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Concentration, Distraction, and Reaching Your Fitness Goals

Concentration, Distraction, and Reaching Your Fitness Goals

March 4, 2020

Concentrate.

How many times were you told to concentrate when you were a child?  I remember being told to concentrate all the time.  “Come on Josh, concentrate on your homework”.  Or, while learning to ride a bike (which I was petrified of) “Concentrate on staying balanced, Josh!”.  My personal favorite… “You’re just going to need to concentrate harder”.  What does that even mean?

My whole childhood I had been told to concentrate.  I formed this idea that concentration meant to posture up and pay attention, or something like that…it felt a little ambiguous. Nobody taught me HOW to concentrate.  School didn’t formally teach me HOW to concentrate.  My parents didn’t teach me HOW to concentrate.  And because I never learned, I never practiced.  It wasn’t until I went to India and studied yoga that I truly learned what it meant to concentrate, how to concentrate, and how to practice concentration.

After learning how to concentrate, I suddenly felt empowered.  I understood that anything was possible as long as I stayed focused.  I could run under a 5-minute mile, hold my breath for over two minutes, even start a successful business.   I could choose to see the light in all situations.  It was possible to be and do everything I wanted. But I had to change my mind…

What does the mind do if it doesn’t know how to concentrate?

Distraction.

Anyone can form the goal to hold a perfect handstand. In fact, many do.  Have you ever wondered why only a small percentage of people who want to hold a perfect handstand actually do it? The answer is simple and you’ve likely seen it a million times: people get distracted along the way to their goal.

They start off really focused, with such promise.  And then they start their first training session.

Listen to the following distractions that the mind seduces us with and see if you can relate:

“This is a lot harder than I expected.”

“This is going to take a long time.”

“I’m no good at this.”  

“I’ll never get good at this.”  

And often times, sadly, we quit.  Then we move on to the next trendy thing, fitness oriented or otherwise, only to spend a day or two practicing and quit just like all the others before it.  Does this sound familiar?  It should because it happens to all of us.

Until we learn how to overcome distraction…

Learning the nature of the mind is essential to overcoming unwanted distraction.

First, we must understand that there are two components to our consciousness - awareness & mind.  Think of awareness as an orb of glowing light that we have the power to place anywhere.  Think of the mind as a platform that has different centers; joy, sadness, creativity, motivation, logic, anger, depression, love, fear, excitement, and so on.

Think of concentrating as your ability to direct your awareness to the thoughts, feelings,and results you want to have.

If you aren’t concentrating on what you want to feel, or the result you want, you are subjected to the random feelings and actions of others.

Who would you rather have in control of your life; you or everyone else?

Imagine this…

Someone yells at you because they’re angry, you become aware of their anger, now you are angry.  You yell at them back.  Did you ever have control over that situation? No, you became distracted by the other person’s anger.  That anger was not yours until they gave it to you and you accepted it.  Maybe you don’t respond angrily to anger, but instead with fear. This is the same.  You have allowed an outside circumstance to trigger a reaction and you lost control of yourself.  Can you relate to a time this happened to you?

It doesn’t have to be this way. If we concentrate unwavering on how we want to feel, what we want to do, or who we want to be, nothing will be able to distract or deter us from feeling, doing, or being, the way we want.

Can you concentrate on feeling love for someone in the face of their anger?  Of course you can.  Can you concentrate on running today no matter what inconveniences present themselves?  Of course you can. Can you concentrate on making the healthy nutrition choice amidst temptation and situational pressure?  Of course you can.

What do you wish to accomplish in life? Are you willing to concentrate on it until it comes true? The power to have anything, to be anyone, and to feel any feeling, is available to you. 

I’m really excited to see you reach your goals in 2020!  Please pull me aside and share with me what you’re focusing on next time you see me or stop by for my weekly yoga class 7:30 pm Tuesdays at our Wehrle Drive location. 

And don’t forget… concentrate


Concentration, Distraction, and Reaching Your Fitness Goals

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20 Fit Tips for 2020

January 21, 2020

#1: Move; don’t exercise

We have a love/hate relationship with the word “exercise”. It’s tough. Hard. Boring. Sometimes it hurts. As we head into 2020, shift your mindset to just move. No matter what that is, because getting out of bed is hard enough on some days. Move your body in a way that gets your heart rate up and gets the blood flowing. Some movement is better than none.

Action step: Plan out what you're going to do for movement in your week. And have a plan B (i.e. Take the dog on a walk) as your “No excuses” backup, just in case your initial plan for movement doesn’t pan out.

#2: Hydrate

Myths about hydration aside, with the amount of sugar, additives, and overly caffeinated drinks around, water still holds it’s place as something we all should get more of in our life. For not just in our favorite class, but regular everyday function.

Action Step: Wake up in the a.m. and chug a lug 8oz to start the day off right and flush the system at the peak of your day.

#3: Strength training

Strength is the new sexy. Strength development is all about forcing the muscles in our body to “go hard or go home!”. The best part about this is that you can achieve this and keep your workout LOW IMPACT, easy on your joints, and also burn a ton of fat calories while you’re at it!

Action Step: For your next workout, seek a class, format, or exercise routine listed as “low impact, strength training”. Watch the magic happen as your heart rate stays steady, your muscles shake, and you smile with sweat on your face.

#4: Fruits and veggies are cool

Sometimes we feel that these items are boring and we can’t really do much with them. In 2020, it’s almost “in” to be vegetarian/vegan because there are so many tasty options out there for this population. And even if you’re not you can still enjoy these options and positively impact the movements you are involving your body in.

Action Step: Color up your next meal with some veggies, great seasonings or in a unique dish, and finish it off with some fruit for dessert.

#5: Use tech to track your efforts

Seeing your results are fun, engaging, and motivating. When we are able recognize our efforts in a given workout or way we move, it can help with accountability, goal setting, and ensuring we are giving a consistent effort. Tech drives a lot of what happens in 21st century life, so their are options are all around to help utilize and track progress in your fitness routines.

Action Step: Once you find a watch, device, tracker, or app that you enjoy using, embrace it as a tool in your fitness journey—DON’T OBSESS over it though. It’s a balancing act, I know.

#6: Watch out for packaged and processed

There are a lot of options when it comes to what to put in your body. Some may be visually yummy, but man, there’s a lot of “stuff” in there. Know what’s in your food and more importantly, be able to identify what’s what in there as well. The harder it is to pronounce the name of an ingredient, the more you should think about putting it back on the shelf.

Action Step: Next time when you want a snack, let’s say chips, remember that it should be only potatoes, salt, and oil…that’s it.

#7: Explore core off the floor

“I hate doing core movements”…said nobody ever. Working your core is emotionally rewarding, because not only is it an area we want to target aesthetically, but it also helps stabilize the body in regular everyday life. But, a ton of sit-ups aren’t going to get the job done. Encourage yourself to try some standing core movements to take your core work up another level. Figuratively and literally!

Action Step: As you explore standing core exercises, try to emphasize core movements that involve rotations and twisting motions. These will help you work more efficiently, since you are targeting the core in 3 dimensions by rotations.

#8: Hold yourself accountable

Goals are usually more attainable when you have someone checking in on you. Having an accountability team or person allows us to go further and faster. Find someone who can work with you, checking in on good and bad days to help keep you moving forward—figuratively and literally.

Action Step: Try finding a Facebook group of people who share the same workout favorites as you. Join and introduce yourself, share your why, and watch the wave of support come your way and keep your flame ignited!

#9: Work more non-mirror muscles

When training in 2020, try to keep a focus on pull movements to strengthen the upper back and posterior chain, like deadlifts and glute bridges, for example. By working these areas of the body you're helping to prevent injury, as well as creating a strong balance that helps you become more effective in exercising the front of your body.

Action Steps: If you’re working out on your own, shoot for a 2:1 ratio of backside to front side exercise selection, to keep the areas not in front of the mirror strong bay bay!

#10: Be smarter about your “guilty pleasures”

I have plenty of clients and class participants tell me, “I workout so I can enjoy what I want to eat.” I want to point out that this is TOTALLY FINE if that’s what floats your boat. But for those that want to impact their body and reach specific goals, this mentally may not work so well. Working out harder and longer doesn’t make room to eat whatever you want. Similarly, punishing yourself in a workout because you ate poorly is not healthy either. Pick and choose when you’re going to indulge and factor that into your overall goals and plans. Don’t use it as an excuse or as something you have to punish yourself for.

Action Step: Find alternatives to some of your favorite guilty pleasures. Want a milkshake? Try one with some delicious protein powder, almond milk, and a banana. How about cookies? Maybe with some oatmeal, dark chocolate, and a sugar alternative!

#11-20 coming soon!


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Dane Robinson-BS, PES, NASM-CPT

UB Bulls 2008 MAC Champion Alumi
Instructor : Presenter : Coach
443.831.0855 (cell)
TODD DURKIN MASTERMIND FITNESS PRO

Fitness Tips for 2020

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