• Jen McKenzie

When was the last time you took your workout into your own hands?


Yesterday we took a look at the different types of attention from Robert Nideffer's Theory of Attention. You can recap that theory here. Nideffer's Theory of Attention states that different tasks make heavier demands on types of attention. We each have a preferred attention style and regardless of its effectiveness in a particular moment, we default to that style. There are times when it is appropriate to be aware of your environment and times when you might perform better when focused on the execution of your plan, of your movement. One step toward understanding what areas of attention you can practice (yes, practice) in regards to your mental game and training, is to become more cognizant of what you're already thinking and saying to yourself. Whether you plan on coming to the clinic or not, grab a pen and paper and take it with you to the gym the next time you workout. Think about the following questions and write down your reflections. There is a LOT of power in SEEING what you're thinking written down on a piece of paper staring back at you or HEARING yourself say it out loud. Before you walk into the gym, what are you thinking about? Are you engrossed in a work task that didn't get finished? Are you thinking about what you're going to have for dinner? Are you worried about the workout? Once you walk in the gym, are you changing out of work clothes and into your exercise gear? Are you mobilizing? Are you chatting? What are you chatting about? Are you looking for a time or a score on the whiteboard to try and beat? Are you asking for some specific direction from the coach? Whatever it is that you're focusing on, ask yourself this: Is this in line with why I'm at the gym today? There is no one right answer. Your reasons for coming into the gym are your own, but they run deep. They run deeper than what you might even realize from a day to day basis and if you stop to ask yourself a couple of questions, not just once but regularly, your own answers might surprise you. What are you saying to yourself during the warmup? Heck, what are you saying OUT LOUD in the warm up? You aren't the only one that hears your thoughts. Your thoughts become your actions and words which absolutely have an impact on the space around you and those in it. Once the workout begins, do you have a plan? Do you have a backup plan? Are you counting Joe Bob's reps from across the room because you want to stay ahead of him? Do you feel frustrated when someone else gets ahead of you? Why are you focusing on this other person's performance? No, seriously, is this in line with why you are at the gym today? Again, there is no one right answer. After the workout, what are you thinking about? What does your breathing sound like? Feel like? How are you positioning your body? Yes, you are positioning your body a certain way. It's your body, you have control over it. Are you smiling? Lying on the ground? Walking around outside? High-fiving the rest of the class? Are you beating yourself up over how the workout went? What went well? What could you have improved upon? Observe. Collect data. Write it down. This works best as close to finishing the workout and class as possible. If you drive home, cook dinner, tuck in the kids, shower and then reflect, your focus has shifted. Observe, collect data objectively, and write it down in the gym, in a quiet place outside, or in your car before you leave. Try to avoid censoring yourself and be honest. Write it down and bring it to the clinic tomorrow or Saturday. We are only just peeking into the rabbit hole and we will discuss methods of refining your focus together.

Your final question: When was the last time you took your workout into your own hands?

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