No, it’s not a magic pill. Or a song (although I have some great playlists). It won’t cost you much.
Actually, it won’t cost you any money at all.
It’s free. Yes, free. It’s within your reach, you just have to decide to want and use it.
All of this sounds too good to be true. Everything of value usually costs something.
Well, what is it??
Sounds easy, no?
Presence involves being mindful of your internal and external environments.
Your intention and intensity.
What is your connection to your training environment and what do you intend to do? HOW do you intend to do it?
Unless you have a garage gym and train by yourself (even then), it can be pretty damn challenging.
How often do you find yourself responding to a text, reading a notification, searching for new music or getting lost in what is on the gym TV? How about getting wrapped up in conversation with someone? That’s time lost. Time is fleeting. You WILL NOT get that time back. It’s energy misdirected.
We’ve been trained (heh) to pay attention to the digital beckoning of these machines. We’re like Pavlov’s dogs. Worse, actually. We salivate so much waiting for the next chime that we can hardly contain ourselves. People are dropping like flies in their servitude to the technology in their pockets. (/rant for now)
Remember – you’re here for a reason. You’re here to be better.
For destruction. For breaking down. For renewal. Rebirth. Discovery.
It’s all too often that the athlete gets caught up in the minutiae of things like exact nutrient timing – what to eat and when, what supplements to take to enhance growth-but little does one focus 100% on the challenge at hand.
This means considering the following:
The overall training session and your goals for it
The sets and reps – yes, the scheme does matter, but HOW you do them matters even more
The juice and focus you’re putting into each rep
Presence can mean being mindful in what you do. I’m not saying you have to sit cross legged, eyes closed, focus and hum while you’re at the gym – although there is a separate time and place for that.
The more in tune you are with what is currently happening in AND around your body, the better results you’ll get. This goes with anything in life, and is directly applicable in the gym.
Here’s is a short guide:
- Check in before you train. Establish why you’re here
- Turn on airplane mode, night mode, whatever it takes
- Best yet – put away your damn phone. Remove temptation
- Set a playlist before hand
- Stay free from distractions – TVs, people, whatever it may be
- Maintain your focus
Our nervous system processes 11 billion bit of information per second. I can’t even count that high. Luckily, our nervous system is quite incredible. We don’t have to focus on everything our senses are taking in as we have filters to choose what may be the most important. Use this to your advantage. Make note of what you DO focus on, and take notice of whatever else may be there that you HAVEN’T noticed that may be beneficial. There will be something there.
As you bring your awareness to the task at hand, you don’t exactly have to think about the same exact specifics every single moment. A passing recognition is just fine. They are just ingredients added to the recipe for your ultimate dish of brutality. Recognize, then move on. Direct your energy into the weak links, know your strengths, and create a symphony of well-orchestrated chaos every time you step into the arena.
When others notice how intensely focused you are on what you’re doing, they’ll leave you alone. An individual is much more approachable when they appear distracted, looking around the room, staring at a screen, or inviting others over with body language. When I see someone getting after it, I respect that. A warrior at work.
Presence, like muscle growth, has to be trained. It doesn’t happen immediately, but rather develops as you consistently practice. The ultimate key to gains.
BONUS: When you devote yourself to this level of focus when you’re lifting, everything else seems to float away. When, later, problems come back to the forefront of the mind, we are able to look at them differently and from a much stronger sense of self.