Mindfulness – By Coach Jason Yule
I have a question for you: when you are at the gym attending class, what goes through your head? Say you are in the middle of a workout or you are practicing your technique. What is your mind focused on? Are you thinking about the task at hand, or are you thinking about what you have going once you leave the gym? The reason I ask is because the topic of today’s blog is mindfulness – the concept of being totally present with your mind at a given moment.
As a trainer I see it all the time. Someone is working or practicing a skill and I can tell they aren’t totally focused. I tell them to do something, or how it should feel, but their movement doesn’t change at all. What’s happening is this athlete isn’t being mindful of his or her training. In other words, they aren’t thinking about what they are doing, they are just doing it to get it done.
SOMETIMES this is ok. We all get stressed out and just need to turn our mind off and unwind. But if this happens frequently or routinely, it’s something that needs to be addressed. Unfortunately, mindfulness (or lack thereof) is one of the leading causes of injuries. If you’ve been doing CrossFit for any length of time, you realize how many complicated movements we have. Most of them, specifically any ones involving weights, can lead to injury if you aren’t 100% dialed in with your technique, and if you aren’t present during your training session it is easy to let your technique break down.
Moreover, if you never focus at the task at hand, you’ll never improve at the rate you could be improving at. Sure you are still doing the exercise and might get a bit of improvement, but nowhere near as much improvement if you truly focus and give the task 100% of your mind. A big part of what we do has to do with neurological adaptation, which is your brain learning and remembering a particular movement. The moment you decide to start focusing 100% is when your brain truly grabs on to whatever you are practicing. If you are just going through the motions, the neurological adaptation takes much longer. Once you learn to be present in your training, and your brain figures a movement out, then you can start to focus on the subtle points of performance and take your game to the next level.
And remember, this concept of mindfulness applies to everything, even outside of the gym. Be present when you are at work, when you are with friends and family, or when you are reading a book. Truly give your full attention to whatever you are doing because it’s amazing how much improvement you’ll notice when you give it the proper focus. Actually listen to what people are saying when they talk to you. Actually read and think about the words of a book when you are reading it. We are capable of so much, but only if we are being focused and present.