Nowadays, everyone and their grandmas are attached to their smartphones at the hip. We spend a crazy amount of time staring at rectangular screens, and our thumbs even get some exercise because of all the scrolling they do.
Whether we’re at the workplace, driving on the highway, on vacation, having dinner with our significant other, or even at home sitting in the toilet, we can’t seem to put our smartphones away for more than 5 minutes. Nobody ever wants to miss anything on their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest feeds.
I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t guilty of doing the same thing. As most of you know, staying connected is a big part of what I do. Emails and text messages from clients have to be replied to, and posting statuses on social media platforms for my followers are all reasons why I am often on my phone.
But that’s all changing as I have started to make more of a conscious effort in being mindful of what I do in the present (check out The Mindful Way to Study for a great read on this subject)
What I’ve noticed after making countless observations of myself and other people around me is that when our eyes are glued to our phones, all of our focus is on that screen. We don’t pay attention to what’s going on around us. Sounds very obvious, but we rarely do anything about it.
Unfortunately for us, it’s also affecting our fitness.
Welcome to Mindful Lifting
We see it all the time. You know, people at the gym that are on their phones while working out. While we may not always know if certain people are just changing songs in their playlist or if they are logging their workout, there will always be those who are actually just wasting time checking their Facebook feed or whatnot.
What’s the big deal you ask? Well, spending too much time on your phone is negatively affecting your workouts! Our one minute rest periods in between sets become five minutes. Our one hour workouts become two. Our mind-muscle connection turn into mind-cellphone connection, as we’re always taking out our phones after every set.
Let me invite you to mindful lifting.
A few of you might already be familiar with the mind-muscle connection. Mindful lifting, the way I like to describe it, is much more than just concentrating your thoughts on the muscles that you’re working out. It is essentially meditation, but one that occurs in the gym. Here’s what I mean…
- Instead of just moving weights up and down, you are visualizing and flexing the working muscles as you perform each rep.
- Instead of breathing uncontrollably, you are conscious of when you have to inhale and exhale.
- Instead of being distracted by other people talking or other types of noise, you block them all out with intense focus and/or music from your headphones.
- Instead of just standing there to rest after completing a set, you are aware of “the pump” (bloodflow) that’s going on in the muscles that you’re working out.
With mindful lifting, just like regular meditation, you are in the zone from the moment you perform your first rep to the last one that you do. There are no distractions whatsoever: no socializing, no checking of cell-phones, and no mindless wandering around the gym. And the moment that you get distracted by something, you acknowledge that the distraction occurred and get right back to what you were doing.
3 Simple Ways To Disconnect While Working Out
Socializing with other people used to be the #1 distraction in the gym.
People here and there interrupt you during your workouts, and this used to be the main reason why we have shitty workouts. It isn’t the case anymore. Because of smartphones, hundreds of people from all over the world are distracting you from that one device and you don’t even know it.
Below is a list of simple ways to disconnect yourself from the world while working out. These things can also be applied outside of the gym. Just like how you can wait to text someone back while you’re driving, you can also do the same when working out. Remember, the idea is to start developing these habits. If you can cut your cellphone use in any way whatsoever, you’re already on the right track.
- Leave the phone in the locker room and use a separate music player. This is the best way to disconnect. Once it’s out of your sight, you won’t have to worry about it. The great thing about this is the realization after your workout that the notifications you received weren’t so important after all.
- Turn on airplane mode. If you have to use your phone to listen to your workout music, this is the next best option. Turning on airplane mode prevents any incoming calls, text messages, and notifications.
- Turn off all notifications. This includes vibration mode. If you aren’t comfortable with #1 or #2 just yet, then this is a great way to start.
It will be tough to put these things into practice, but the idea is to eventually turn them into habits. There will be times when you want to take selfies here and there for some progress pictures. Fine. But try to minimize it as much as possible.
Disconnect yourself from the rest of the world, and you’ll notice a significant change in the way you train and in the way you live your life.
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