Exercising is often a difficult task for most people. The major challenge is that it's hard to stay focused when you're bored and not feeling the burn.
You may find yourself preoccupied with thoughts of what you have to do after your workout or other things that are on your mind.
It’s common to struggle with focusing on the task at hand if you’re easily distracted by other thoughts. Maybe it's everything else going on around you, like traffic sounds or other people working out nearby. Either way, we’re here to help.
We’ll give you helpful tips and tricks about how to stay in the zone while exercising, to help you make the most out of your workout time.
Set Definite Workout Goals
People work out for a variety of reasons. What are yours?
You must have a definite goal you’d like to achieve by working out. Is it to keep fit? Lose weight? Muscle gain? Strength train? The first step to success is defining what that looks like for you. Goal setting helps you create habits geared towards achieving them.
Set your body goals to be achieved in a specific period of time. The timing will help keep your focus when exercising by giving you a sense of direction, something to look forward to, and a scale to measure yourself by.
Working out without a goal leaves you open to distractions. When you don’t have a plan, you’ll end up doing unnecessary exercises. At some point, you’ll realize you’re not gaining anything and you’ll quit.
Setting goals also keeps you motivated. When you know what you want and where you’re headed, staying committed to the process is more manageable until you get it done.
Lazy days are standard. We all have them once in a while. Having goals will give you that extra push to not cave into lazy waves. When you feel like sleeping in, thinking of your goals and the effort you’ve already put in will help you get up and get back on track.
Create a Workout Plan
After setting your goals, it’s time to create a plan on how to attain them. Think of this as the journey to your desired destination.
A workout plan breaks down your goals into smaller, simpler tasks that lead up to the primary one. Breaking tasks down helps your goals become more manageable and more achievable, keeping you focused. In addition, smaller tasks are easier to focus on than one long one.
Take strength training for example, which uses the entire body. A daily full-body workout is challenging to stick to, so break it down to smaller activities like:
- Leg workouts
- Core training
- Arm workouts
- Shoulder and back
Working on these exercises on separate days helps you stay focused. At the end of the week, you’ll have trained the entire body and stuck to your routine.
Having a workout plan helps keep you on track. You’ll go in every day knowing exactly what needs to be done. Without a plan, when you take a break to think about the next task, you create room for distractions.
Think of your workout plan as having a checklist where you get to check things done and know what task is up next.
Workout apps are a great way to help you plan. Learn more about the free workout apps available for you.
Planning assists you to form a habit by giving you some form of consistency. Having consistency helps put the fun into bland activities. The brain tends to stay more focused when you do something you enjoy. Having fun while exercising helps you be more productive.
The most important part about having a workout plan is timing each activity, including breaks. Untimed breaks create room for mind wandering, making you lose focus. Timing breaks will not only improve your concentration but help you avoid distractions.
Find a Workout Partner/Trainer
There’s been a significant push for home gyms over commercial gyms. The basis of the argument being that gym memberships are costly and inconvenient. That said, people still choose going to the gym as they feel more motivated when they work out with others.
A workout partner will help motivate you when you’re lagging. Complex tasks might seem easier when you’re doing them with someone. It’s like having your own personal cheerleader.
Having a workout partner will help you stay focused when exercising by providing a sense of accountability. On days you don’t feel like doing much, their presence will push you to stay on track. You won’t want to feel like you’re letting them down.
A workout partner also provides healthy competition, keeping you alert while exercising. If you’re doing three reps, watching your partner do five will push you to do more, maximizing your productivity.
Staying focused is easier when you’re having fun. Working out alone can be tedious, so by having a partner to motivate you brings out the fun, helping you both accomplish your tasks at the same time.
Staying Focused with Music
Have you ever heard the saying, “To know the value of a minute, try a plank position.”
An hour of watching your favorite movie feels like 5 minutes, but 5 minutes of exercise can feel like an hour.
The brain is designed to protect you from harm by sending signals throughout your body. When handling complicated tasks, your mind wanders. That’s the brain’s protective mechanism kicking in, sending new signals to get your focus onto something else.
Music can help you block the interruptions from your brain and keep you focused when exercising. With a good set of comfortable headphones, you‘ll also drown out other sound distractions from your environment.
The type of music you listen to while exercising is vital for your focus. Playing upbeat music helps you stay alert, and your body is prompted to make movements to match the beat. While listening, your mood is also elevated, helping you enjoy your workout more.
Get Rid of Distractions
Before you start your exercise, set your mind on the task ahead. Then, prepare your environment by gathering all the tools and equipment you’ll need. When you have everything you need in one area, you won’t have to move around fetching equipment and getting distracted.
Working out in a crowded area can cause a lot of distractions. Adjust your workout hours to a time when the gym is least crowded to help with concentration.
Stay off your phone! You don’t have to respond to that text immediately; and you’re not working out for social media. The minute you get on your phone, you allow yourself to be distracted, impairing your productivity.
Chatting with friends is another distraction you have to rid yourself of. When you set aside time for working out, keep all your discussion focused on that. If your friend is a distraction, consider getting a different workout partner.
Stick to One Task at a Time
The American Psychological Association found that when people try to perform more than one thinking task at a time, they do worse at both tasks because the human brain was not designed for multi-tasking.
It’s natural to get an impulse to do several things at once. However, when it comes to working out, multitasking doesn't serve any good. You’ll end up feeling like you’ve done a lot, yet in the real sense, you won’t accomplish much.
To maximize productivity and keep your focus, prepare a schedule and follow it to the letter.
It’s easy to lose focus in between, so take a 1-3 minute break between tasks.
Working on one task at a time helps you stay committed and increases your mental focus. The transitions also help you track your progress, keeping you productive.
Trying Something New
Losing focus at the gym can happen even with a routine. Working on a new activity requires heavy mental focus. As you get used to your routine, you may not feel as engaged as before. To break the monotony, add something new to spice things up and keep your mental focus.
Something new can also mean a change in the environment. For home workouts, try setting up in a different room or go outdoors. The new location will trick your brain into thinking you’re doing something different, improving your concentration.
Take Natural Supplements
Exercising burns energy that’s stored in the body in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is stored in the body at very low levels. When you exercise, you run out of ATP, causing muscle fatigue, which is a main cause of losing focus.
Taking natural supplements such as Pre can give your body the extra fuel it needs during exercise.
Supplements provide your body with readily accessible ATP to fuel your muscles, increase endurance, and boost mental focus when working out.
Mushrooms are known to be a rich, low-calorie source of fiber, protein, and antioxidants. ATH Shrooms is a blend of four different mushrooms.
Together they provide a powerful supplement to increase your body’s ATP production and improve your mental focus.