Use your mind to sculpt a beautiful body.
What should you do when boredom or fatigue strikes during a workout? Tune in instead of checking out! Set workout intentions instead of New Year’s resolutions to stay focused and tap into your purpose for why you’re working out in the first place. Follow these helpful tips to stay centered during every single workout you face.
Zero in on Something You Can Connect to Emotionally
Unlike a long-term goal, setting intentions in a single workout session can lead to greater success. A long-term goal sounds something like this: “I want to lose 10 pounds in 30 days.” While this may be important, it certainly doesn’t evoke calming or happy emotions. Instead, it may result in more stress and impatience.
Experts suggest setting intentions can be a powerful tool in accomplishing your fitness goals. By setting intentions during each individual workout—think “get stronger” or “boost my energy”—you’ll establish new, short-term goals to remain centered and motivated during each session.
Create a Daily Mantra
Supercharge your motivation and set your intention by creating a daily mantra—a word or phrase to repeat to yourself daily to psych yourself up before and during your workout. The word or phrase you choose should reflect the purpose of each individual workout.
For example, if you’re about to take a yoga class, your mantra could reflect something like this: “calm my mind and center my body.” Or, if you’re taking a full-out HIIT class, your mantra might be “get in the best shape of my life.”
Keep repeating your mantra to yourself throughout each workout, especially during the really tough portions or when you catch your mind wandering. Ultimately, mantras help you stay focused.
According to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, a mantra helps hardwire your brain by connecting to a cue to continue a specific behavior—in this case, exercise—with the reward of achieving your intention.
Silence Your Inner Critic
Do you ever catch yourself saying “I can’t do this?” Negative self-talk distracts you from your workout’s intention. How can you accomplish the intentions you’ve set if you keep telling yourself you can’t? Don’t let negative chatter destroy your workout and prevent you from achieving your intention.
Instead of clearing your head or avoiding thinking altogether, simply watch your thoughts. Tune in to your inner voice and what it’s saying. When negativity floats into your thoughts, breathe deeply and refocus. Keeping your head in the game will save your mind from going off the rails and give you the edge you need to continue working toward your intention.
Sync Your Favorite Playlists to Your Workouts
Syncing your Spotify playlist to your workouts may seem like an odd way to increase your focus, especially since music can be a way to check out. However, research suggests that music increases the enjoyment of your workout by up to 28 percent.
Create a workout playlist that uses emotionally-charged messages that speak to your intention for that day. And when you’re starting to fatigue or get bored, crank up the volume to get back on track. Whatever you do, choose songs that feed your intention and keep you motivated.
Try Something New
There’s no better way to connect your brain and your body than by working out in new, unaccustomed ways. Try something new like hip-hop dance or salsa fusion. Tasks that are cognitively challenging can have huge brainpower benefits and help you tune in to the workout at hand.
The Bottom Line
The benefits of setting workout intentions transcend your one-hour Pilates class, strength training session or 10k run. Ultimately, you’re training your mind to focus and accomplish more. Over time, setting intentions will increase your sense of success, while enhancing your workout enjoyment. This creates a snowball effect that spills into the rest of your life. Use workout intentions to strengthen your mindful muscles for less stress and more happiness.
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