Tips for Staying Focused During a Workout
Working out takes a lot of commitment. Whether you’re training for something big – such as a marathon or bodybuilding competition – or just working on gradually improving yourself, it’s vital that you stay focused and motivated. However, that’s not always as easy as it sounds.
If you find yourself regularly losing focus, spending more time on your phone than on your set, or cutting your workout short because you lose enthusiasm, you’re unlikely to see the progression you want. Learning how to maintain focus during a workout will help you improve physically, and drive you towards smashing your goals.
Firstly, why do you lose focus during exercise?
There are plenty of reasons why you might lose interest at the gym or doing cardio, and figuring out what triggers your concentration lapses can be beneficial in helping you combat it. Popular reasons include:
- Repetition – you’re growing bored of the same routine, run route or scenery
- Timing – you’re exercising at a time when you’re in a rush to get somewhere else, such as to work or home for dinner
- Stress – you have a lot on your mind due to personal reasons, and struggle to focus on the task at hand
- Distractions – you’re receiving a lot of text messages, or having a lot of people speak to you
- Hunger – you haven’t fuelled your body for working out properly and your energy is flagging
Thankfully, most of these things can be overcome by making small tweaks to your routine. Things such as making sure you’ve eaten, are relaxed and are in a good headspace will all help enormously. However, if you’re still struggling with focus when you’re feeling good, the following ideas might just help.
7 Ways to Improve Focus During a Workout
Try something new
As mentioned, boredom and repetition can be some of the main reasons you’re struggling to concentrate on your workout. Make sure you mix up your workout as much as you can to give your mind something new to focus on. If you’re using a new machine or trying a new exercise, your mind will be so busy adjusting to the new sensations that it won’t have time to get bored.
This doesn’t necessarily mean making huge changes to your actual exercise if you’re on a strict plan. Something as simple as trying a new running route or heading to a different room of the gym could be all it takes to hit refresh on your concentration.
Give your mind something to focus on
Many people swear by having headphones with them when they work out, and we understand why. Having music pumping into your ears can be a great way to zone out and get on with the task at hand. However, make sure you’re giving yourself something fresh to listen to once in a while so you don’t get bored.
If your favourite artist releases a new album, wait until your workout to listen to it. If you usually work out to one genre, switch it up and try something new. Or, if you’re struggling on long runs, you could even try tuning into a podcast – many people find that listening to people talking and following a conversation helps keep their mind off the exercise.
Add interval training
While a lot of people love them, many others find cardio sessions to be a slog, and struggle to keep focus. One way to stop your mind wandering – and ensure you still get an amazing cardio workout – is to add in some HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) sessions.
HIIT workouts typically involve short bursts of faster, more intense exercise that typically last 20-40 seconds before moving back to a steadier pace. You either need to set a timer or keep an eye on the clock to time your intervals, which gives you something to focus on. Plus, you’ll be working so hard during the intense bursts that you won’t have time to think about anything other than your breathing!
Use the right supplements
Many people who exercise a lot like to take pre-workout supplements, which usually contain high doses of caffeine. These give an increased burst of energy and can also help to keep the mind focused. However, some of the ingredients in the pre-workouts can produce side effects that users don’t like, such as tingly skin, headaches or water retention. Some people find that a simple cup of coffee provides all of the caffeine boost that they need.
Another supplement that’s growing in popularity is CBD. It’s suggested that CBD oil, derived from hemp plants, could help to maintain focus and increase energy. Early research suggests that the compound can relieve things such as anxiety, which could also help people keep a clear mind. Our sports drinks contain 10mg of CBD, which absorbs into the body more quickly than it would via a capsule because it’s in fluid form. Have one of these as part of your pre-workout routine and you could enjoy a more focused, productive session.
Remove any distractions
You might head to the gym with the best intentions, but find that once you’re there you have a lot of distractions. Ensure that you stay focused on your goals by removing these where possible.
Switching your phone to Airplane Mode will mean you won’t stop to check messages, or be tempted to open any social media apps. If you usually train with a partner and spend too much time talking, think about training alone for some of your sessions. And if you always end up distracted by what other people are doing, try going to the gym or for runs at quieter times when there’s less going on around you.
Make a plan for your workout
If you struggle to stay focused during your workout, then one of the worst things you can do is start exercising without a plan. This makes it all too easy to keep changing your mind, or waste time in between sets while you try to decide what to do next.
Knowing exactly what machine or exercise you’re going to move on to next will help you to stay in the rhythm of your workout. Similarly, if you’re out for a run then knowing your route will help to give you an end goal. Without planning this in advance, you’re more likely to get lost, or end up cutting your run short early by turning back.
Push yourself to go further
Finally, one of the best tips to maintain your focus during a workout is to make sure you’re pushing yourself. Boredom often kicks in when you’re feeling comfortable and no longer challenging your body or mind.
Ensure you are regularly doing what you can to keep your system working hard: add a bit more weight, try to run a bit faster, or go a bit further. Feeling the burn in this way will help to keep your mind sharp, and the endorphins you release by overcoming a challenge will also keep you motivated to do it all over again.
For more information on supplements and training, take a look at our blog.