gym.
- John knows that his workout is designed specifically to help him reach his goals of better posture and overcoming nagging neck pain (plus he’ll look jacked for the summer!), so he never skips a day and stays inspired.
- Rather than mindlessly rushing through his sets and reps, John’s deliberate practice means he experiences self discovery every time he trains. He discovers he has more control from one session to the next, notices new sensations and feels new muscles working. This makes him feel more connected to his body.
- By really focusing on his quality of movement, John’s mind is clear from his to-do list at work and home, and he leaves the gym feeling relaxed.
It’s important to have a professional coach assess you, design your workout and watch you move, but for the best results and longevity, you need to connect with the purpose and intent of your training too. That’s what makes the OPEX coach-client relationship so special– your coach will educate you on the why, so that you can zone in, take ownership of your training, and enjoy the process of your fitness journey.