It is often said that you should know what you have planned for every session in the gym. This is true. How about every moment in that session?
Knowing what your body is doing in any given moment, how it is responding, and how you are controlling yourself, are key to getting the most from your training…and getting results.
The body responds to the stresses in differing ways, and these include elevated heart rate and an increased rate of breathing. From a mental viewpoint, the heart rate is raised to prepare the body for ‘fight or flight’, and likewise the breathing is the body’s way of (attempting to) assist the individual get through what is in front for them. This may be real or imagined.
Unless you have spent the last 20 years of your life in the Himalayas as a monk, you’ll most likely have little control over (mentally) controlling your heart rate. However, you do have the ability to create a ‘flight or fight’ situation in your mind. This workout could be the best workout of your life. Or perhaps you know 100% that by doing a workout such as this one twice a week for the next three months you will finally reach your goal. The goal you’ve waited ten years for. That is exciting. Use the warm-up to think about these smaller moments. They are very powerful, and will get your body and mind fully prepared.
Conversely, sometimes we are too amped up for a session, or perhaps a single moment that is approaching us. (Like a big event we are training for). By being over stimulated we lose some control of our functions, and this may include mental focus, coordination, and also the ability to feel we are in control of what we are facing. By slowing down our breathing we have the ability to have a ‘timeout’ and reassess where we are at. When you become aware that your breathing is too fast for the situation you are in, it is best to reset everything. This may be between sets, or in the moments before you ‘step up to the plate’. Breath in, with the breath lasting 6 seconds. Then hold for 2 seconds. Then breath out for 7 seconds. You will feel more centered, and more in control.
Whether ramping up, or calming down, you do have control over yourself. This is part of ‘winning’. (You get to define what ‘winning’ is for you).