Improving your focus is achievable, but not necessarily quick and easy. If it was simple, we would all have the razor sharp mindset of an elite athlete. Focus is a lot like muscle. The more you work on building it up, the stronger it gets. Here are some tricks and tips that can help you develop the ability that can mean the difference between success and failure.
Plan your training
Not knowing what to do next can be a major focus killer. Plan your workout or you could be wasting a lot of time and motivation walking all over the place thinking what you could do next. Having a program will allow you to move from one exercise to another with purpose and focus. Abraham Lincoln said: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Planning before execution is everything. Act accordingly.
Time it right
Don’t bring your problems from work to the gym. Worrying about the future work-related events or digging through an old unpleasant memory can decrease your focus drastically and as a result, reduce the quality of your training session. Set a time of a day for training and accept it as a dedicated time for your goals, and nothing else. Use the principle of priorities and make your health and gym session a priority. Prepare your mind for the training before the actual training.
In case you were ever involved with any sports competition, odds are your trainer said to imagine winning. How would it feel, look and sound? At the time, it may have seemed to be odd: relaxed, eyes shut, tuning in to possible outcomes. Sounds familiar? If not, think about how Formula 1 drivers do the strange maneuvers with their hands while having their eyes shut just before the race. This is an effective way to memorize the race track and plan the turns before the race starts. Every movement is done by the brain. You can tweak this technique a little bit for training. Imagine yourself doing the set and target the muscle you are about to hit even before you start. Take a chance at doing a couple of warm-up sets (15-20 reps) with a low weight. Try closing your eyes and focus on your target muscle. Focus on "crushing" the weight and pause for a second at the point of maximum contraction. When you feel ready, increase the weight and try to get the same feeling from the target muscle.
Lower the weight
You bench press 100 kg for 8 reps. But, since your focus is poor, your Triceps and Deltoids are pushing quite a bit of that weight, so your chest may just be bearing 60% of it. At the end of the day, your chest is used to push only 60 kg (60% of 100 kg). Have a go at bringing down the weight and concentrating more on your target muscle. Let's assume you bring down the weight to 90 kg for 8 reps; this time as a result, your chest is bearing 80% of the weight. Pushing 72 kg (80% of 90 kg), your chest is really doing most of the work. If you ever think that you need to lower the weight in order to target the muscle better, do it. Forget about how heavy you can go, have in mind the quality of each rep instead. In this case, less is more.
Extra tip: If you are getting distracted because your towel is always falling off of machine, do yourself a favor and get a proper gym towel that never falls here.