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Focus: 3 Steps to Increased Workout Performance

by Brandon DiNovi

Focus: 3 Steps to Increased Workout Performance

Dear Fellow ALPHA,

We may have radically different training programs, but we both have the same goal. No matter if you like training for marathons, regularly participating in indoor cycling classes  or moving large amounts of steel in the gym, each one of these workouts requires energy and has the ultimate goal to improve yourself.

You know those workouts when you feel in the "zone", your workout flies by and it felt almost effortless? Then, there are other times when it seems as though a "warm-up" is difficult to get through, let alone the actual workout! I know I have and to be candid, those workouts are miserable!

Whats the difference between the effortless in the "zone" workouts, or as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls it, the "flow state", compared to those torturous "non-flow" workouts? 

Simple, it is all about focus!

I know this may seem like a "no-brainer" however focus is one of the most overlooked aspects of training. The reason focusing is so important is because when we focus we are able to harness 100% of our energy, both physical and mental, to accomplish a single goal. It's during these times of laser focus we can become "lost" in our work or workouts and forget about time. It's during times of complete focus when we can unlock all of our true potential.

I believe learning how to develop unwavering concentration is a skill required for greatness. In fact, I believe "focusing" is the most powerful performance enhancing skill someone can attain.

Look up any great athlete, for that matter, look up anyone who achieved greatness at anything and they will list focus/concentration/distraction removal as a top requirement for greatness. Just imagine if you were laser focused every time you stepped in the gym, laced-up your shoes or clipped-in. You would regularly be on the edge of limitless potential and likely be achieving personal records routinely. 

Although there are different focusing techniques for different settings, I want to share 3 basic ways for focusing during your athletic activities.  

1. Remove the distractions:

Without a doubt, distractions derail progress. A distraction is anything which takes your attention away from an activity before it is completed. Distraction is the number one reason people fail to make gains in their workouts.

First, think about getting a hat or visor. If you see me in the gym, you see me with a hat on. It's part of my gym "uniform." There are lots of things to look at during a workout and a hat works exactly like blinders on a racehorse. It will help to keep things from catching your eye and distracting you from what you should be focused on. 

Second, I suggest working out with headphones and a high intensity playlist. I know this isn't a new concept but I thought it should be touched on. Not only will the music get you jacked, it will keep outside noises from distracting you. As well as, detour other people from talking to you which can be a massive distraction.   

Third, put your phone on airplane mode. Unless there is a specific phone call or text you absolutely need to respond to, don't make yourself available to others during your workout. It's your workout, a time where you are working on bettering yourself. Don't allow other people to derail it with phone calls, notifications and texts.

Forth, if you have a workout partner make a pact to keep each other focused and fired up. One technique is for you and your partner to create your own "world" during your workouts. A world where nobody else exists except for the two of you and the activity you are engaging in. A world where your abilities have no limits. This is an amazing technique which not only creates a bond but also leads to incredible workouts where you and your partner push to new heights.     

2. Make a plan:

Workouts should be planned in advance. Again, this isn't a new concept but it's a concept rarely used. For example, before you go to the gym take a few minutes and write out each exercise. How many sets, how many reps and even what the poundage is that you are going to lift. 

Sure, you can always deviate from your plan, maybe you want to add a few more sets or a different exercise or adjust the poundage. Yet, you will be detailed, direct and dialed into your workout. You will already be working on your mind muscle connection before you open the door to the gym. Your mind has already gone through the exercises, visualized the lifts and seen you succeed. Your mind is primed and ready.  

Make no mistake, walking into the gym or hitting the pavement without a clear vision of what is about to happen leaves your ability to focus up to random chance. Remember, not having a plan to succeed is the same as planning to fail. I know that might be a little intense but that's how ALPHAs like you and me see things. 

3. Harness the clock:

Using the pressure of time is a great way to make yourself stay focused. Here are  3 ways to use the clock to force yourself to focus and remove distractions.

First, set a time for when your workouts will start. Look ahead at the upcoming week and write out the days that you are going to workout. Now, set a time! For example, if you wrote down that you are going to workout Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday choose a specific time you will workout on each of those days and write it down. Put your schedule in your calendar or set an alarm. Make your workout a top priority by literally scheduling it. Then, when your friends ask you to go out you can say you have a date with a weight or a concrete conference to attend.

Second, set a specific amount of time between sets, markers or stages. This will keep you motivated and focused on the activity. You will be precisely aware of the time and that you only have a few minutes in between sets. 

Third, make a set time for your workout to end. The days of marathon gym workouts are over. If you are using all of the techniques mentioned above, you should be so physically and mentally worn out that you literally can't workout for hours at a time even if you wanted to!

Set a time to start your workout, time the intervals of your workout and then set a time for your workout to end. This will leave you no time to be distracted and it will force you to focus throughout the entire workout. 

I encourage you to put these 3 basic steps into practice to help increase your ability to focus and squeeze every ounce of intensity out of your workouts. Time is a valuable resource and we only have so much that we can dedicate to our workouts. Let us not waste a second of it unfocused!

Until next time,

Attack your life with passion!

Brandon DiNovi

Brandon DiNovi

Co-Founder and CEO, RAM

Brandon DiNovi
Brandon DiNovi

Brandon DiNovi is the Co-Founder and CEO of RAM ADVANTAGE. He holds a doctorate degree as well as two bachelors in the field of human performance. He is also the author of American Strength: The Ultimate Guide To Health, Happiness and Success.

Disclaimer: The information, suggestions, and techniques offered in this blog are the result of the author’s experiences and are not intended to be a substitute for professional financial advice, medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Some articles are intended to influence the reader to purchase products or services. Before making a purchase, financial, medical or health decision the reader should contact a qualified professional. If you have questions or concerns, seek the advice of a financial consultant, physician or other qualified professional before practicing the techniques presented here.

In fact, you should always consult a qualified healthcare professional before beginning a new nutritional or exercise program. If you fail to do so, it is the same as self-prescribing, and neither the author nor RAM ADVANTAGE assumes responsibility. *This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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