As a personal trainer and health coach, I work with many wonderful individuals seeking to increase their health and wellness through various forms of exercise. In this post, we’ll focus specifically on weight-training.
Weight-training is a fantastic way to increase strength, balance, stability and improve other mental and emotional aspects of your well-being. When we think of weight-training, we most often consider the physical preparation and engagement that we will undertake, but I’d like to argue that it is our mental preparation and engagement that determines the level of overall satisfaction and success we feel when accomplishing our health goals.
A typical day in the gym might look like this: walk in the door, get in a quick warm-up on the treadmill, jump right in to your various weight training exercises (one after the other), grab a quick cool down and head out the door. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this routine. But I would like to suggest that there is a richer experience to be had just underneath the surface.
Doug Silsbee, the founder of Presence-Based Coaching, says, “Normally we push through life and miss what’s available to us in every moment. When we’re present, we sense much more than when we’re caught up in our heads…Being in the present moment is the only place in which we can sense all that is available to us.” Aliveness is an internal state in which we are fully awake, devoting great attention to our present experience. Because we can only truly live one moment at a time, it makes sense to be as alive as possible in order to have the richest life experience we can. In addition to that, this level of attention actually contributes to a sense of connection with our “why” – the reason we exercise or pursue any goal that we undertake – which in turn helps us to create and sustain motivation to press on. There are a few simple ways to access this aliveness. Let’s review one of those now.
In its simplest form, centering is a combination of movement, awareness, and attention that helps us shift our internal state from auto-pilot to aliveness. We’ve all experienced moments on auto-pilot, where our mind and body operates automatically, completing activities without even thinking about them.
Here’s a simple centering practice you can use to become familiar with this territory of aliveness: Stop what you are doing right now. Notice and follow your breath. Look forward with soft focus, widening your peripheral vision. Notice and follow your breath. Connect with the narrative in your mind. You can ask, “what am I doing, and why am I doing it?” Notice and follow your breath. It’s that simple.
So, allow me to put all of this together and make you an offer. By creating intentional moments throughout the course of your workout to center and come alive, you will find more for fulfillment and motivation in pursuing your goals.
Give it a try this week. Take 10-30 seconds to perform the centering exercise described above. Do this three times during the course of your workout
- When you first step foot on the gym floor
- In the middle of your workout
- When you’re headed out the door
Feel free to let me know how it goes at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Click HERE to learn more about the Wellview services available to you. We can’t wait to work with you!
– ANDREW JACOBS, CPT
Health Advisor | Email Andrew