I think most people consider me a helpful, friendly, talkative person. Outside the gym, this is true. But while I’m training, I’m a different person.
Like so many other women, I have a limited amount of time to spend at the gym. During the hour and a half that I’m there, it’s “my time”— I don’t have to be available for anyone else. So I choose to focus on my training, rather than socializing.
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to focus on your training to reach your full potential. For me, the process starts while I’m driving to the gym. I turn off the radio and enjoy the peaceful quietness in the car and think about my workout.
When I get to the gym, I turn on my iPod, with earphones in and baseball hat pulled down low. (I can’t tell you how many times my iPod battery has died but I keep in those earphones!). I head straight to my first exercise and get focused.
With every rep and every set, I focus. This is called the mind-to-muscle connection. No matter which body part you’re training, try concentrating on that muscle and how it feels.
If you’re not feeling it, the weight may be too heavy. It’s more important to use less weight and feel the exercise than to use too much weight and risk improper form and making other mistakes. If you’re just starting out, it may take time to master the mind-to-muscle connection, but once you really achieve focus, you will get “the feeling.”
And yes, I also get distracted by things in the gym—thinking, “Why is that person doing an exercise like that?” or “Why did that man leave all that weight on the machine?” or “Look at that crazy outfit that person is wearing.” When this happens, I have to catch myself and say, “OK, refocus. Remember why you’re here!”
So don’t feel bad if you’re not the social butterfly at the gym; you’re not alone.
Southern States Championships top contender Melissa Transou, a figure competitor, wife and mother, blogs about the unique sports nutrition needs of female athletes exclusively for Vitacost.com.