Focus can defined as: the subject on which people’s attention is focused, a main purpose or interest, a point of concentration, or directing your attention or effort to something specific.
Focus in the gym while training is certainly important for many reasons, but not always easy. For some people, being in the gym is time for yourself, away from work, the kids, possibly a significant other. I’m lucky as I get to train at work. It’s easy access. There are no excuses like traffic, or being too busy. Somewhere around late ’07 I decided to give up my regular gym membership. Prior to that I never trained at work. I hated even the thought of not escaping from work for a few hours. I always wanted to get out and have some me time. Just put the iPod on, talk to no one, lift things and
look at girls enjoy the scenery. However, as my training evolved, the average gym just didn’t cut it as far as equipment and I made switch. My quandary is that this convenience comes at a cost, and that cost is focus.
If you’ve read any of my writing in the past you may know that one of my favorite places to train was Mike’s Gym up in Bonsall. The focus and intensity there were always high and it brought out the best in people. During my time there I discovered that’s when I do my best work. Over the years coach Burgener has taught seminars that I was lucky enough to stand in on and the get a training session in during the lunch break. Many times I set a PR in those sessions. At various times I have trained a couple days here and there at various CrossFit gyms, all with good results. Most recently I’ve training at SquatMore Olympic Weightlifting Gym in Oceanside. I know that it’s pretty much a guarantee that I can have great training sessions and feel far stronger when I step into someone else’s gym. I’ve often wondered why that is. Pressure to perform in front of peers, more confidence, or simply energy? I know the weights feel different. The rest periods I take between sets are typically much shorter which I think is helpful.
It finally struck me the other day. The answer is focus. It’s easy to get lost in the Facebook, email, phone call, toilet humor when hanging out with your friends, that training at work has to offer. When I drive to train somewhere else, where typically I have less friends, no computer to check email or deal with memberships, I have a focus and a plan for that day unlike the others. I turn my phone off when I walk in the door and typically check it only once during training. The conversations and talking between sets are kept to a minimum and work gets done.
Now, I can only hope that the members of Ambition feel the same way. Often times there is not a lot of talking in classes, at least during the work portion, which can be eerie at times but I like to think that this is a display of the same focus I’m talking about. I do know that Ambition is full of cool people that have built a nice little community and I will let the results speak for themselves.
So, just like the ending to a good episode of South Park, let’s talk about the lesson here. We may only get a few hours of gym time to dedicate to ourselves in a given week. Make the most of it (thanks captain obvious!). One way to do that is minimize distractions. The right training environment helps dictate that. Also, understand that not all days are created equal but awareness of your focus can pay dividends. Finally, working with a coach and/or having a plan to execute in a certain amount of time are also ways to remain on track on a daily basis.
– Mike Baltren