Exercise has both a physical and mental component, and when you invest in your health and well being you will gain benefit in both. Many people start with one goal, often to lose weight or change the appearance of their body, but the mental benefits become as important as the physical and often will become what keeps you committed to a healthy lifestyle.  The mental component to your workout starts well before you actually begin your exercise and can be as much a detriment then as a positive influence, but the main thing to remember is that you have full control over this.

No Excuses before and During Your Workout

Life happens, schedules get crazy, and there could be many reasons why you think you may need to miss your workout, but at the end of the day there will still be emails waiting for you and there is always more you could have done.  Don’t let other tasks take priority over time for your health and wellness.  There will be times when other things need to take precedence, and that is OK, but missing one workout of your few for the week from time to time is different than skipping them on a regular basis.  If you make the determination that the hour you give yourself to exercise is just as important to work and other priorities you will be less inclined to decide this is the easiest way to free up time in your schedule.

During a workout there can be another mental component many people have to overcome, and by resolving to make no excuses during your exercise you will absolutely benefit more from the time you put into it. In a perfect world we would all have slept eight hours a night, be fully nourished/hydrated, and not stressed, however that probably won’t be the case for most of us on a daily basis.  Do not let the imperfections of life deter your workout, you may be a little tired but still resolve to give the best effort you can.  To maximize the benefit of your workout it should be hard work, so by not allowing yourself to make excuses and putting your best foot forward you will achieve greater results.

Be Present and Focused

Getting to your workout is just the start, doing the work to the best of your ability is the real effort, and when you break your concentration throughout you are only adding more challenge to your achievements.  There are quite a few common ways we see people becoming distracted during their exercise and all of them are easy to avoid:

Using Your Smart Phone - You spend all day talking, texting, emailing and checking social media, you will survive if you don’t use your phone during your exercise session. The short breaks you take between sets should not be used to check your phone, as this will break your focus and can lead you to spend too much time on break. If your phone is also your music player and you can’t trust yourself to not use it during your workout then invest in an iPod or other MP3 player for the sake of your fitness. Simple solution, leave your smart phone in your locker or gym bag.

Socializing - It’s terrific when your exercise time is also a fun and social time with friends, but be mindful if your socializing is impacting your focus.  If conversations are going on too long or happening too often, causing you to let your heart rate rest more than a few percent you may want to work on limiting them.  Simple solution, suggest you continue a conversation later so that you can get back to your exercise or make plans quickly for a meet following your workout time.

Let Life Go - Thinking about your huge to do list or a situation from your workday can often be a big deterrent to an effective workout.  You will get the best results when you are focused and giving your best effort to each part of your workout, so you want to let go of everything else unrelated and be present.  Carry a small notebook with you and write down any item that comes to mind which may get you unfocused. You’ll have your list to refer back to and can return to thinking about it once you are done exercising.  An additional benefit of having a notebook with you is to write down your sets and accomplishments to refer back to in your future sessions to help you continue to push yourself above what you already achieved.

Ask for Help

No one person knows everything, not even those of us in the fitness profession will claim to have all the answers when it comes to exercising, so like any other aspect of your life, the best thing to do is to ask for help when you need it.  Whether there is an injury you are working through, a particular body part you want to focus on, a new exercise movement you want to learn, or any other time when you could benefit from a helping hand, all you really have to do is ask.  There are tons of resources available to you at any given time, and here are a couple simple suggestions for to find them.

Ask your trainer/coach - This is their job and they will be happy to give you some individualized attention in most cases.  If you workout in group fitness classes the instructor will gladly speak with you for a few minutes before or after a class.  If you belong to a gym you should not need to purchase a PT package just to ask a trainer a couple questions now and then.  Another option could be to ask a fellow exercise participant if you feel they are qualified to give you a proper response.  Just keep in mind that none of these should take place of consulting your doctor in relation to an injury or medical problem.

Look online - There are a myriad of fitness experts who have information published online for free that a quick Google search will guide you to. Many fitness professionals use social media to share information and interact with people, so they may be willing to answer some questions you have even if you have never met them. You will never lose anything by asking, but you could gain a lot!

Set Realistic Goals, Have Realistic Expectations

You will be more excited by your achievements and have more drive to continue on your health and wellness path if you are realistic about your expectations.  A new person to exercise who wants to lose weight may not lose 10 pounds in a week and may become deterred if they do not achieve this. If they get the proper assistance needed to outline their plan with a goal of losing 2-3 pounds per week initially and they meet these goals for the first few weeks they will feel empowered and find it easier to keep moving forward.  For a more experienced, fitness-focused person you know that you want to push yourself, work hard and succeed, so determining goals which are attainable will be your guiding light to meeting them and then moving on to the next goal, which may be even more of a challenge, but still within your reach.

While much of this information is common sense, the key is to remind yourself that you have what it takes to succeed, that you have resources available to you and that when you put your mind to it you can be unstoppable!

For more information on health and fitness or to contact Sandy find him on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/sandyspinteam

About Sandy Blumberg, ACE, AFAA:

Sandy Blumberg is a fitness professional currently residing in San Diego, CA.  An accomplished road cyclist, Sandy brings his passion for endurance training indoors as he presents various workshops on fitness and the fundamentals of cycling. He has ridden across the states of California, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Florida, on multi-day charity endurance bike rides, and donates his time as a rider coach, training clients for outdoor endeavors related to supporting local charities.   While specializing in heart rate training and indoor cycling group fitness classes, Sandy also works as a personal trainer and developed the 6-4-2 Rep training method.